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> Issue 22 > Page 16 - The 1923 Strike in Steel and the Miners' Sympathy Strike

Page 16 - The 1923 Strike in Steel and the Miners' Sympathy Strike

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1979/6/1 (1129 reads)

union, you mi't say • but it was more of a company thing. Here in Sydney they called it the Bischoff Plan, because Bischoff was a head man of the plant at that time. That's how much of a union it was. It was really a company union. Used to have meet? ings, you know, and you'd have representa? tives • and you might get what you want and you might not. But you had no strength, no, no. I was never on the committed, but the committee even had their meetings in the general office, that was the meeting place they had. The general office of the plant itself. That's how much of a real union it was. I think the pay I got at that time was 33 cents an hour. We worked • on day shift, anyone was working in the yard • we worked only 10 hours. But then when you'd get on a regular job you still had the 11 worked by day and 13 by night. You'd work for a week 11 hours a day • that'd be on day shift. Then the next week I'd go to night shift. Well, then I'd work 13 hours each night. And every second week we'd work 2k hours through. That'd be on a Sunday. That'd be how you'd change over to the other shift. Stay at the plant for 2k hours. You might get a chance to go home and get a bite to eat, but your buddy would have to do your work for you when you were gone. Then he'd go and you'd have to do your own work and your buddy's too. They were terrible hours. The lowest rates. Used to bring home 19 dollars a week. Emmerson: (Was the company union any good?) Oh no. Well, you could go down on the plant and get up a load of wood. And then you'd get cheap coal • go in the of? fice and get a ticket for coal. But apart from that, what you got in concessions you lost in wages. But from that 1923 strike, I learned this; that if the workers are going to get anywhere they've got to fight for it. They aren't going to sit on their fanny ajid get it. I figured that then and I figure it even today. Our thanks, first of all, to Mr. and Mrs. Bernie Galloway and Mr. and Mrs. Emmerson Campbell, for their help in preparing this article. To Ian MacNeil, Editor of the Cape Breton 'ost, for permission to quote from the Sydney 'ogt; and to Wolfgang Schmidt who arranged for use or the photos of troops in Sydney in 1923. These photos appeared in Capt. L.W.Bentley's article, "Aid of the Civil Power:Social & Political Aspects 1904- 1924," CANADIAN DEFENCE QUARTERLY, Summer, 19?8. Hhe tape of Doane Curtis and Dan Mac? Kay was supplied by the Beaton Institute, College of Cape Breton. The staff of the Pub? lic Archives of N.S. supplied some of the newspaper research. Don MacGilvary helped with interviewing. For a more in-depth consideration of this subject, see his article, "Aid to the Civil Power:The Cape Breton Experience in the 1920's" in ACADIENSIS, 1974, and his thesis, INDUSTRIAL UNREST IN CAPE BRETON 1919-1925. Paul MacEwan's MINERS AND STEELW(3RKERS has served as a good general overview of events. For yet another presenta? tion of these and related events, see Dawn Eraser's book of verse:ECHOES FROM LABOUR"'' WAR (Hogtown Press). ' RAJ'S GIFT SHOr and Canteen facing ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL MUSEUM, BADDECK, N. S. A unique selection of Gifts and Handcrafts Souvenirs of Baddeck ''''' Nova Scotia Cape Breton .'flRnlMwk Local and Scottish & Films YS* 1 ''' Tartan and Chinaware L'Hotel de Id Marine Fortress Louisbourg L'Hotel de la Marine has been carefully recreated to portray the lifestyle of 18th century Louisbourg. The food, prepared from authentic 18th century French recipes and served in the style and atmosphere of that period, makes a visit an unforgetable experience. For a more relaxed dining experience eat at L'Epee Royalle JUNE • SEPTEMBER
Cape Breton's Magazine
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