Winnipeg strikers demand casual Fridays - The Beaverton

Winnipeg strikers demand casual Fridays

An excerpt from The Beaverton Presents Glorious and/or Free: The True History of Canada. Available where books are sold.

May 15th, 1919

WINNIPEG – Thousands of striking workers have paralyzed Manitoba’s capital demanding that employees be granted the right to wear casual clothes every Friday.

Building and metal workers wearing polo shirts and hooded sweaters were the first to walk off the job, followed by sneaker-wearing telephone operators. Crowds dressed in ball caps and knee skirts began to form at Portage Avenue and Main Street holding signs proclaiming “My Friday, My Fashion” and “Sweater Vests or Death.”

“It’s our right to wear more comfortable clothing on Fridays,” said rail yard switchman Jacob Stilstuich wearing a plaid jacket. “If I want to wear a tropical-themed flannel shirt on this day, I have every right to. Long live the worker wearing an unbuttoned dress shirt!”

A.J. Andrews, leader of the Anti-Dress-Down League, stated that everything must be done to stop the savagery of such common-non work clothes as baggy knickerbockers.

“These jeans-wearing communist bohunks threaten to overthrow the common civility of the 144-hour work week!” a feisty Andrews told a crowd of wealthy industrialists. “It starts with Casual Fridays, but they’ll demand even more, such as not working on Christmas Day or refusing to die on the job.”

Factory owners and businessmen claimed it was the radical fashion interests from the Red runways of Paris and Rome that were coordinating the strike, an accusation strike leaders deny.

“This is a Canadian problem,” charged one of the union leaders. We will not be dictated to while the elites prosper. They grow richer while we endure endless days in grey trousers and suffocate in tight, oppressive bow ties.”

After an altercation, the Royal Northwest Mounted Police charged the picketers leaving two dead and a scattered pile of concert t-shirts and fancy hats littering the streets.

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