Page 32 - A Visit with Winston Ruck, Steelworker
ISSUE : Issue 60
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1992/6/1
• cause he was ready to be defeated, I sup? pose. I just happened to come along at the right time, and I did defeat him. By a large majority.... Decisive. (Again, no election speeches?) No. Just as long as my name stands. Somebody nominated me; they nominated him from the floor. All my speeches were made during those inter? vening years. Speeches pertaining to is? sues . But you were never expected to get up and say, "Well, I promise you this and I promise...." That was a lot of B.S.-- nobody did that.... It wouldn't make sense. You never made (campaign) speeches. That was outlawed. You didn't even get up and say, "Well, I'm going to do this." When you got elected, then you announced what you hoped to be part of your overall program, in conjunction with the other ex? ecutive members. 'Cause it was a team. That's where you were supposed to work. That was the theory. (Did the press pick up the issue that there was a chance now a black man was going to become the leader of the union?) No, no. No, it never became part of it. (And among 25 McKeen Street GLACE BAY, N. S. B1A5B9 849-6365 Bbles • Books • Music • Plaques Gifts • Novelties • Sunday School & Church Supplies All Types of Photography • Cape Breton Scenes Kitchen & Bath ?? Vast range of styles and options ?? Kitchens & Vanities ?? Corian dealer ?? Extensive showroom NEW HOMES AND REMODELS Come in aad visit our showmomi AFTER HOURS 562-7268 562-0421 S3 JOHNSTONE ST., SYDNEY FAX# 562-2141 (off Pitt) by Ivlaster Meats M Sydney / 9' vinyl / VINVrREPLACEMENT WINDOWS the union members, surely to God there were some who weren't happy with a black man.) Oh, yes. Of course there were. He got a sizeable amount of votes.... (By the time that you were running for president, did we have black men working on the railway?) No, no. (In the Electrical Office?) Yes. I broke--myself, personally --I don't like to use the word "I." But as a result of being on the Grievance Commit? tee and being on the Executive, I would take up cases where there was a general complaint of discrimination, constantly. I was not afraid to do that. I knew I had the backing of the union overall. Not in every case was I going to get support. I'll give you an example. During the course of Jim Ryan's tenure as presidency --as I said, Jim was a strong advocate of seniority. Jim originated many of the sen? iority clauses in that collective agree? ment today. And some of them are still there. And Jim was a fearless individual. This day in question, I was working in the General Yard. Jim Ryan was president be? tween '64 and '67. So it was during that period I'm speaking about. The Open Hearth Department practiced discrimination on the furnaces. That is, a black man could not get a job working on the furnace, per se. Working on what they called the "bull gang." That bull gang were people who would fill positions on the furnace as First Helper and Second Helper. And that was a top job. Made big money, 'cause you got tonnage. So the bull gang was their source of replacement for job openings within the furnace itself. That was a hierarchy job, an elite job. It wasn't necessarily confined to religion. There All Types of Collision Work! Spot Repair SYDNEY'S COMPLETE COLLISION REPAIR CENTRE 539-2848 • 539-1033 61 BEECH • SYDNEY BIP 6R7 yy ' f Motel and UL'LCt/LL'A. DiningRoom ' 'P''*' 'r''''' (LICENSED) CHETICAMP ' 3-Diamond AAA Rating • Listed in 'here to Eat in Canad' Colour TVs • Phones Ideally located beside C. B. HIGHLANDS NATIONAL PARK hiking • fishing • golfing saltwater beach • more! P. O. Box 1 Cheticamp, N.S. BOE IHO (902) 224-2400 Est. 1938: McKeown Family
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