Stop the presses for Labor Day | TreeHugger
A decade earlier in 1872, labour unions were illegal in Canada, but the printing trades were fed up; they were working 12 hours a day, six days a week, exposed to poisons like lead, antimony and solvents. There were deadly accidents from steam-driven presses. Demanding better working conditions, printers formed the Toronto Printers Union, went on strike, and marched on the Provincial Parliament. Joined by other workers, 10,000 participants- fully a tenth of the city’s population- showed up.
Newspaper publishers, led by George Brown of the Globe (which became the Globe and Mail) fought back. According to Canadian History in an article titled The First Labour Day, “Brown brought in workers from nearby towns to replace the printers. He even took legal action to quell the strike and had the strike leaders charged and arrested for criminal conspiracy.”