The Cape Breton Miners Museum is commemorating the violent mining strikes that attracted national attention in the 1920s’ by sharing the story years later, in Glace Bay. Back then, miners took to the streets for better collective bargaining rights, forcing federal and provincial governments to develop better labour policies that are in place today.
“The strikes of 1922 to 1925, the coal miners stood together and stood the gaff, that means they did not bend under the hardships the BESCO pushed on them and they stood together,” says executive director, Mary Pat Mombourquette.
She says the 1920’s weren’t an easy time to be a coal miner in Cape Breton as the British Empire Steel Corporation controlled the miners’ wage, fuel, food, clothing and housing.
The company threatened to cut wages and that lead to the strikes, but eventually the miners stand would prove to shape the province’s unions and labour policies.
“They paved the way for us guys coming up because it was terrible here. They would work all week,” says miner, Sheldon Guthro. “They would go down and get their pay and they would open it up and there would be no money in it.
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