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Birth of a Regional Labour Movement

James Ryan and the Hamilton Nine-Hour League spread the message of the movement to workers in communities throughout central Canada.  In addition to forming local Nine-Hour Leagues, workers in these communities also formed a variety of unions and local trades assemblies.


A printed newspaper notice for the C.L.U. Workingmen's Meeting

A notice from the Hamilton Daily Spectator (March 1873)

Ryan hosted a gathering of delegates from Hamilton, Toronto, Brantford, Montreal, Ottawa, and Dundas at Hamilton’s Temperance Hall on May 3, 1872.  Out of that meeting was formed the Canadian Labor Protective & Mutual Improvement Association (CLPMIA). Workers’ representatives from Oshawa, Ingersoll, London, St. Catharines, Guelph, Sarnia, and other towns also endorsed the new association.


The CLPMIA was the first regional labour organization in Canada. The next year, trade union delegates shortened the name of the organization to the Canadian Labor Union (CLU). The CLU focused its efforts mostly on winning workers’ political gains on issues such as unfair competition from prison labour and child labour, anti-picketing and apprenticeship rules, and much more.