Montreal Firemen Strike

Montreal Firemen Strike

Approximately 4,500 city employees, including police and firemen, of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, struck in an effort to have the Canadian Congress of Labor Unions recognized as their bargaining agent.

Throughout the day, December 14, fire alarms had gone unanswered and police beats were not patrolled. Numerous fire calls were received, but in most instances residents had to combat the fires.

The few firemen remaining on the job were stationed at strategic points throughout the city in hospitals, public buildings and orphanages.

Virtually all of Montreal’s 1,550 police and 1,100 firemen joined the strike.

Striking police and firemen set up special squads to act in “cases of emergency” and military authorities too what they called “certain preliminary steps” but did not indicate whether the steps were preliminary to the imposition of martial law in Montreal.

The strikers also included garbage and rubbish collectors, snow shovelers, truck drivers, elevator operators, street lighting electricians, jail turnkeys and janitors.

Fourteen hours after the strike had started it was settled when the provincial Government ordered its municipal commission, which has been operating Montreal since the city failed to meet its financial obligations, to recognize the Canadian Congress of Labor as bargaining agent for the three departments, the Fire, Police and Public Works.

On the basis of the settlement the Canadian Congress of Labor will present a proposed contract providing for union recognition and also annual pay increases of $500.

As a result of the strike a provincial labor law amendment was in prospect to outlaw such strikes.

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