This episode highlights a remarkable but relatively unknown chapter of working-class solidarity. While waves of sympathy strikes to support the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike took place across Canada, the most pronounced of these was in Vancouver, B.C. Even after workers returned to their jobs, 325 women telephone operators stayed out for another two weeks.
This was a time of unsurpassed working-class consciousness and resistance, the likes of which Canada had not seen before, nor since.
You will hear from Vancouver's legendary firebrand socialist William Pritchard who spent a year in Manitoba's Stoney Mountain Penitentiary for making speeches during the strike.
You'll also hear from seaman Jimmy O'Donnell who arrived in port unaware that a strike was underway, and joined it in the final days, losing his job as a result.
Bernard, Elaine. "Last Back: Folklore and the Telephone Operators in the 1919 Vancouver General Strike" in Barbara K. Latham and Roberta J. Pazdo, eds., Not Just Pin Money: Selected Essays on the History of Women's Work in British Columbia (Victoria: Camosun College, 1984).
William Pritchard. RG6 Brandon University fonds, Ken Hanly Collection (1974) https://archives.brandonu.ca/en/permalink/descriptions4067
Jimmy O'Donnell. Boag Foundation Tapes, BC Labour Heritage Centre Archives.
Theme song: "Hold the Fort" (traditional) - Arranged & Performed by Tom Hawken & his band, 1992.
“Strike!” By Danny Schur and Rick Chafe. http://www.strikemusical.com/home/music/ accessed April 2023
"Where the Fraser River Flows" by Joe Hill (1912), performed by Phil Thomas
"Rebel Girl" by Joe Hill (1915), performed by Hazel Dickens
Voice of newspaper editorial: Lucie McNeill
Your affable host: Rod Mickleburgh
Research and writing: Patricia Wejr and Donna Sacuta
Technical wizard: John Mabbott
The 1919 Prince Rupert General Strike
B.C. Sympathy Strikes in 1919