In the passions of the moment, two views were taken of the strike leaders: One view had them as desperate characters attempting to tear down the pillars of society; the other looked on them as decent fellows sincerely interested in bettering the standard of living of thousands of workers who had just passed through a war, which had sent the cost of the essentials of life skyrocketing but did not bring about any appreciable increase in wages. Both these views have been tempered by time.
– Roy St. George Stubbs, as quoted in the Winnipeg Free Press, 1940.
This view of the strike leaders largely reflects that of the strike overall – a conflict with two distinct sides: right vs. wrong, labour vs. business, pro-strike vs. anti-strike. Yet the story of the strike is multifaceted. Within this struggle for better working conditions and collective bargaining is a story of class, race, gender, politics, and those pushing for social change. This exhibit seeks to enrich this multifaceted narrative by providing context: who, when, and where – the players in the conflict, the events in which they participated, and the spaces in which the Winnipeg General Strike unfolded.