Fraser River Fishermen's Strikes

On 8 July 1900, fishermen for 47 salmon canneries that lined the lower Fraser River from New Westminster to the river mouth struck for a season-long, 25-cent, minimum price instead of prices which dropped as catches increased. Whites, natives and Japanese faced a canners association made desperate by overexpansion and lower selling prices and backed by the provincial government. Calling out first the provincial police and then the militia failed to break the strikers, who were led by Frank Rogers, a longshoreman and socialist activist. Eventually, on July 31, whites and Indians accepted a season's price of 19 cents. The Japanese, however, had accepted slightly less favourable terms on July 23.

The following year, a "big" year in the sockeye salmon cycle, a second strike over prices began July 1. When the Japanese started to fish on the canners' terms, while whites and Indians stayed out, the previous season's tensions among ethnic groups erupted into open conflict, with net cutting, marooning of Japanese and the arrest of strike leaders. Finally, a "committee of business men" mediated a return to work on July 21, virtually at the prices offered by the canners. Nevertheless, these strikes established the principle of season-long minimum prices and created the Grand Lodge of BC Fishermen's Unions, which first set the goal of coast-wide union organization.