Just days before Christmas in 1958, some 14,000 Sudbury miners and their families got the news they had been praying for: the three-month strike at Inco was over. Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers Local 598 president Mike Solski announced an agreement had been reached with Inco.
A three-year contract and a six-per-cent wage increase over three years was offered. This amounted to pennies on the hourly wage at the time of less than $3, but union leaders considered the settlement a victory.
The Strike of 1958 was the first major one at Inco, then the city’s largest employer, and considered by historians to be a turning point in the decline of the labour movement in Canada. Solski would be defeated as president in 1959, and in 1962 Inco workers voted to join the more moderate United Steelworkers of America.
Sudbury.com invited readers to share memories of the Strike of 1958. Most of the striking miners have passed away but their children have vivid memories of their worried parents, fears about losing their homes or having to move in with relatives. There was no social net — OHIP was not established until 1966 — and few young families had much savings.
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