Ron Rosenthal, picket captain, shouting words of encouragement to strikers at the Toronto General Hospital. Photographer: Boris Spremo (Toronto Star, 1981)

Low wages, rising inflation, job cuts and speed-ups, the stubbornness of the employer, and frustrating caution from union leaders all fed into an explosive Ontario-wide wildcat strike of 14,000 hospital workers.

From January 20 to February 2, the strike rocked the province and united the militants and the rank-and-file. When the strike faltered and crumbled in the face of an injunction, RCMP intimidation, and media hysteria, the employer unleashed a ruthless campaign of reprisals, firing dozens and disciplining 9,100.

The strike was analyzed in this short pamphlet written by Ron Rosenthal, a picket captain during the strike in Toronto, and a member of the International Socialists. In addition to making a pitch to join the socialists, Rosenthal takes the CUPE union leadership and bureaucracy to task.

Click pamphlet to download PDF:


Featured photo: pickets at the Scarborough General Hospital. Photographer: Don Dutton (Toronto Star, 1981).