Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 49 > Page 81 - Part One of a Two-Part Story: We Worked for General Instruments

Page 81 - Part One of a Two-Part Story: We Worked for General Instruments

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1988/8/1 (188 reads)

terford. And I sat there and I listened to one of the supervisors telling a story about him working in the pit, and leaving half of his sandwich for the rats down in the pit, and so on like that. And all of a sudden it dawned on me. That particular thing these people were doing, by leaving their sandwich on the floor. The miners down in the pit sit with their back against the coal face and eat their sandwich, and then leave part of the sandwich for the rats. That's a known fact. It's almost like a tradition. So then I said the next day to this fellow. I explained to him, you know, what I had heard the night before. He said, "Oh, yeah. That very possibly could be. Because, you know, they've heard their fathers talk about leaving a sandwich, or 'Make me enough sandwiches. Ma, so I can fleave part of it for the rats.'" This influenced a lot of people. Well, now, I'll tell you another story. When we first hired the very first people down on Pitt Street, one lady, from Glace Bay--we told her she'd be working on a line. Anyway, we interviewed her and talked to her, and okay, fine, we had hired her. And she came up to me and said, "Now, if I'm going to be working on a line, me son, where's me boots and me rubber apron?" Her idea of a line was a fish-cutting line. You see? the majority of the people who were actual? ly the work force, the assembly force, were female. (Why was that the case, do you think?) Because it was a secondary-type in? dustry. And it was a very demanding job as far as being monotonous was concerned. I mean, you sit in one position, or you sit in one job cycle, and you do that same thing for 8 hours a day, at the rate of, say, 400 to 450 pieces an hour. A man, or a male, is not given to that type of pa? tience. Really and truly. (This cafeteria scene--was nobody using the tables?) Oh yes, there were people using the tables. But there was a great amount of peo? ple using the wall on the outside. And there were empty tables, there were empty seats, and so on like that. But now, you see, most of our people eventu? ally- -I would say that we only had 3 0% of our people who came from Sydney. The rest of our 70% of people came from New Waterford, Glace Bay, Sydney Mines. And North Sydney, a very small percentage. So they were actually from the area of the mining industry. (Now, we're not suggesting that most of these people were former miners or for? mer steelworkers who brought their traditions into....) No, these people were not former miners or steelworkers. But their people were. 'Cause, see, '', c'''' Uoyd MacDonald ' NISSAN Our 29th Year 124 KINGS ROAD SYDNEY RIVER Toll Free 1-800-565-9427 20 CAR SHOWROOM '88 Pathfinder 4x4 NOW IN STOCK STORA Stora Fbresfl- Industries Limiteci PROUD TO BE PART OF A 700 YEAR TRADITION STORA FOREST INDUSTRIES LIMITED has planted more than 700 million seedlings in the seven eastern counties of Nova Scotia since we began operations in Cape Breton in 1962. Our company has carried out forest improve? ment work with site preparation, planting, weeding and spacing of young stands of trees on over 100,000 hectares. In Canada, we are recognized as a leader in forest management. A member of the STORA GROUP, Sweden, STORA FOREST INDUSTRIES LIMITED is proud to be part of the oldest company in the world. 26 YEARS OF PROGRESS IN NOVA SCOTIA
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