Windsor Strike

Windsor Strike, 12 Sept-20 Dec 1945, at the WINDSOR, Ont, plant of Ford Motor Co. The walkout of some 17 000 workers was the first and most significant of the many strikes occurring immediately after WWII as Canada's unions attempted to capitalize on their great wartime advances. But most companies were determined to limit organized labour's gains. There was really only one strike issue at Ford: union recognition. The UNITED AUTOMOBILE WORKERS demanded it; the company refused to grant it. "Union shop and checkoff" had been the union's slogan for some time. Negotiations had lasted for almost 2 years, and the plant had been subject to many wildcat strikes during the war. The company, with the help of the provincial government, desperately strove to break the strike. Police attempts to break through the picket line were thwarted by strikers who blockaded all the streets in downtown Windsor, surrounding the plant with their cars - parked, locked and abandoned.

On Dec 13 both parties agreed to binding arbitration under Mr Justice Ivan RAND of the Supreme Court of Canada. In his arbitration award rendered 29 Jan 1946, he denied the UAW's demand for a union shop and condemned both the union and the company for their behaviour. Most importantly, he provided for a compulsory checkoff of union dues for all employees in the bargaining unit whether they were union members or not. Finally, he developed a system of financial penalties, to be drawn from union dues, which would be levied against the union in the event of a wildcat or illegal strike, based on the duration of the strike. This arbitration ruling, later known as the RAND FORMULA, became widely used in collective bargaining in Canada.