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The Construction Workers' Strike on the Canadian Pacific Railway, 1879

David J. Hall
Labour / Le Travail
Vol. 36 (Fall, 1995), pp. 11-35
DOI: 10.2307/25143972
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25143972
Page Count: 25
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Construction Workers' Strike on the Canadian Pacific Railway, 1879
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Abstract

In may 1879 construction workers struck on contract 15 of the CPR to demand back pay, restoration of wage structures, and improved board and medical attendance. The working conditions, causes, and outcome of the strike were typical of the situation for unskilled labourers on large construction projects in the 19th century. The workers gained their back pay, but little else. At the same time, the strike contributed to the loss of the contract by the contractor, Joseph Whitehead, and perhaps also contributed to the end of the small contract system of building the transcontinental railway. /// En mai 1879, les travailleurs engagés à la construction d'un tronçon du chemin de fer du Canadien Pacifique se mirent en grève pour réclamer les salaires arriérés, le rétablissement des structures de salaires et une amélioration de la pension et de l'aide médicale. Les conditions de travail, les causes et l'issue de la grève étaient typiques de l'expérience des travailleurs non-qualifiés engagés sur des projets de construction de grande envergure au 19e siècle. Les ouvriers obtinrent le paiement des salaires arriérés, mais pratiquement rien de plus. De plus, le conflit de travail se traduisit pour Joseph Whitehead, l'entrepreneur, par la perte du contrat de construction. La grève contribua probablement aussi à la disparition de l'octroi de petits contrats pour la construction du chemin de fer transcontinental.

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