Murdochville Strike

On 10 March 1957, the 1,000 workers of Gaspé Copper Mines in Murdochville, Québec, struck for the right to unionize. The conflict lasted 7 months and ended in defeat for the miners. Moreover, a 15-year judicial battle finally awarded the company $1.5 million in damages from the United Steelworkers of America ("Métallos" in Québec). Murdochville was a COMPANY TOWN belonging to Gaspé Copper Mines, a subsidiary of the NORANDA Inc empire. The company refused to recognize the miners' union (Métallos were affiliated with the Québec Federation of Labour, est February 1957) and used strikebreakers, along with provincial police dispatched by Premier Maurice DUPLESSIS, to subdue the strikers.

This intervention by the state precipitated considerable violence. The strike led to joint action by the QFL and the Canadian Catholic Federation of Labour (see CONFEDERATION OF NATIONAL TRADE UNIONS), yet this common front, despite its immense potential, was seriously hampered by dissent within the QFL. The strike has often been called a turning point in QFL history; in fact it was the most dramatic episode in 12 years of effort leading to the 1965 unionization of Murdochville miners.