A Short History of Sudbury Labour – by Mick Lowe

Mick Lowe - Sudbury Journalist and Former Northern Life ColumnistSudbury’s labour movement had its official birth on March 10, 1944, with the certification of Mine Mill Local 598, after a tumultuous gestation that was not without bloodshed. According to local labour lore, the triumph of union organizers after decades of failure stemmed directly from an equally historic and bitter defeat only a few years earlier: the crushing of the Mine Mill certification strike in the Kirkland Lake gold camp during the winter of 1941-42.

Several of the union’s key organizers headed south to Sudbury following the failure of the four month strike at the fabled Golden Mile in the hopes of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, and, in the event, they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

The 11,000 hardrock miners, mill, smelter and refinery workers who became trade unionists that March were the newest members of a union with a long and storied history in the hardrock mining camps of North America. Founded originally as the Western Federation of miners in 1893, the union was renamed the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers (IUMMSW) in 1916, but it was known to friend and foe alike as simply “The Mine Mill”.

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Fighting the Good Fight for Sudbury Labour Unions, Safety and Dignity: The Homer Seguin Story – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

Homer Sequin, now retired, but health and safety advocate for the past 50 years, has published his life story.

Entitled Fighting For Justice And Dignity: The Homer Seguin Story chronicles his life from the age of 16, when he started with Inco at the Sintering Plant in Copper Cliff, to his retirement in 1992.

The book is 173 pages, with 40 pictures and is self-published. Journal Printing printed the copies on recycled paper using union labour, said Seguin last Wednesday. Some of the pictures have never been viewed before.

“It chronicles the rise of the whole union movement here and my activity from being a steward on the safety committee to a union trustee in 1963, to vice-president of Local 6500 in 1965, to president in 1967,” said Seguin.

The book is hard-hitting. Seguin had to leave school early to help his mother make ends meet when his 39-year-old father drowned in 1950. At that time Inco did not pay a survivor’s pension, meaning a person had to be alive to receive a pension.

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