Page 34 - A Visit with Winston Ruck, Steelworker
ISSUE : Issue 60
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1992/6/1
shift, or the backshift--then the guys would have walked off the job.... But I knew that if this case would have gone any further--Jim Ryan was the presi? dent. Had this case gone any further--had the men walked off the job for example, or gone up to the union hall--I knew the kind of tongue-lashing they would have got from Jim Ryan over that situation. Now, they might have walked off the job--I'm not saying they wouldn't have--but they wer? en't going to get any support from him. He was not going to uphold it. And management was not going to challenge it at that point, you know. Because they knew I was within my rights. So I worked that day, to make a long story short. The sun didn't fall out of the sky. You know. The furnace tapped out that day! They got a good heat! My blackness didn't make any change in the operation of the Open Hearth Department that day. And peo? ple would come up to me and congratulate me and say, "Winston, you broke in there-- you're the first black person that ev? er...." There were a lot of black people working around the different jobs there. They had to come to see to believe it. They had to come to see to believe it. That was a big, big thing that day; it became public knowledge within the Open Hearth De? partment and in other parts of the plant--I didn't make no big deal about it. It was just another day's work, as far as I was con? cerned.... You can't stop change forever. (What about your children? Did these things ever bother them, the fact that you were bold?) No. (Did it come down on your family in any way?) No. The times were changing. The times were changing. President, Sydco Fuels Ltd. Celebrating our 10th Anniversary 1982-1992 syhco' 'y M '''i'P'y PETRgCANAPA ? ENERGY FUELS 38 Lewis Drive Sydney River 539-6444 FURNACE OIL • STOVE OIL • DIESEL • GAS • J.UBRICANTS I think a lot of it depends, too, on the individual. I was always well-respected. Always well-respected. My whole family was. My father before me was a well- respected man. Had great influence within the community--the total com? munity, not just the black community-- the total community. So, you know, to that extent, people knew you and liked you. And I suppose that would make it kind of difficult for them to want to do anything to hurt you. Face on, that . I never ran into anybody that ever challenged me when I got the job, president of the local union, that came up to me and said, "You are a black fellow and you shouldn't be here." There were people that resented it, that you alluded to earlier on. And sometimes they would avoid me. Rather than come in and talk to me about a particular problem, they would go in and see Frank Smith. And Frank would send them over to see me. "Deal with Winston on that." Our thanks to Winston's daughter, Joyce, for her help in preparing this article, and to David Ervin, President, Unit? ed Steelworkers of America Local 1064, for help in get? ting photos of Jim Ryan, Frank Smith, and Cecil Palmer.
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