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> Issue 37 > Page 32 - From 'Company Town' to 'Labour Town'

Page 32 - From 'Company Town' to 'Labour Town'

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1984/8/1 (298 reads)

Labor is on trial, and it is up to labor men to present a united front. UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL. II The rise of working-class influence in lo? cal government was reflected in numerous civic policies in the coal towns. The town councils objected to evictions, protested coal prices, requested free coal for fam? ilies on the poor list, and took up the grievances of company tenants and retired and injured workmen. In Sydney Mines the council endorsed union resolutions in fa? vour of the eight-hour day, approved a civ? ic minimum wage of 35C an hour, and in 1920 appointed Forman Waye, the labour MLA and steelworkers' organizer, as assistant town engineer. In Glace Bay the council gave close attention to the improvement of labour standards for town employees. The labour councillors inserted an eight-hour clause in town contracts and won recogni? tion of a new union among workers at the town electric plant. In setting hours and wages, the council followed the standards established by the coal miners in their a- (32) Nova Scotia Land Survey Institute This year, the Nova Scotia Land Survey Institute celebrates its 35th year of operation. From its foundation, the Institute has built a sound reputation for producing highly-qualified graduates. Today, in step with the times, it is preparing students for careers in modern technology through programs relating to surveying, mapping, scientific computer applications, land-use planning, and environmental resource management. The Institute's enviable record of achievement reflects continuing progress in public education • the constant goal of the Department of Education. For Information on programs, write to: N.S. Land Survey Institute P.O.Box10-A Lawrencetown, N.S. BOS 1 MO Department of Education greements with the coal company: when the miners won an eight-hour day in 1919, the town proclaimed an eight-and-a-half-hour day, which was improved to eight hours in 1920; when the union won a 55c advance in daily wages in 1920, the town employees were granted the same increase. The most dramatic change in local govern? ment was the restriction of the authority of the company police. To supplement the authority of the existing town police forces, previous councils had followed the practice of appointing members of the com? pany police force as special, unpaid town police officers. In Glace Bay, for in? stance, twenty-one special police were ap? pointed, including Captain D. A. Noble, head of the company police force. Labour spokesmen vehemently objected to the very existence of a private police force in the mining communities. The abolition of the practice of swearing in company police as town officers was a significant measure of the collapse of the company's influence on the town councils, In Sydney Mines Mayor McCormick ended the arrangement in 1915; an attempt to reintroduce the system in 1917 was defeated on McCormick's deciding vote. In 1918 the initial labour group on the Glace Bay council failed in their at? tempt to abolish the appointment of compa? ny police; with increased numbers, they succeeded the following year. Subsequently the Glace Bay council declared itself "un? alterably opposed" to the practice and sup? ported the union's campaign for complete abolition of the company police force. In New Waterford the town council also re? fused to swear in company police and en? dorsed the union position. One councillor, who had been elected as a labour member, was censured by the council for accepting employment as a company policeman and was forced to quit his council seat. The town councils also enjoyed some suc? cess in raising company taxes. In 1916 May? or McCormick announced plans to increase the company's assessment in Sydney Mines, According to a town report, company prop? erty was assessed at twenty-five percent WELCOME TO THE FULLY LICENSED Harbour Restaurant A Good } Selections of : Seafood , Dining Room Overlooking Clreticamp Harbour' OPEN ALL YEAR 'ROUND 1 Cheticamp, Cape Breton * 224-2042 ??iliWWiH.W>Hil4ili'ftMI
Cape Breton's Magazine
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