Page 94 - Part One of a Two-Part Story: We Worked for General Instruments
ISSUE : Issue 49
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1988/8/1
Estates and these things--they must have known what kind of a company it was. (What kind of a union did we have? Quality of union.) Well, I'm not sure that our quality--we were all new. None of us had ever worked at any of this before. None of us had ever been in a union before, or worked at manufacturing, or anything like that before. We thought we were doing the best at the time, but.... (How often did you have meetings?) Oh, we had our meetings monthly. (Good turnout?) There was at times, around negotiations times there were real good turnouts. But we always had quite a few. If you ever got 200, out of 1200, it would be really really something. But usually you had around 50 or 60, in that area. (Not large turnouts.) No, not on an average. The same as in unions today. (Not even representative, really.) That's right. Like, I was just thinking of the union that I work for now. They have 800 members, and they have maybe 13 or 14 at the meetings. All unions are like that.... Unless there's something contro? versial- -contract time or anything like that--people are apathetic about unions. • GIANT IVIacASKILL museum with Craft Shop and Confectionery/Snack Shop CLOTHING FURNITURE PHOTOGRAPHS OPEN: May 20 to October14 * 9 A.M. to 7 P.M. Daily ADMISSION: $1.00/adults * $.50/children with parents * Group Rates 2.5 km. from ENGLISHTOWN FERRY on Route 312 COORDINATED HOME 'CARE... now being established throughout Nova Scotia, will mean simplified access, through the local homemaker agency, to in-the-home help for eligible senior citizens, disabled persons and families at risk. Another improvement for Nova Scotians in need. GETTING ON WITH LIFE! Nova Scotia " Home Care Coordinating Agency >c (When you look back now, do you feel that the women of Cape Breton were taken advan? tage of by this company?) I still think that's a really hard question to answer. Taken advantage of, as far as low wages and hard work? Well, see, when they went to work there, they knew what they were going to be getting. And we all knew that this manufacturing bit was new, and that it wasn't the greatest kind of a job in the world. So I don't think we were taken ad? vantage of, to that.... (But it was low wages.) It was low wages. And it was very repetitive, boring work. (So hard in that way.) M-hm. Mentally hard. (What was the alternative for a woman in Cape Breton, in 1967?) Oh, stay home and look after your kids, and do without the washer and d??ier. It's as simple as that. There were a"few clerking jobs in the stores. And I think if you were relatively well-educated, you could find something. But for those of us that were ordinary, un? educated people--most of us never finished school--none of us ever saw the inside of a university or anything like that--there were no opportunities. There were no oppor? tunities for married women, for a second income. Not on a scale that this was offering. (I know when I say, "Did they take advan? tage?" it always makes it sound so one? sided. But they came here for profit.) That's right. And it didn't matter how good or how bad the employees were going to be. They came here for the profit. Once the profit was gone, they were going. We could have worked our butts off--they wouldn't have stayed anyway. We know that. Because we had met with the other General Instru? ments people, and this was their way. The same thing happened in the States. So we weren't unique. The plants that they had in Bell Buoy Restaurant Seafood * Steaks * Poultry * Sandwiches Fully Licensed * Luncheon & Children's Menus Baddeck, N. a 295-2581 e Rirmers Co-operative Dairy Limited A Complete Line of Dairy & Juice Products ?? Milk ?? Spreads ?? Ice Cream > Juices ?? Yogourt ?? Long Life ?? Cheese Products Farmers Co-operative Dairy Limited Sydport, Sydney 562-2434 Owned by Nova Scotian Farmers
Cape Breton's Magazine