Labour History

  • Warren Franklin Hatheway – A Friend of Labour

    By: Harvey MacLeod “See to it that you advance with the time and that you get the share of life and liberty due to every decent man, and do not allow yourselves to be thrust back into tireless rounds of unending work by the ruthless hands of the millionaire.”—Mechanic and Labourer—Frank Hatheway, 1906. On May 10, 1919,… Read the rest of the story

  • In Search of Ella Hatheway

    *By: Susan McAdam* Who was Ella Hatheway? What we know of her is that she lived from 1853 to 1931. We know she was a suffragette who also worked on several other social reform projects. She has been included in scholarship about the Canadian and local suffrage movement and other reform activities. She was married to Frank… Read the rest of the story

  • Missing Person: Grace Hamilton Hatheway
    Mark Blagrave’s recent novel Lay Figures (Halifax: Nimbus, 2020) takes us back into the world of the artists and writers of the late 1930s and early 1940s in Saint John, New Brunswick. The pages are populated by people who resemble Miller Brittain, Jack Humphrey, Ted Campbell, Kay Smith, P.K. Page and others, although the author assures us he has written a work of fiction and is not portraying particular individuals…. Read the rest of the story

  • For Whom The Bells Toll

    Image of the first ringing of the Labourers Bell (1849) Their peal now summons the faithful to mass, but years ago the bells at Stella Maris Church on Bayside Drive and St. Jude’s Church on Lancaster Street served a much different but equally divine purpose. The bell at Stella Maris first tolled from Market… Read the rest of the story

  • Labour Day or Holiday?

    A History of Labour Day in Saint John, N.B. *By: George Vair* Labour Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year. All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man’s prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of… Read the rest of the story

  • Labour needs more Crilley’s and MacLeod’s

    The following article appeared in the 1973 Saint John District Labour Council “Convention Journal.” The Journal was distributed at the New Brunswick Federation of Labour convention—held in Saint John June 4th-6th of that year. The Labour Council asked—the then Editor of the New Freeman—Bob Merzetti to write an article for the Journal on two long-time labour… Read the rest of the story

  • No Hot Cargo for Argentina

    *By: George Vair* In the early morning hours of 3 July 1979, a thick fog lay over the Saint John waterfront. But this was no deterrent to the protesters who were quietly beginning to gather on the west side of the harbour next to the gates of the container terminal. As the foghorn on Partridge… Read the rest of the story

  • October 14, 1976 – The Saint John General Strike

    *By: Raymond Léger* After the Thanksgiving weekend, on October 13, 1975, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada appeared on television to announce that his government would bring wage and price control for all Canadian workers. On October 14, 1975 the Liberal government introduced Bill C-73 to the House of Commons in Ottawa. Far from… Read the rest of the story

  • On the March

    The Labour Day Parade, Saint John (1902) *By: David Frank* All night long the foghorn sounded on Partridge Island. When day broke on the first Monday morning in September 1902, it was cold and misty in the streets of Saint John. Still, nothing seemed to dampen the enthusiasm of the men who crowded into the area around the… Read the rest of the story

  • The 1949 Canadian Seamen’s Union Strike

    The Saint John Story By: George Vair The story of the 1949 Canadian Seamen’s Union (CSU) strike is an appalling story in the history of the Canadian labour movement and indeed Canadian history in general. It is a story about anti-union shipping companies, who demonstrated a blatant disregard for the law, about a corrupt rival International union… Read the rest of the story

  • The Origins of April 28th as The Day of Mourning

    At the 1984 Convention of the Canadian Labour Congress a resolution was adopted declaring April 28th as a “National Day of Mourning” to honour those workers in Canada who have been killed, injured or disabled on the job, or who suffer from occupational diseases. April 28th was chosen because on that day in 1914 Ontario… Read the rest of the story

  • The Origins of May Day

    We want to feel the sunshine; we want to smell the flowers; We’re sure that God has willed it, and we mean to have eight hours. We’re summoning our forces from shipyard, shop and mill Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, eight hours for what we will. (Words from the “Eight-Hour Day Song”) *By… Read the rest of the story

  • The Saint John Street Railwaymen’s Strike and Riot. 1914

    *By: Robert H. Babcock * In July of 1914 a boisterous crowd of perhaps 10,000 people gathered in the wake of a trolley strike. Under cover of darkness they overturned two streetcars, thwarted a cavalry charge, smashed every window in traction company offices, and poured cement on a dynamo, plunging the city into total darkness. “Most… Read the rest of the story