Asbestos Strike

On February 14, 1949, more than 5,000 workers affiliated with the Canadian Catholic Confederation of Labor go on a strike, paralysing major asbestos mines in Asbestos and Thetford Mines.

The strike is violent and bitter. On May 5, 1949, strikers attack provincial police who were trying to break picket lines to put strike-breakers to work.

The same day, the Riot Act was read after the clash. On May 6, 1949, provincial police beat up and arrest many strikers. On July 1, 1949, the strike is over, but it took the intervention of Mgr Maurice Roy, the Catholic archbishop of Quebec to end it. The Federation of Mining Employees held a meeting at Asbestos.

The union and the Johns-Manville company came to an agreement after long discussion. Asbestos workers at Thetford Mines settled with their employers on June 24. Only the John-Manville company was unwilling to rehire 20 strikers. The issue slowing the agreement was rehiring strikers.

After the strike, on February 1, 1950, the Roman Catholic Church issues a Collective Pastoral Letter, removing its clergy from leadership of Quebec's Catholic trade Unions.

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