Québec Shoe Workers' Strike

The Québec Shoe Workers' Strike, properly a lockout, 27 October-10 December 1900, was the first direct intervention in a labour conflict by Québec Catholic clergy and the first step toward the creation of Catholic unions (see CONFEDERATION OF NATIONAL TRADE UNIONS). Unionized boot and shoe workers had grown too militant to suit Québec manufacturers, who closed their factories, planning to keep them shut until the workers quit their unions. But the 4000 workers directly affected resisted. Finally the conflict was submitted by mutual consent to the arbitration of Archbishop Bégin. His decision, pronounced 14 January 1901, recognized the workers' right of association, but insisted that the union constitutions be revised by an ecclesiastical committee because some passages contravened the principles of morality, honesty and justice. The committee modified the overly radical passages to conform to the SOCIAL DOCTRINE of the church and recommended that a chaplain attend all union meetings.