Page 44 - C.M. (Clem) Anson and Steel
ISSUE : Issue 28
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1981/6/1
days later. I don't remember what for. "Oh," he said, "I thought of you a few days ago. But I knew you had a j ob, so I didn't bother you." Jeez, that's what I'd been looking for. He gave me the address. I wrote them, gave my resume. Had a letter back; Kelly said he'd be in Montreal in a couple, three weeks time. Then I hardly got that letter before I got another one from him. "Don't bother waiting. Job here if you want it. Want somebody in our blast furnace department. Will pay $125 a month." Peanuts. "Come, and the job's yours." I left that night on the train. Labourer's wages were 27 cents an hour, about 3 dol? lars a day if you worked 12 hours--I guess I wasn't quite getting labourer's wage. I came. They put me through the plant. I started at the open hearth. Worked in that for a couple of months. (Supervising?) Oh, hell no. Labourer. And up at the coke ov? ens . I was there for 6 or 8 weeks. I wasn't supervising. I was just a learning young fellow. And then took me down the blast furnace--this is where they were aim? ing me for--the old man who was superinten? dent of blast furnaces was then over 60, and they wanted somebody to fill in when he got out. But turned out he had no inten? tion of getting out. So I'm working on the blast furnace, still labouring. Oh, I was at that for about a year, I guess--and get? ting to a point where I was about getting fed up. Thought perhaps I'd better get out unless I could see something different. So one day I stopped the boss, this fellow Kelly, when he came through the plant one Sunday morning. He asked me how things were going around the blast furnaces. I asked him, "How'm I doing, Mr. Kelly?" Said, "You haven't heard any complaints from me, have you?"--that's the kind of guy he was. "No, I'd just like to know." "All right." "Then how about giving me a raise." The end of the month my pay cheque came down--150 dollars. I called him up on the phone. "I got my cheque, Mr. Kelly." "Oh, wonderful, Clem." I said, "Wonderful. ... I'm through!" I can see the head clerk in the blast furnace office. Wouldn't be? lieve anybody would talk to Mr. Kelly, the general manager, in that fashion. He qui? eted me down finally, said he'd have anoth? er look. So next month--175 dollars. Well, that was getting on to something half de? cent. Made me superintendent of the blast furnaces, of the whole blast furnace de? partment. (What would other labourers say to this promotion?) Well, there was no one working on the blast furnaces with the competency to be the assistant superintendent. (And no union at that time.) No union. Anyhow, then they started up a new department in the rolling mills, making the high-carbon plates that go underneath the rails on eve? ry tie--they put me in charge. In 1928, they made me assistant general superintendent of the whole plant, and I was only 17 years old. This was fantastic. (Do you think they made a mistake?) No, no. And a year and a half after that, I was made assistant general manager for the whole business--BESCO, as it was called then. (Why did they put so much on you?) Well, they didn't have any skilled techni? cal personnel. Everybody there except the general manager had grown up either there or some other place around Nova Scotia-- trained to be a mechanic, for instance, started in the rolling mills and gradually came up to be a roller--the top job in the rolling mill other than the supervisory staff. In those days, it wasn't anything like it got to be later on, that you took college-trained people and trained them. You worked at the work and gradually got promoted and perhaps became a foreman, and went from there to be something else, (Is it true that Kelly kind of picked you out C'the coopei'tojS f~A Insurance Services For All Your Personal Coverage, Call: SYDNEY 539-6315 GLACE BAY 849-4547 NEW WATERFORD 862-3350 CHETICAMP 224-3204 NORTH SYDNEY 794-4788 MABOU 945-2514 LOUISDALE 345-2199 PORT HAWKESBURY 625-0640 YOU CAN TALK TO US Discover The Place To Eat In Cape Breton SYDNEY AIRPORT RESTAURANT Open Daily • 11 a.m. A Fully Licensed Dining Room, featuring a Complete Menu, including the Finest in Steaks and Seafood, SUNDAY BRUNCH 11 A M to 3 P M 539-1318 (44) If you knit, you1l want something natural. Create your own fashions with our new 100% virgin wool yarns especially made for hand knitting. Our yarns are made in Atlantic Canada (Cape Breton) from local and imported wool. Drop in to see us at Irish Cove, or write for sam? ple 40-colour shade cards and price lists. We of? fer special quantity discounts. Cape Breton Woolen Mills Ltd. R, R. No, 1, Irish Cove, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia BOA IHO (902) 828-2776
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