Page 3 - Women in the Steel Plant, World War 2
ISSUE : Issue 37
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1984/8/1
At the coke ovens: Selina Haddad Hollo- han, Lil, Minme Paruch, and Bernadette. Right: Selina Hollohan. was just?) Well, not really. Just wanted a job for the time being, and just left it at that. As long as it went, fine, and if you got laid off, well.... (So you weren't concerned whether it was fair or not.) Not really, no. I think it's a man's job, and when they haven't got the men, if women can replace them for the length of time that they need them, fine. (It was never a question of, if we can do it, we should be allowed to do it.) No, no. Selina Hollohan I always lived with my I worked in town--at a cloth- And then parents, and ing store on Charlotte Street, from there I went to the plant. (Why did you change?) More money. I was contributing to my family, my whole pay. I wouldn't take anything. My mother was very sick with cancer. And my dad had to stay home quite a bit. So at that time I used to take two dollars out of my pay, and I took my pay to my father or my moth? er. But they were so good, they were such good people, that I was really happy that I could do it. (Do you have any idea how you heard about the steel plant?) Everybody around worked at the plant, the men. And at the time, during the war, there was a shortage of men. So they were hiring women. So I tried to get on. It took me a long time to get on, though. You know, you had to have drag then, too. I didn't have it. My family didn't work at the plant. My father ran a business on Charlotte Street. (So you went and you applied,"but you weren't taken right away?) Oh, no. I walked back and forth there till I wore a pair of shoes out, I always say. They'd just say that there were no openings yet. and put you off like they do for every oth? er job. And finally, I got on. But I got on through--I went to see the priest in our church. And he made a phone call. I was trying about 4 or 5 months, and I couldn't do anything on my own. Finally, I went to him, and ne made a phone call, and he was pretty mad about the whole thing, because he had known so many others' that did get on that didn't even need it. So that's the way I got on. (You worked at the coke ovens?) That was the first job I got on the plant, and I just stayed there for 14 months. I was breaking doors and cleaning mud, and mud- ding doors, and cleaning the walk. You know, the old mud would fall off the doors, so you had to clean that in a wheelbarrow, take it down to the end. It was dirty, that's all. You got the smell of the gas and that. Which wasn't very good, really. A person--like, a woman couldn't stay there for too long a time. But I stayed there for 14 months. (Do you think it was because you were Leb? anese that you had trouble getting on the plant?) No, I don't think that that had too much to do with it. I don't think. There were a lot of coloured girls got on the plant. There were a lot of foreign. I think, myself, that it was just the fellow who was doing the hiring. He'd just pick and choose. (Although, it's been said to me of coloured girls, that the only job they ever got on the plant was on the coke ovens.) Yeah. That's the only job I got, too. I liked it, though. (Did you find the work hard?) Not too bad. I had a boyfriend there after awhile, so it got a little eas? ier. 'Cause he used to take the heavy cart WHERE TOMORROW'S STYLES ARE FEATURED TODA' Jacobson's Ladies'Wear Hudson's Bay jackets and coats Hudson's Bay blankets Pure imported suits from Scotland Imported cashmere coats Eskimo-made jackets All famous Canadian & European designers 330 CHARLOTTE STREET * PHONE 564-8132 SYDNEY Jscobson's T>AAeed & Hictory Tartan skirts and kilts (including C.B. & N.S. tartans) Icelandic coats and sweaters Peter Scott lamb's wool and Shetland sweaters Imported pure wool skirts, sweaters and pants 263 CHARLOTTE STREET * PHONE 564-6308 (3)
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