Page 73 - Part One of a Two-Part Story: We Worked for General Instruments
ISSUE : Issue 49
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1988/8/1
Part One of a Two-Part Story We Worked for General Instruments General Instruments established a factory in Sydney in 1967 and stayed until 1974. There was controversy when it came, and controversy when it went. By the end, there were close to 8000 badge numbers, representing around 5000 workers, through the General Instruments plant. In 1985, people who had worked for General Instruments had a reunion. Cape Breton's Magazine was there. The story that follows is made from interviews after that reunion. Darlene Hareguy worked in several different jobs on the line, ending up in Quality Control at the time of the plant's closure. Bob Liebke and Roy Burchell were management. Marie Du? guid and Isobel Cooper were union representatives. This is Part One of a two-part story. Darlene Hareguy My name is Darlene Hareguy. Sydney in 1954. I was born in (Was General Instruments the first time you ever had what you would call a job?) No. I worked, when I went to school, for White Circle Laundry. I worked on the mangle, folding sheets. I was 16. (Was that common? Did a lot of your girl friends work while they went to school?) Yeah, yeah. (Do you remember what the laundry paid?) Eighty cents an hour--if you were in school. If you were over 18, it was 90 cents an hour. Yes, I used to make a big 10, 15 dollars a week! (How many hours a week would you put in?) Oh, God, some weeks 20, 30. I used to work all Saturday, Sunday-- 12-hour shifts. (Safe to say there wasn't a union there.) No--no union. (So when did you go to school?) In the morning. And we used to go right from school. They used to have boats that came in with laundry, and we used to do that in the nighttime. CN boats. We used to do all the CN boats. (Heavy work?) Yeah, yeah, it was. Lugging those sheets.... (Today 80 cents seems small to us.) Yeah. But then, you know, it meant--especially with me going to school--there were 7 in my family--which helped my mother and father out quite a bit. I bought my own clothes, and my own school stuff. It was a great help at home. (Did you consider it a fair pay then?) Yeah. For someone going to school, and just pocket money--yes. I did. It would be different if I had to make a
Cape Breton's Magazine