Two thousands building and metal workers went on strike in May 1919, in Winnipeg because they wanted higher wages, $.85 per hour and a work week reduced to 44 hours from 60. After employers refused to negotiate, the workers appealed to the WinnipegTrades and Labour Council whose members voted 11 112 to 524 in favour of a general strike. Firefighters, streetcar drivers, telephone operators, sales clerks, garbage collectors, street cleaners and dairy workers all walked off the job at 11:00 a.m. on May 15, 1919. Over 30 000 workers were on strike within three days. On the other hand, business people and employers organized the CitizenÃÂ¡ÃÂ¯s Committee of One Thousand to maintain essential city services instead of supporting the strike. The city was divided into the strikers and business people and employers. But, many strikers could not afford to stay out of work any longer and the middle of June, people began to drift back to work.
After the government decided to act on June 17, arresting strike leaders. Protests erupted all across Canada and a group of ex-soldiers led thousands of people down Main Street. The government sent troops into the city to patrol Winnipeg streets with machineguns. A week after, The Strike Committee called off the strike.