Webinar – ‘Ferocious Women:’ Question’s of gender, ethnicity and race surrounding the 1909 Freight Handler’s Strike
10 June 2020 at 7:00PM EST
Presented by: Jenna Kirker, McMaster University
Along the shore of Lake Superior lies the Lakehead and the gateway to the West. The region, inhabited for thousands of years, evolved at the turn of the twentieth century to represent a community developed on resource extraction and transnational shipping, built on a legacy of trade and commerce. Industrial progress at the Lakehead transformed the once rough town of prospectors and fortune seekers into an expanding economic and social capital of a growing north.
Labour in the region, especially in the first decade-and-a-half of the twentieth century, represented a legacy of industrialization, immigration and precarious employment. The CPR Freight Handler’s in particular comprised of labouring men and women were in a constant state of flux during this period, with the latter striking at least three times between 1903 and 1907. This constant state of flux came to a head when CPR freight handlers, with the help of female relations, struck in 1909 with violent and bloody results.