Page 36 - The Coming of the Trade Union Act (1937)
ISSUE : Issue 23
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1979/8/1
But poor Jim McLachlan couldn't stand it. His position was, John L. Lewis is no good and he'll never be any good, which is something less than Marxian. There is nothing permanent but change. But Jim would have nothing to do with it. Jim had been badly hurt personally; he had lost his position with the U.M.W.. blacklisted, ne couldn't go back in the mines after 1923 • and he had a hate of John L. Lewis and all that he stood for. Well, all that he stood for in 1923 could well be hated, if you can hate. I felt Lewis had changed. And I felt we had to trust him. We had no bloody choice there. (Do you think the business people came around because they felt they could trust Lewis? After all, he had held the miners to their contract in 1923.) I never thought of it that way. I don't know that the business commimity was that astute. (And Jim McLachlan felt there were higher principles that might call for breaking a contract?) That's right. Jim was a marvelous man. Principle was a big thing with him. Well, the way he had to live for years and years with a couple of cows and a little bit of a garden.... Anyway, we were one of the first unions in the entire international to be recognized by the company by virtue of this act. (Was the company bitter?) Not much. See, thev're businessmen. They depended to a great extent on government nandouts, al? ways have • so they weren't going to fight the government. The government didn't have the fear of the union that big industry has. Big industry is less concerned about the dollar-and-cents things as it is about control, power. And our unions, unfortun? ately, are no threat to this power. So our real power in this was the threat of our vote at the polls. (So after all that fighting, when a union finally comes to the steelworkers at Syd? ney, it's peaceful.) Peaceful. Political. We steelworkers might have had all the trouble others had and worse--if there wasn't an election just a couple of months away. We had 30OO people organized. And in Trenton they had the plant organized. And if we had to go on strike before election, Angus L. was going to be in a bad way. The international nor the people here could not support a strike. But we would have had no other choice, and it would have been a bad repetition of 1923. Issue 22 of Cape Breton's Magazine includes a long, detailed story of both the 1923 steelworkers' strike and the sympathy strike by coal miners after federal and pro? vincial troops were sent to the steel plant. The story is made up of interviews with people who were there, as well as accounts from the newspapers of the day. Copies of Issue 22 are still available at the regular price of $1.25. You can order copies by writing Cape Breton's Magazine, Wreck Cove, Nova Scotia. We'll pay the postage. The photograph of George MacEachern was taken in 1977 by Rick Plociennik. "The Best The Little Shop With A Lot" on the Island THE for local & eoTTAeE STUDIO imported Big Bras d'Or crafts" Ph. 674-2776 Located on a short loop of highway joining the Trans-Canada Highway at both ends , Bill's P't Centre i??J 33 George Sti*eet in Sydney fP''B next to Island Crafts ' ' '' Phone 539-2243 HAGEN I Pet bupolies and Accessories A Complete Selection Exotic Birds and of Tropical Fish Small Animals 40''k USS' The CBC in Cape Breton NATIONAIXYREGIONALLYFfiOVINCIALLYLOCALLY CBIT TELEVISION Channels 2,5'7,8,10,12, and 13 nwns TO ZE CBI RADIO 1140on your Dial INFORMATION ENTEFnAINMENTENLIGHTENMENT
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