Estevan Coal Miners' Strike, 1931

Coal miners at Bienfait, Saskatchewan, had joined the militant Mine Workers' Union of Canada in 1931. In September of that year they went on strike to win recognition of their union as a prelude to pressing demands for a restoration of wages cut by the local coal operators. When the mine operators proved intransigent, the miners and their families decided to demonstrate in nearby Estevan to gain community support for the strike. Estevan's mayor banned the demonstration and called upon the RCMP to aid local police in crushing the march which occurred September 29. Three miners were murdered in the ensuing melee and many others were injured. The suppression of the miners' strike contributed to working-class anger with the governments of that period and aided the cause of the MWUC and the WORKERS' UNITY LEAGUE, of which it was a part.