Tailors’ Operative Union 1848-1916
Born in England, Alfred Jury apprenticed as a tailor and joined his union, eventually being elected its president. He migrated to Canada with his wife in 1873 and immediately grew active in the local tailors’ union, becoming its executive officer and president. Jury also took part in the meetings of the Toronto Trades Assembly and was on its executive, including serving one term as its president in 1875, until its collapse three years later. He also attended the annual meetings held by the Canadian Labor Union and held executive offices there as well.
Alfred Jury was a prominent spokesperson for labour reform in the 1870s. He became a particularly active proponent of cooperatives, which he helped to organize throughout the 1870s and 1880s. In 1881, he was instrumental in reviving a central labour council as the Toronto Trades and Labor Council. He was also deeply involved in the Knights of Labor and helped to launch the Trades and Labor Congress of Canada in 1883. Jury ran as a labour candidate in the 1887 federal election, though he lost. He was a free thinker, secularist, and accomplished platform speaker. Always close to the Liberal Party, he was appointed to a royal commission on the Ontario prison system and then to a position as an emigration agent in Liverpool, which he held until his death in 1916. His daughter, Helen Armstrong, would become a prominent leader in the Winnipeg general strike.