Report on Sydney Street

Year Published:  1981  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX2296

This report is based on a 30-minute slide-tape program called "The Steel Show" (Steel Research Group) and is available from DEVERIC, Box 3460, Halifax, Nova Scotia ($5 rental, $100 rental) or United Steel Workers of America, 55 Eglinton Avenue E., Toronto, Ontario (Write for details).

Abstract:  This report is based on a 30-minute slide-tape program called "The Steel Show" (Steel Research Group) and is available from DEVERIC, Box 3460, Halifax, Nova Scotia ($5 rental, $100 rental) or United Steel Workers of America, 55 Eglinton Avenue E., Toronto, Ontario (Write for details).

The report argues that industrial Cape Breton is the most important industrial district in Atlantic Canada. The report covers the historical background to the steel industry, important episodes in the history of unionism among the steelworkers, and recent developments in the Cape Breton steel industry.

The authors point out how in the 1960s, the Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation abandoned the coal mines and the steel plant. When Friday, October 13, 1967, or "Black Friday" came, the steelworkers and the community resisted the shutdown. Since then, the coal and steel industries have continued to operate as government-owned enterprises.

But since 1967, the authors report that the Sydney Steel industry has faced an uncertain future. Governments have announced layoffs and have committed only small amounts of money to keep the plant in operation.

The report argues that public ownership has not worked because it came only when it was long overdue, and because there has been no democratic organization and management of the industry. On the other hand, the authors point out that in 1967, the steelworkers showed that through public ownership, they were able to prevent the shutdown of the steel industry and to achieve the survival of their community. An important goal for the future, the report concludes, is the establishment of a stable, self-supporting steel industry owned and controlled by the working people of Nova Scotia.

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