Ginger goodwin: A canadian labour martyr

On July 27 of 1918, United Mine Workers labour organizer Albert "Ginger" Goodwin was shot by a hired private policeman outside Cumberland, British Columbia. His murder sparked Canada’s first General Strike .

Not a tall man – just over 5 feet, 6 inches. Frail. Suffering from lung disease – probably tuberculosis. His only distinguishing feature was his red hair.
Albert "Ginger" Goodwin didn’t look like much, but he had a towering moral presence. His short life was spent fighting for people who work hard for little reward – and it ended with a bullet and immortality as a labour martyr.
Goodwin was born in Teesdale, England on May 10, 1887. He was 15 – relatively old – when he started work in the Yorkshire coal mines. In 1906, he emigrated to Canada in search of a better life and found work in the Cape Breton coal mines.

In 1909, the miners went on strike. They lost. Black-listed and broke, Goodwin moved to Cumberland on Vancouver Island. Again he worked in the coal mines. He was active in the strike of 1912-1914. Again the strike was lost and again he was blacklisted.

After brief jobs in Merritt and Fernie, Goodwin began work in the Trail smelter in 1916. He was soon elected secretary of his local and vice-president of the B.C. Federation of Labour.
In 1917 he led another unsuccessful strike – this time for a universal eight-hour workday among smelter workers. But his leadership of the strike and his outspoken opposition to the 1914-18 war had brought him to the attention of the authorities.
Despite his lung problems, his conscription status was changed from "unfit" to "fit for service in an overseas fighting unit." The reclassification amounted to a death sentence.
Goodwin went into hiding in the bush near Cumberland. With the help of townspeople, he evaded the authorities until July 27, 1918, when he was tracked down and murdered by the Mounties. Workers in Vancouver marked Goodwin’s funeral on Aug. 2 with B.C.’s first general strike.
His remains are buried in the Cumberland cemetery: nearby, a section of the Island Highway has been named "Ginger Goodwin Way." He won’t be forgotten.



4 thoughts on “Ginger goodwin: A canadian labour martyr

  1. Just yesterday we held the 27th Annual Miner’s Memorial weekend which honours not only the miners killed and injured in the Cumberland coal mines but their struggles for justice. People like Ginger Goodwin and Joe Naylor are remembered as real leaders. Join us next year on June 13-15 here in Cumberland when we will have both Miner’s Memorial and the Pacific Northwest Labour History Association’s 2014 conference. It will be an exciting combination!

  2. I think that everything published was very reasonable.

    But, what about this? what if you composed a catchier post title?
    I am not saying your information is not good., however what
    if you added a title that makes people desire more?
    I mean WEST KOOTENAY LABOUR COUNCIL | Ginger goodwin: A canadian labour martyr is kinda plain.
    You should glance at Yahoo’s home page and note how they write article headlines to get people to click. You might add a video or a related picture or two to grab readers interested about what you’ve got to say.

    In my opinion, it could make your posts a little livelier.

  3. as a past member of mine mill i am a little offended that your story of Ginger GOODWIN HAS HIM AS A MEMBER OF united mine workers. maybe when he was in cape breton but here in BC he was international mine mill and smelter workers.

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