Page 3 - The 1923 Strike in Steel and the Miners' Sympathy Strike
ISSUE : Issue 22
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1979/6/1
terday and drunk the day before" • that was it. That was as far as you could go with? out a union. And they wouldn't pay the same. The way I figured it, if you were a good fellow with the boss, well he'd give you a few more cents an hour. It wasn't a man's ability at all • just being a good fellow. And in those days there was no compensation. The government nor the com? pany never looked after the men in any way. So I saw there was something wrong and I kept on and kept on and got some more with me and we got s-tarted, I was part of the executive when the strike was on. Jack Maclntyre, he was president. Forman Waye was secretary. I was vice-president. I joined the union right at the beginning • the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel, and Tin Workers. Rov Wolvin. head of BESCO, June 22, 1923: "The policy of the Dominion Iron and Steel Company is to maintain the open shop..., trade unionism is wrong in principle...and will not be tolerated by the company." Maritime Labour Herald, June 28, 1923: ... the Steelworkers' Union has declared a strike to enforce better conditions for the the hell called the Steel Plant at Sydney. The wages range from 30 cents an hour for the lowest paid workers to 57 cents an hour for machin? ists. Every week-end a twenty-four hour shift is worked. Out of the 3800 men em? ployed at the plant 65 per cent of them are paid the grand sum of 32 cents an hour. The strike came suddenly after negotia? tions had been carried on with the British Empire Steel Corporation since last March. D, H. McDougall and his gang were quite willing to chat pleasantly with the steel? workers from the plant, but they would not recognize the union, nor would they grant the demands of the workers. These demands are: A 20 per cent increase in wages and a check-off for the collection of union dues. The carefully laid plans of the un? ion worked without a hitch. At 3 a.m. Thursday morning the night shift moved off the plant and picketed the gates and were joined by the day shift as they came to work. From chatting with the steelworkers, D. H. McDougall and his gang of labour skinners must now turn to working if they want to keep the plant running. The management tried desperately to split the union by starting a "company union" on Wednesday. They sang the old song of the exploiters of labour in Cape Breton: "Your leaders are too 'red,* break away from them and we will look after you." This si? ren song failed to win a single worker from the imion. The imion ranks are solid and will remain so despite the fairy tales of the management and the spies and pimps that they have planted in the imion. The steelworkers know the enemy they are fighting. They know that Armstrong (Prem? ier of Nova Scotia) and his government will try to send provincial police to Syd? ney to "preserve law and order." They know that Besco will use force if they are sure the workers will not destroy the plant in retaliation. But if Besco tries any of Oceanside Campsites All Supplies Laundromat and Swimming Pool PIPER 8 Restaurant and Trailer Court INDIAN B R O 0 K, on the Cabot Trail PEUGEOT A Shop for Cape Bretoners and Their Friends Island Crafts Visit our store for a istinctive gift or souvenir Featuring all "Made in Cape Breton" articles • jams and jellies, 100' pure wool knitwear. Mad Potters, woven items and toys. There's much, much more, including tartan spe? cialty items. ATTENTION GIFT SHOP OPERATORS: Make sure you are ready for The Gathering of the Clans. Our wholesale department has a full range of excellent souvenirs. Open Friday nights until 9 and all day Saturday for your shopping convenience, 335 George Street, Sydney A different kind of luxury car from EUROCAR SERVICE LTD. Westmount > opposite Dobson Yacht Clul I Appointment Maritime Medical Care Inc. Maritiaie Medical Care Incorporated annoances the appointment of Mrs. Edna MacVicar as Manager of the Maritime Medical/MSI Branch in Sydney, covering the counties of Richmond, Inverness, Victoria and Cape Breton. Mrs. MacVicar has been employed with Maritime Medical Care since 1966. Maritime Medical Care provides all administrative services for MSI • Nova Scotia's Medical Services Insurance plan for physicians, optometric and dental services as well as the MSI Pharmacare plan for residents over 65 years of age. Maritime Medical also offers private health plans for services not covered by government plans, such • s supplementary hospital insurance, dental care, vision care and pharmacare programs for companies and organizations throughout the Atlantic area. Noa-group and Travel Health Plans • r? also available. Edna MacVicar The Sydhey office of Maritime Medical/MSI is located on the corner of Charlotte and Pitt Streets, Sydney. Nova Scotia. Phone • 564-6398
Cape Breton's Magazine