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Page 34 - The Coming of the Trade Union Act (1937)

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1979/8/1 (245 reads)

with tears in his eyes no more than a month before that that it wasn't possible, company would sink. We got a 10 per cent and two 7"2 per cent increases from the steel plant • we didn't even ask for them. It came through the plant council, see. But the union was re? sponsible. The very fact that it was alive was responsible for those raises. We grew and they tried to head us off through the plant council. This was in '35. So we kept up our efforts • slow, tedious work • and did get up to 660 members. We were the Steelworkers Union of Nova Sco? tia. Other unions were springing up, and we were all in commimication and had in mind the forming of a Canadian federation of steelwo.;kers. The Amalgamated Associa? tion had broken down. Was it 4000 or 8000? One is as bad as the other. We weren't go? ing to affiliate with that. Trades and La? bour Congress of Canada didn't want us. They said our proper place was with the Amalgamated Association. In the meantime R. B. Bennett,, Prime Mini? ster of Canada, had come out with a pro? gram which included the 8-hour day. Pro? bably more sensible people wouldn't have bothered with it, because the federal gov? ernment could only have the 8-hour day ap? plied to federal employees. But that didn't bother us any. We took out a peti? tion and took it around the plant, differ? ent departments. Some of the plant • the portions in continuous operation • had gone on the 8-hour day. There was no knowing when the others would get it. We formed a committee • didn't call it the union • and by-passed the plant council and got a meeting with Kelly. We asked him when we were going to get the 8-hour day. "First place, you'll get the 8-hour day when we're good and ready to give it to you. And in the second, I'm not talking to a bunch of gate-crashers" • and he walked out. Fine. What better could you ask for when you're trying to build a union.- We got a good response to petitions and then called a meeting for a Saturday night in the Temperance Hall in Sydney. (Our planned speaker couldn't come.) By chance, Jim McLachlan and Annie Buller were giving an election talk. So they came down. Won? derful speakers. We had a packed meeting, good meeting. And there was another good meeting Sunday night. And Monday morning - Kelly sent word to the plant council, he wanted a meeting, to tell them what he wouldn't tell us the week before • when they would get the 8-hour day. And you can depend that the union meetings forced this. The very fact that Jim McLachlan and Annie Buller were addressing a meeting was e- nough to frighten hell out of them. Town Dairy "The Biggest Little Store in Town!" Groceries Confectionaries Ice Ice Cream Soft Drinks Magazines Camping Supplies Souvenirs 1290 Main Street in the centre of Louisbourg Host Rent-a-Car 24 Kings Road, Sydney We feature the fine line of Fords. 539-2287 539-2288 Cauldron Restaurant Fresh Seafood a Specialty Our Licensed Dining Room is Open 7 Days a Week from 11 AM- till 10 PM We are located on Pitt St., Sydney Mines near Princess Colliery We feature Cape Breton Devco Trout 736-6823 OPEN ALL YEAR ROUND Year Round Service to Cape Bretoners and their Friends.
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