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Painters’ Strike of 1912

The Painters’ Strike of 1912 is historically important because it was one of the early labour-capital conflicts in Regina; the issues and the way they were handled would be typical of labour relations in the construction trades for decades to come. The demands of the union, Local 509 of the Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators and Paperhangers of America, revolved around wages, the cost of living, job security and working conditions, including safety on the job. The strike, which lasted from July 22–31, was settled with a compromise agreement. The broader politics of the painters and other construction trades also set a pattern. Their active members would eventually become involved in the Independent Labour Party and later the CCF. While most were moderate reformers, a few, like William E. Cocks, were solid socialists influenced by classical Marxism.

Lorne Brown

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Further Reading

Makahonuk, Glen. 1982. “The Regina Painters’ Strike of 1912,” Saskatchewan History 35, no. 3 (Autumn); ——. 1985. “Painters, Decorators and Paperhangers: A Case Study In Saskatchewan Labourism, 1906–1919,” Prairie Forum 10, no. 1.
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