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> Issue 27 > Page 4 - From Conversations with Steelworkers: How Mike Oleschuk got his Farm

Page 4 - From Conversations with Steelworkers: How Mike Oleschuk got his Farm

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1980/12/1 (370 reads)

says, "Okay, go pick up the shovel there-- you, you, you, you, you, go pick up." I've got to stay back. If he takes me, okay. If he doesn't take me, I'll have to go back home. (Even though now you have a job?) Yeah, I have a j ob. I gave him the rum and he gave me a job. But each day I've got to go there. If he wants me to work that day, he picks me. If he doesn't want me, he doesn't pick me. (And do you get paid if you don't get picked?) No. (And that's the j ob you have.) That's the j ob I have. And if the weather is bad, some of the fellows don't come out. Lots of times, I prayed that they'd have bad weather so I could get a shift. (And what was the job you were lucky e- nough to get?) A loaded train comes out on the bank of coal, and you've got to take the coal off. The last cars, maybe the last 10 cars, you had it easy--you open the door and the coal falls down the bank by itself. They could be dumped. But if you're by the engine, you've got to shovel every piece of coal, because you're far a- way from the edge of the bank. (And which cars did you get?) I'd have the cars by the engine. I had to shovel the coal out of the car and over the bank, every time. Hard work. And dirty work. And those times, for us there was no such a thing as a bath? tub, sink--you had to bring a bucket in? side to wash yourself--and coal is dirty. You had to clean up. Only the work clothes that I used, I put aside, and in the morn? ing I'd put them on--so I'd get dirty a- gain, before I'd go. If I worked or didn't work--when I came back, I'd be dirty and have to wash again. I'd be dirty anyhow. And lots of times I had to come back with? out working. I'd only get to work in the worse weather--snowing, blowing, rain-- that's the day I'd get a job. (And your pay?) 28 cents an hour. That was good mon? ey, that time. I made $2.80 a day. And if I'd work a whole day there, I'd come home and get something to eat and wash myself, and you could say there was music, there was dancing--I didn't care. I was beat. And I was young. I was young and I was beat. (How much would you shovel in a shift?) Oh, the small cars, two men could shovel 10 cars in a day--that's 15 tons in a car. That's in a shift when an engine was al? ways there, you could shovel up to 10 cars, that's 10 trips. Some days it would be 8 trips, 5 trips. But if you had two engines going, you could get 10 cars, you were supposed to be working 10 hours, but some? times it would get dark and you'd only get 8 hours. (So even into the 'thirties, you were working those long days.) Oh yeah. And some days you'd work 24 hours--when you changed your shift (going from night shift to day shift or day shift to night.. ..) you stayed 24 hours in the steel plant. They'd give you an hour to go home, take your lunch, and go back. Only you never worked on the coal bank at nighttime. (That sounds like a rough job.) People do it. I did it. (Was this the kind of job you'd only give to people from the old country?) Oh no, no such a thing there. Canadian-born people too. They were fair on that. Only generally, the foreign peo- Known for Quality Products and Ceuieftji Service ' • Jewelery and Gifts MacDonald Jewelery Limited 357 Charlotte St,, Sydney - 864-8318 For all your travel needs. American Express Travel Service ''re the all-around travel agent • with hundreds of American Express Company, subsidiary and Representative Travel Service offices to help you here and all around the world. And with an all-around package of services no one else can match: We have your place in the sun Choose from hundreds of sun spots all over the world. We'll help you pick the best one for you. And American Express Travel Service has over 750 places around the world to take care of you while you're away. • Book plane tickets • Arrange complete vacations • Sell, cash or refund American Express? Travelers Cheques • Offer complete business travel service • Help at destination • Reserve hotel space • Provide rental cars and limousines • Provide American Express pay-later plans (for American Express? Cardmembers) • A unique combination of travel financial services J.A.Young&Son; /' 181 Charlotte Street Sydney, N.S. 539-'800 We want to be your travel agent. Young's Travel in Woolco Woolco DiBpartment Store Sydney River 562-5553 Don't leave home without u
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