Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 37 > Page 35 - From 'Company Town' to 'Labour Town'

Page 35 - From 'Company Town' to 'Labour Town'

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1984/8/1 (383 reads)

arranged to buy additional power from the colliery power plants. Full integration of the system was achieved when Dominion Coal built a large new power station in 1930. In Sydney Mines, however, the town council attempted to replace an obsolete private utility with a new municipal power plant. This plan was blocked by the provincial legislature, which insisted the town must first purchase the existing utility. Ulti? mately the local system was absorbed by the Boston-based utility, the Cape Breton Electric Company. The situation in New Waterford was less complex but equally troublesome. Here the Dominion Coal Company supplied water and power for town and collieries alike. This arrangement spared the town large capital expenditures, but caused other difficul? ties . As the company insisted the utili? ties must operate on a strict profit-mak? ing basis, the town often failed to per? suade the company to extend services. And during the strikes in 1922 and 1925 the shutdown of the Waterford Lake power plant suspended light and water services not on? ly for the collieries, but also for the en? tire town. Finally, the company's control of services in New Waterford precipitated the tragic climax of the industrial con? flict: in June 1925 the struggle for con? trol of the Waterford Lake power plant e- rupted in a bloody confrontation between the coal miners and the company police. This episode resulted in the death of one coal miner and proved a turning point in the long strike. Ill During the 1920s a close connection pre? vailed between local government and the in? dustrial conflict which culminated in the IT'S AREALCRIME! moJemenfofw Under Section Unless approve well, lake, river may cause poll Jfer'n' 6 (Pol dbyth cfiarge pond. So, if your plans for CO property include any in 2, We may be able to minimal damage tc Help us keep o damage. Nova Scotia rnatu h'em ution nywate of tfie A CO Ctit rseorlakea makes very or deposit any material of any ringement on application to the' alen akthel ironme i "' tfrc nd ttie natural learthat: kmd'imoorlnl Nova Scotia Department of We ask you to do tfiis for two w to go abou m irreparab your project w e ecological :x: Department of the honourable George Moody Environment tvumster strikes of the years 1922-25. The town councils frequently intervened in the con? flict and actively assisted the coal min? ers in their struggle against the wage-cut? ting British Empire Steel Corporation. In 1922 Mayor James Ling of New Waterford served as the union representative on a conciliation board and his minority report reflected the union's views. In March 1922 Mayor Morrison of Glace Bay organized a delegation of civic leaders to take the coal miners' case to Ottawa. Following the appointment of a royal commission on the steel strike of 1923, the Glace Bay and Sydney Mines councils sought to have the enquiry extended to the problems of the coal industry as well. In 1922 and 1926 the Glace Bay council petitioned for the parole of men jailed as a result of raids on the coal company stores. In 1924 all three towns petitioned the federal govern? ment for the release of J. B. McLachlan, the imprisoned union leader; on his re? lease the Glace Bay council ordered the flag flown at the town hall to welcome his return. During the hard winters of unem? ployment and distress in the coalfields in the 1920s, the town councils allocated thousands of dollars for food, clothing and fuel; in the strikes the towns sup? ported the work of local relief committees. In 1926 Glace Bay issued $8,000 worth of bonds for relief purposes, and all the towns sharply increased their spending on charities and relief during the 1920s. During the 1925 strike the town councils continually sought to resolve the explo? sive situation. When the strike began in March, the New Waterford council denounced' the corporation for "abruptly breaking off negotiations" and "arbitrarily locking out its employees"; the council appealed to the provincial and federal governments to help relieve distress and to bring pres? sure on the corporation to reach a settle? ment. The Glace Bay council addressed a similar resolution to Nova Scotia Prem.ier E. H. Armstrong stating that "the Town has reached the limit of its financial ability to relieve distress." On the invitation of the New Waterford council, representatives ' from the four mining towns formed a joint committee to urge the government to assist in reaching a settlement of the strike. On 15 May a joint resolution was endorsed by Jacques-Cartier Motel M. Mme. Roger Poirier, P.O. Box 555, Motel: (902)539-4375 Residence: Sydney, N. S. (902)562-2414 FRANCAIS 2 Kilometres de I'Aeroport ENGLISH Bagnell's Gift Boutique Camera Supplies, Handcrafts, and Souvenirs Open Year 'Round - 7 Days a Week In the Heart/of Louisbourg ms United Ltd. 213 Coiiinercial St., North Sydney. N. S. B2A 1B5 Telephone 794-4536 GENERAL DEM.ERS Clothing for the Whole Family
Cape Breton's Magazine
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