Page 39 - From 'Company Town' to 'Labour Town'
ISSUE : Issue 37
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1984/8/1
percent. The companies, the Bulletin warned, "cannot be expected to approve any plans or to consent to any expenditures in respect to which they have no voice. Pro? vision should be made for the representa? tion of the Companies in the Councils of all the municipalities in some fair propor? tion to their share of the taxes." But this was a proposal framed in despair. In 1926 the corporation began to collapse and in 1930 the new Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation took control of the industry. IV The rise of the labour town in industrial Cape Breton strengthened the position of the coal miners in their community. By tak? ing control of the town hall, the coal min? ers removed one local institution from the company's control. The coal miners also un? dercut the company's authority by challeng? ing their employers on issues such as law enforcement, taxes, assessments, and ser? vices. In the course of the strikes, the coal miners turned the influence of local government against the company, rejecting appeals for military aid and furnishing as? sistance to the coal miners. The rise of the labour town also contributed to the growth of a long tradition of lab.our poli? tics and social action in the coal towns, The coal towns have not prospered since the 1920s, but they have survived. In many parts of North America the days of the "company town" have often given way to the day of the abandoned "ghost town." In Cape Breton the story has been different, the communities have outlasted the original company towns, and the change from "com? pany town" to what might be called a "la? bour town" was one part of this story. Ul? timately, the perseverance of the coal-min? ing community was rewarded with the a- chievement of public ownership in the coal industry in 1967. Our thanks to David Frank, Department of History, University of New Brunswick, for permission to print this edited version of his article, "Company Town/Labour TownrLocal Government in the Cape Breton Coal Towns, 1917- 1926" • originally published (with tables and footnotes) in Histoire Sociale/Social History, Vol.XLV, No.27, May, 1981. Dr. Frank extends thanks to Mayor Dan A. Munroe and Town Clerk Bruce Sterns of Glace Bay, Mayor Arnold Baxandale and Town Clerk Mrs. Lois Gordon of Sydney Mines, and Town Clerk Francis MacKinnon of New Waterford--for their permission to examine town records. Our thanks, as well, to Deputy Town Clerk Jim Mac? Donald, Glace Bay, for help in obtaining a photo of Mayor Dan Willie Morrison. And to the staff of the Beaton Institute, University College of Cape Breton, for their help in locating town photographs. mm MaUi Sc Bmfaah itnttig loom Cosy, spacious rooms on a quiet peninsula in the Strait of Canso Fishing Charters Available u Cedar House Bakery and Coffee Shop OPEN DAILY 674-2929 bread - scones - oatcakes cookies - desserts TRANS-CANADA HWY NEAR SEAL ISLAND BRIDGE Suppliers of Conmercial Recreational Fencing P. 0. Box 98. King St., North Sydney, N. S. B2A 3M1 794-4773 ' ana r4r-2rnfl ' Have our auger truck dig your holes."
Cape Breton's Magazine