Page 1 - We Worked for General Instruments: Part Two: The Conclusion
ISSUE : Issue 50
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1989/1/1
Part Two: The Conclusion We Worked for General Instruments The Cape Breton Post reported on Opening Day, Nov 16,1967: Moses Shapiro (president of Genera! instruments) came from New Yorl< (and) told 150 civic leaders the plant will employ 900 when it goes into full production. "We are aware of our responsibilities and if the operation is successful the plant will be expanded and the work? force doubled to 1800..." h6 said. He told employees that they must treat their job with respect. He said General Instruments Limited is happy to be in Sydney and intends to stay here. Frank Sobey, president of Industrial Estates Limited (a No? va Scotia Government Development Agency) called on Cape Breton- ers to support Canadian General Instruments and show the rest of Canada that industry can be successfully operated in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton in particular. He pointed out that "this type of indus? try enables the young" to find work at home.... Mayor Russell Urquhart said this was "a proud day" for the city. "This is the largest single industrial enterprise in the city in the past century."... Then Moses Shapiro...and the Hon. Stephen Pyke pushed the keys of an auto radio tuner sitting on a tartan covered chair, which elec? tronically activated scissors that cut the ribt)on.... Marie Duguid (Marie, do you feel you had a strong union at General Instruments, when you look back at it?) No. We didn't have the membership. We had the strong union executive, that were willing to do anything for anybody. But not enough members behind, for what you wanted. (Well, when only 60 show up for a meeting, I guess that's pretty clear.) That was a big crowd. Oh, 20 was about what you'd get. Not interested in unions, they never were. (So when I ask myself, "Why didn't the workers fight for the plant?"--they didn't fight for anything.) They didn't fight for anything, at any time. They didn't even back us in it. You know, try and get be? hind us to help us. (And of course, if they don't do that....) There's nothing you could do. We felt there was nothing we could do because so much had left that plant, from May when that contract was signed. I think maybe in June they told us, either June or July they told us. But everybody got severance pay out of it. Which I don't think was agreed to. (It wasn't part of the contract?) I don't think. (Would you like to see General Instruments come back?) Yes. (Same format?) Same for? mat, yes. (Same secondary industry?) Sec? ondary industry, yes. (You'd be pleased with that.) Very pleased. Oh, wouldn't it relieve the unemployment. Wouldn't it re? lieve the unemployment that we've got here today. Give all those younger people just a few cents to get by on. That's all they're getting in the stores is minimum wage. You go to any store. (So if they would respond to the call that's going out now for businesses to come to Cape Breton, you would not be dis- CAPE BRETON'S MAGAZINE, NUMBER FIFTY WRECK COVE, CAPE BRETON, NOVA SCOTIA SECOND CLASS MAIL - - REGISTRATION NUMBER 3014
Cape Breton's Magazine