1998.477 | Employee work stoppage, Asbestos Corporation, Thetford Mines, QC, 1923

Employee work stoppage, Asbestos Corporation, Thetford Mines, QC, 1923
Georges Filion
1923, 20th century
Silver salts on paper
8.1 x 13.8 cm
Gift of M. Henri Auclair
This artefact belongs to :© Musée minéralogique et minier de Thetford Mines
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Keys to History

In the early 1920s, unionism was foundering at Thetford Mines. But that did not stop the workers from spontaneously uniting when they felt the need to. On April 23, 1923, the employees of the Asbestos Corporation of Canada decided to get rid of their assistant manager, one C.-H. McNutt, who had fired two senior employees for no good reason. They went on strike, seized McNutt and forced him onto the Sherbrooke train.

Two days later, McNutt returned to Thetford Mines escorted by forty armed policemen, but the strikers were not intimidated. The local member of the legislative assembly and local police had to intervene to prevent a riot. McNutt was forced to get back on the train with his bodyguards, never to return.

  • What

    The Asbestos Corporation of Canada employees, with no union involvement, stopped working and joined together to expel assistant manager C.-H. McNutt.

  • Where

    The scene is the Quebec Central station in Thetford Mines. The main street (Notre Dame) is swarming with miners. The steeple of St. Alphonse's church can be seen in the background.

  • When

    This photo was taken on April 23 or 25, 1923.

  • Who

    These workers had their wages cut to $2.50 a day in the early 1920s. They had just been given a "raise" to $3.00, but money was not their sole concern. They united in support of two coworkers who had been treated unfairly.