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Enacting Militancy: A Case Study of the 1960 Falconbridge Wildcat Strike

This research project focuses on a little-known wildcat strike that occurred in Sudbury at Falconbridge's mine, mill and smelter operations in the spring of 1960.

The wildcat strike began in late April, when some 45 workers refused to work at the beginning of their shifts at Hardy Mine, and continued into late May.

The reason for the illegal walkout was health and safety.

Workers had been told to wear safety glasses on the job, but many workers felt the glasses actually made their work less safe. They argued that the company was  ignoring their demands and refusing to implement real safety measures.

 

At its height, the wildcat strike involved approximately 230 workers and caused work stoppages at all the plants and operations across Falconbridge's four properties.

 

Falconbridge shut down its operations on May 18, 1960. Days later, workers returned to work after receiving letters assuring them that the safety glasses requirement would be modified and that no one would be fired.

Shortly afterward, seventeen workers were dismissed.

Six were hired back, but the others, who were considered ringleaders, were not. Those remaining eleven workers launched grievances for arbitration, but lost.

This study has been approved by the University of Saskatchewan Behavioural Research Ethics Board

(Beh #3624)

Falconbridge Mine -View of Sudbury nickel mining area in 1960- Sudbury News Service.png

If you have stories or memories of the 1960 wildcat strike, or about working conditions at Falconbridge's operations around 1960, or if you know of anyone who may – please contact Dr. Quinlan by email at: quinlanprojects@usask.ca or call 306-227-4039.   

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