Toronto Trades Assembly and Toronto Trades and Labour Council

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Toronto Trades Assembly and Toronto Trades and Labour Council

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The Toronto Trade Assembly was a labour organization established in Toronto, Ontario, in 1871. In February 1871 the Coopers International Union No. 3 appointed a committee of three men: Mr. John Hewitt, Mr. E.S. Gooch, and Mr. James Judge to confer with the various organized Societies of Workingmen of the City of Toronto for the purpose of discussing the question of forming a Central Body to be known as the Toronto Trades Assembly. On March 27, 1871 a meeting of delegates from several unions of the City of Toronto took place. The unions involved in the initial meeting included Lodges no's. 159, 315 and 356 of the Knights of St. Crispen, the Bakers' Union, the Cigar Makers' Union, the Iron Moulders' Union, the Coopers' Union, and the Typographers' Union. On April 12, 1871, it was unanimously carried by all of the union representatives that the Toronto Trades Assembly be formed. It was also decided that non-union shops be allowed to join the Assembly. By 1872, 27 unions had joined the Assembly representing the following trades: wood working, building, carriage making, and metal making, as well as several miscellaneous trades. The Toronto Trades Assembly was active in speaking on behalf of the working people of the community, encouraging union organization, acting as a watchdog on working conditions, and occasionally mediating disputes between employers and employees. No record of the Toronto Trades Assembly exists after 1878. Three years later a successor organization, the Toronto Trades and Labour Council, was formed in July, 1881 to carry on the work begun by the Assembly. This new organization was also instrumental in setting up the Canadian Labour Congress in 1883. The present Toronto and District Labour Council is a direct descendant of the Toronto Trades Assembly.


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