Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 49 > Page 84 - Part One of a Two-Part Story: We Worked for General Instruments

Page 84 - Part One of a Two-Part Story: We Worked for General Instruments

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1988/8/1 (146 reads)

wanted so much money, now, for taxes. See, the government gave them that building with nothing--no payment, nothing--for 5 years, if they would come here. So, they came. Af? ter their 5 years were up, they had pretty high taxes to pay. And the next year, they doubled their taxes. And the third year, they were going to add more. They were try? ing, I guess, to make up the 5 years they gave them for free. And the taxes were so high. And these tuners that we did, they were shipping to Mexico. Most of them were going down to Mexico--about 70%. And 30% were going to Toronto. Well, with the shipping rate, it was cheaper for them to build a plant down in Mexico. And then in Mexico they only had to pay the workers 50 cents an hour. It was cheaper all the way around for them. But they didn't tell us that. They wouldn't tell us anything. Finally, we kept asking, you know--we'd go to the general manager-- "What's going on? Are you pulling out or not?" "Don't know." That's all they'd tell us. So finally, one day, we had a sit-down strike. We sat down, and we wanted to know where we stood, where our jobs were, were we going to be working next month. And fi? nally, they came over, and they did, they ended up--in the afternoon they came back and they told us. Like, in the morning they told us they would have an explanation for us in the afternoon, would we go back to work. We went back to work. Two o'clock they came in, and they told us that we had 4 more weeks of work. They were pulling out in September. First of September, they were gone. The place was closed. Bob Liebke (What was G.I. making that made Cape Breton seem like a good place to go?) Just prior to their coming to Cape Bre? ton, we had a meeting out in the Joliet plant in Illinois. And the-Joliet plant could not keep up with the demand from the automotive industry (for) the parts for automobiles, like radio tuners, and like that. And speed controls, light cpntrols, and stuff like that, that were coming in. And the substance of the meeting was to possibly set up an? other plant in proximity to the Joliet plant. Anyway, I used to get the Progress and Enterprise, my hometown paper, from Lunenburg--I used to get it every week. And I had just finished reading an article by Industrial Estates Limited, saying, "Welcome with open arms"--I mean, any manufacturing concern that wanted to come to Nova Scotia. So, naturally, I wasn't that high up on the ladder that it was my deci sion that we'd do it. So, anyway, I went home (at lunchtime), and I got the paper and I took it back (to the vice-president of manufacturing). He knew I was a "herring-choker," anyway. And at the end of the meeting he said, "Bob, do you know anybody down there?" I said, "Oh, yeah. One man I know--a fellow by the name of Bob Winters--he's in Pearson's cabinet in Ottawa." I said, "I used to ride home on his bike from school in Lunenburg." Anyway --(I was a) big shot by association! Anyway, I forgot about it. Gee, in two weeks time he called me up, and he said, "We want to start right now." He said, "You start lining up your jobs, lining up all the tools and so on. And," he said, "we're Your Prestige Florist for Quality and Service Ashby Nurseries Plummer Ave, NEW WATERFORD 862-3374 'C'all on us tor free consultation to make your wedding perfect!' Cape Breton's Original English Recipe! 863-2866 Antigonish Mall Antigonish And We've Crossed the Causeway!, 539-8188 849-5150 76 Townsend St. Senator's Comer Sydney Glaoe Bay 562-6745 794-3555 "The Oasis" Next to North Sydney Mall Sydney Shopping Centre North Sydney HOME STYLE PROCESS (12 years in operation) The Fish and Chips Specialists
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