1978-79 Steelworkers strike subject of Mick Lowe’s new novel – by Heidi Ulrichsen (Sudbury Northern Life – May 3, 2017)


Local author has completed trilogy about city’s mining history

Given it’s a part of the city’s recent history, most Sudburians remember Steelworkers Local 6500’s nearly year-long 2009-2010 strike against Vale. More distant in the community’s collective memory is the arguably even more bitter labour dispute that happened a generation earlier.

Steelworkers Local 6500 went on strike against Vale’s predecessor, Inco, for 10 and a half months from Sept. 15, 1978 until June 7, 1979. The labour dispute, which involved 11,600 workers, and starved Inco of more than 22 million hours of labour, smashed records at the time for the longest strike in Canadian history.

The impact on the Sudbury community was devastating, with businesses closing, marriages breaking up and families losing their life savings. The 1978-1979 Steelworkers strike is the subject of local author Mick Lowe’s latest novel, “Wintersong.” It’s the third in the Nickel Range Trilogy fiction series, which focuses on Sudbury’s mining history.

The book is being launched from 1-4 p.m. this Sunday, May 7 at the Steelworkers Hall. Lowe will be selling copies of the book and signing them at the event. The first in the Nickel Range Trilogy series, “The Raids,” is set in 1963, during a particularly violent time in Sudbury’s history — the Steelworkers’ raids on the then-powerful Mine Mill union.

The second book, “The Insatiable Maw,” is set in 1968, and is about health and safety concerns associated with the Copper Cliff Smelter. All three books, published by Baraka Books, feature the same characters, most notably Inco worker Jake McCool and his girlfriend (and eventually wife) Jo Ann.

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