Page 79 - Part One of a Two-Part Story: We Worked for General Instruments
ISSUE : Issue 49
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1988/8/1
I think the plant for General Instruments originally cost $750,000. Well, that plant was'built by I.E.L. That was Nova Scotia-- the Industrial Estates Limited. And I think I'm right in this respect. I.E.L. advanced the money to build that plant. And the plan was that General Instruments would lease that plant and pay them back X number of dollars per year on that plant. I'm sure, too, that the municipal taxes were not the full amount. This was, let's say, more or less a mode of operation as far as inviting these people in. (Was there anything else given to en? courage them?) Well, I think it was one of the first times that they started (govern? ment supported) training programs, and these amounted to on-job training programs, because of the fact that there was at that time a complete absence, really, of high? speed assembly-type production facilities here in the province. They didn't have any training facilities that could adequately train people off the job. So everyone was trained then in the plant. That was a real--I think--error. Because I know, I talked with our people in regard to the thing. And when I say error: if you train 3 people for a specific job. a one- person job, economically you can't afford to have 3 people doing one person's job-- you are going to be in hot water. And I know. I operated a plant, as production su? perintendent, in Joliet, Illinois. And there, for the same amount of production that we were contemplating here, we had 600 people. Here, they were looking at some? thing like 1100 people. (Now, why do you think they did that?) Well, this is something, too, I think. Let's say the political side was instrumen? tal in more or less, I guess, trying to wave their flag and make some points by reason of having brought in an industry and so on. So they were going to make it known, I mean, "Look what we did," and so on. "Look how many jobs we made." (But business is business. Why would a com? pany hire 1100 if they only really needed 600?) Well, that's what I'm saying. There was a force from the other side: "Look, take more of these people and train them." (But how could the company earn enough to pay all those people?) Those training wages were paid for by the province. You had a training period of 3 months or something like that. When that training money was not available, then all of a sudden it became a real matter of dollars and cents. (Was the training period confined to 3 months? Or did they have more than one per? iod of training, but you could only train each person for 3 months? Which was it?) That's right. It worked around where you could handle so many people at one time. And therefore if somebody quit, well then a A Cape Breton Classic back in print! The Cape Breton GIANT by James D. Gillis With Photographs, and a Memoir of GiUis by Thomas H. Raddall The Cape Breton Giant is a Cape Breton Classic. And so is its author, James D. Gillis. An early oral histo? rian, Gillis sought out those who knew both the story and the legends. He went to the grounds, measured the grave. And then, not finding quite enough for a book, he used elements of information about The Giant as an excuse to write about his other two pas? sions-Scottish Heritage and Cape Breton Island. The result is an informative, entertaining, outrageous book-a book about not one but two singular Cape Bre? toners: The Giant Angus MacAskill, and the author, James D. Gillis. Available only as a Quality Paperback $5.95 from local stores, or direct from: Cape Breton's Magazine Wreck Cove, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia BOC 1H0 A DANDY STOCKING-STUFFER OFFER! When you buy 5 or more, the price is $5.00 each. Composite photo prepared by Carol Kennedy
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