IBEW Journal November, 1929
The rapid increase of unemployment is becoming a serious menace to settled conditions among the labouring classes.The following is an extract from an article entitled “Laid Off At Forty”, written by Stuart Chase, which appeared in Harper’s Magazine last August, and again in condensed form in “Readers Digest” last September. In part this says:
“A new factor has entered American industry in the last decade–‘technological employment’ as it is begining to be called– a displacement of labor by machinery faster than other trades can absorb the surplus. Heretofore, while unemployment has always been an ugly problem, the expansion of industry opened up as many new opportunities as were lost through technical improvements. The automobile alone has created some 4,000,000 new jobs since 1900. But of late, it is alleged, there is no longer room in new industries.
Here are a few examples of the process of displacement:
‘The displacement of theatre musicians by the talkies.
‘One steam shovel displaces 500 hand workers in digging iron ore.
‘Two men replace 128 men in unloading pig-iron.
‘Seven men cast as much pig-iron as 60 men a decade ago.
‘In a machine shop 30 employees with new machines do the work of 220 workers with old machines.
“Heretofore, there has always been some doubt about ‘technological unemployment.’ But now, a very careful survey made by a committee under the direction of Mr. Hoover seems to settle the matter. These are the final results given:
New job seekers (1920 to 1927)……………………5,150,000
New opportunities opened……………………………4,500,000
Net shrinkage in jobs……………………………… 650,000
“This trend, in combination with the hiring dead line, means that men in our industrial age must stop work early in life. Do they stop because they have saved a competence upon which to retire? They do not; they are fortunate if they have enough to pay the undertaker. Do they stop because they no longer want to work? They do not; they go on their knees for a chance to continue. And if discimination proceeds at its present pace, an increasing number of men over 40 will be left to walk the streets.
“Yet things need not to come to this. Mr. Hoover, with a willing Congress and a awakened public consciousness behind him, could do much to modify them. The details require patient study, but the broad outlines are clear. Unemployment can be checked, if not eliminated, by:
“1. The collection and maintenance of dependable employment statistics.
“2. A reliable system of labor exchanges.
“3. An intelligent program for the construcion of public works to absorb a part at least of the labor surplus.
“4. A system of unemployment insurance.
“5. The gradual reduction of hours of labor to equalize technical improvements./
“Further, we need a careful nation-wide study of jobs in the modern world, conducted primarily to determine what the positions the older man is capable of filling as well, or better, than the younger man. I am convinced that there are millions of such jobs, particularily in the growing automatic processes.”
The IBEW has already taken a decided stand in favor of the five day week and we note with pleasure that several locals have been successful in having this clause included in their new agreements and to these locals is due the thanks of the Brotherhood for their pioneer efforts in a movement of such wide spread importance to the cause of labor. Even now in certain company unoions it is rumored that the deadline for linemen is drawn at 40. When will electrical; workers learn that only in the ranks of the IBEW will they be protected from such arbitrary decisions? This ruling appears to apply mostly to phone companies, because in light and power companies, especially in the wet belts, it is generally recognized that the experience and cool judgement of the lineman of 40 and over, are more to be depended on in cutting over hot primaries, than that of the younger lineman. I remember one wet day when an old timer was paired with a young lineman and sent to cut over a hot corner. They worked a few minutes and then the old-timer said. “Come on down. I want to see the foreman!” They went down and going to the foreman. old-timer said, “Boss, I want my time!” “What’s the trouble?” said the foreman. “Well,” said the old-timer, “I object to cutting over the primaries with any college students!” “Go back up your pole.” said the foreman, “and i’ll send (naming another old-timer) up with you!” So the trouble was settled, and the danger averted of someone getting burned up.
Re: company unions.
The glittering baits of company unions may appear very alluring but once swallowed by the worker he soon becomes aware that the velvet glove conceals an iron hand, and too late he sees his mistake and realizes that he stands alone and unprotected.
Some months ago Local No. 230 in common with other locals, received a questionnaire from the IO, to be filled in with the particulars of any members in the total disability class. We have such members; so when this came up before the meeting the BA was instructed to forward the necessary information and did so, and the Brothers said, “well relief is in sight for these sufferers now, and they fully expected that at the next convention that steps would be taken to make these Brothers immediately eligible for the old age pension. Was this done? It was not!
Again, in a recent letter to the Worker I asked you, Mr. Editor, if present financial conditions would not warrant a lowering of the age limit for the old age pension, and your answer was, “In general this impression is correct.”
At our last regular meeting we received a condensed copy of the constitutional changes enacted at the convention and after reading them we came to the reluctant conclusion that in the grand rush to vote increases to the already princely salaries of the International Officers that our two little problems were knocked down and tramped out of sight, and by the way, that pension scheme for the officers is a dandy, it sure makes our 65 year, $40 per month look as if viewed through a reversed telescope.
If the impression Local No. 230 has got of the convention is incorrect, we apologize; if not, we want to know, “how cum?”
When “the Duke” grasps his trusty, sharp-edged blade of Toleda steel and steps into the arena, we have a champion who is not afraid to cross swords with any adversary in defence of the rights and privileges of his fellow workers; read what he has to say about salaries in the convention number. We congratulate Local No. 245 on their good fortune in having “the Duke” as press secreatary. May his shadow never grow less.
In the meantime Local No. 230, in a peeved frame of mind, awaits further developments.
Shappy’s Stories IBEW Journal October 1929
Though actual hostilities in the Great War ceased when the Armistice was signed, yet we are daily reminded of that great struggle when we see pitiful wrecks of humanity dying slowly by inches from the effects of the deadly poison gas, or wearily dragging mutilated bodies along on crutches, and even now nations are haggling over the payment of war debts. The great Chinese dragon and the Russian bear are crouching ready to spring at each other’s throats, and even among peaceful nations there are wild-eyed orators, who get up on their hind legs and split the air with frenzied exhortations to prepare for the next great war which some of them predict will take place between Great Britain and the United States. That is one side of the question.
On the other hand we have Ramsay Macdonald, Labor Premier of Great Britain, meeting President Hoover with a friendly hand clasp at the conference table and of them doing all in their power to devise ways and means to further the cause of peace. More power to them and to the League of Nations! Ask of the thousands of members of the IBEW. Ask of the workers all over the world. Ask of their mothers and wives! Do we want war? And like the sound of Heaven’s deep-throated artillery comes back the answer, no!
May John Bull and Uncle Sam always stand shoulder to shoulder in the future as they have on occasion in the past, as blue-coated guardians of the peace of the world, and instead of enormous sums of money being spent in building up armies and navies for the wholesale destruction of life may the nations meet on a common ground and make war illegal. As an object lesson and example to the rest of the world we have an unbroken peace between Canada and the U.S. which has been in existence for over a century.
Nowhere along the 3,000 mile boundary which divides them do we find any frowning battlements. No sinister batteries of artillery face each other ready to belch forth death and destruction. No war vessels sail upon the waters of the Great Lakes. And to further demonstrate the peace and amity which exist between these two great countries we have the spectacle of their greatest engineers estimating on the ways and means of a project one of the most stupendous of it’s kind ever proposed in this or any other country.
The St. Lawrence Deep Water Way.
The magnitude of this great undertaking will be more fully appreciated when we consider the fact that not only will it cover the transportation facilities of half a continent but will also provide for the development of from four to five millions of installed power for industrial purposes.
Briefly stated the first step would be to create a twenty-seven foot channel from Fort William to Montreal from which point a thirty foot channel already exists to the open sea.
It would involve the improvement of the River St. Lawrence between Montreal and Prescott, the taking in of the New Welland ship canal.
The construction of works to raise the levels of Lakes Erie, Huron and Michigan, the improvement of the interlake channels,and the deepening of the locks at Sault Ste. Marie and the result would be a twenty-seven foot continuous channel of 2,000 miles penetrating right into the heart of the North American continent, and on the Canadian side this channel like a gigantic, industrial octopus whose tentacles would both serve and return, would stretch those tentacles far across the vast prairie wheatfields to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. To the mines and forests of Northern Ontario. Across the peninsula of Old Ontario rich in farms, factories, power resources and commerce. It would serve the rapidly growing seaport of Montreal. The ancient Province of Quebec which like a sleeping giant is just awaking to the knowledge of her marvellous resources in waterpower and hydro-electric energy. But important as this development would be to Canada, it would be overshadowed by that which would accrue to the United States.
Quoting from a pamphlet recently published by the U.S. Department of Commerce it is estimated that eighteen states, and one-third of the population of the union would be benificially affected by the St. Lawrence Deep Water Development. Forty-seven American cities of over ten thousand inhabitants lie on the Great Lakes, with a combined population of over 7,000,000. It would touch the great coal and iron fields. It would penetrate almost to the heart of the middle west, where Chicago, the second greatest city in Ameica, is the center of the wheat, and corn, and livestock industries. It would flow past Detroit which dominates the motor industry of the continent. To further emphasize the importance of this great waterway it is only necessary to refer back to the year 1927, when the freight carried through the St. Mary River and the Sault canals alone amounted to 83,353,000 tons. The annual tonnage of the Suez canal is in the neighborhood of 26,000,000, that of the Panama about the same, and the Manchester Ship Canal about 7,000,000. From which it will be seen that the Sault canals handled nearly half as much freight again as these three world-important canals combined. If this great development is carried through the increase of prosperity to the two countries most concerned will be beyond computation.
Canada with her vast area and wonderful resources is but sparsely settled. Annually she is spending thousands of dollars to assist immigrants to come and take up some of the great areas of farming land which lie as yet untouched by the plow, but the results are not satisfactory, assisted immigrants as a rule are but a feeble imitation of those rugged early pioneers who asked no assistance but braved danger and privation and with stout hearts and strong hands literally hewed their farms out of the dense woodlands, and today their descendants are the backbone of eastern Canada. In the enormous amount of electrical power to be derived from the deepening of the River St. Lawrence lies the solution to Canada’s immigration question. Cheap power would be the magnet which attracts capital, establish great factories, around which would spring up modern towns to house the thousands of workers who would be employed, and chief among these workers should be the members of the IBEW, guarding jealously the rights and privileges which the Brotherhood has fought hard to gain.
Each passing year sees a thinning in the ranks of the old guard and so it is up to the new blood to so increase the membership that even greater advantages than those enjoyed at present will be possible.
I could write further along this line but have been warned that it is necessary for my personal safety to have an account of Local No. 230’s picnic included in this letter.
This picnic was held on August 31, in the Finlayson Flats, one of the many beauty spots near Victoria. They are situated near the foot of the famous Malahat Drive. One part is overshadowed by giant cedar trees which are the delight of tourists. The level, open spaces are ideal for sports. Through them from end to end the clear, crystal waters of the Goldstream River wind lazily on their way to a nearby arm of the sea.
The attendance was fair and an unlimited supply of free ice cream and soft drinks brought joy to the hearts of the juveniles not to mention the elders. Owing to the generosity of our local merchants many prizes were donated, which provided for races and sports for those from five and under all the way up to-well, I won the 100 yard race for veterans of 20 years standing and nobody knows how old I am.
There were sack races, needle and thread, egg and spoon, mixed three-legged, wheel barrow, which our Business Agent, Brother Reid, would have won only his wife stumbled.
There was a married ladies’ nail driving contest which showed why many workers are able to build their own homes.
The tug of war started out all right but before either side had a chance to show their stuff their numbers were added to by such a flock of friends and sympathizers that one got the impression of an enormous centipede trying to tear itself apart. This match was declared a draw. The sylphlike form and serious demeanor of Brother Casey was a striking contrast to the rotund figure and angelic smile of Brother Joseph but as partners they won the horse shoe pitching contest against all comers but as a runner up Brother Mickey O’Brien throws a wicked shoe.
In all about 30 events were contested and at the conclusion, tired but happy the crowd resolved itself into a long procession of honking cars of all makes and sizes as it proceeded townward.
The members of the committee were : Starter, Brother Casey Clerk of the course, Brother Driscol
Judges, Brothers Silver, Reid, Hasanfratz, and Emory, and to their untiring efforts was due the success of the day.
Shappy’s Stories IBEW Journal July 1929
The attendance at our last regular meeting was rather above average. The roll call book revealed that 60 members were present, which is about two-fifths of the total membership.
The successful organizing of the inside wiremen and the securing of a closed shop agreement with the electrical contractors have injected new pep into the organization and at every meeting now we have new members being initiated and applications coming in. The demand for journeymen linemen exceeds the supply.
Brother Morrison, business agent of Local No. 213 from the mainland, was present and was of marked assistance to us in untangling a knotty problem which threatened to break down some of our hard won conditions.
Brother Reid has held the dual position of business agent and financial secretary for many years and his duties have increased to such an extent that he felt justified in gently intimating that a raise in salary would be greatly appreciated. The local responded by promptly voting him a 100 percent increase and this quick action brought a smile to his careworn face that reached around from ear to ear. The local also procured him a new typewriter to take the place of the old one which is of the “Helen Hunt” variety. The new typewriter has the latest telepathic feature and works thus: As the words are formed in the brain of the operator they are transferred along the nerves to the finger tips whence they are guided by a telepathic wave to the correct keys and the writing becomes merely automatic, so Brother Reid will have no excuses now.
The old typewriter has been turned over to the press secretary and if he and Helen can’t get a letter in the Worker at intervals it will be because the Editor can’t read Helen’s hieroglyphics. The local has noticed with concern that Brother Reid’s health is none too robust and have been urging him repeatedly without avail to take a trip to Jordan River, thinking that a change of air might be benficial. At last he consented to go and a sigh of relief was heard all over the hall from the anxious Brothers.
The demand for electricity has increased so rapidly of late years that everywhere companies are competing with one another to gain possesion of water power sites. We have an example of this on Vancouver Island.
In competition with other companies the B.C. Electric Ry. Co. of Victoria has applied to the Provincial Water Rights Board to develop power from the Campbell River Falls.
The estimated output of the Falls is 90,000 H.P., and to reach Victoria would necessitate the building of a transmission line of 170 miles long. The time is fast approaching when the present output of the B.C. Electric will be taxed to it’s utmost and it is imperative for them to secure and develop other resources for future requirements. Among the applicants this company is the only one having a signed up, closed shop agreement with the IBEW consequently Local No. 230 felt quite justified in passing a resolution endorsing their application. The Building Trades Council also passed a similair resolution.
If this company is successful in obtaining this power site there will be a great increase in the demand for union labour and with the added increase in her membership, Local No. 230 will be no mean outpost of the IBEW.
There is a tendency among the younger generation of linemen to sneer at the oldtimers and say that they didn’t know what linework was, but I notice that there has been no contradiction to the claim of Brother Jack Cameron to the world’s record in the fast climbing contest, made at Nahant Beach, Boston, about 1904. The young hikers say they don’t do such foolish things now which after all is but an evasive way of admitting that they don’t possess the requisite skill and courage and that the romance and daring of the old days is dead.
It is fine to ride across the continent now in a luxurious automobile but it was the old timers with their covered wagons and with rifle in hand who first crossed the plains and blazed the way.
Nuf’ sed for this time.
Shappy’s Stories IBEW Journal May 1929
At this time of writing Local No. 230’s outlook for the summer is very encouraging. Since we have succeeded in organizing the inside wiremen a closed shop agreement with a substantial increase in wages has been signed up by the inside wiring contractors and nearly every meeting sees new members being initiated.
When things are going smoothly members begin to lose interest and the result is poor attendance at the meetings. Local No.230 suffers like all other locals in this respect and in order to try to remedy this state of affairs a motion is before the house to raise the dues two bits a month, any member attending one meeting a month to have this amount refunded to him. This motion seems to be gathering a lot of electricity, or maybe it’s only static.The final reading takes place at our next regular meeting and when the motion is declared open for discussion we expect some of our budding young orators will make the Kilkenny Cats look like pikers. If this motion passes it will mean a lot more work for our financial secretary, Brother Reid, and he doesn’t seem to be very enthusiastic about taking on any more weight.
Not long ago an old timer was speaking about the long hours and low wages which were prevalent in the early days before the workers were organized and what a wonderful change for the better has taken place since the IBEW has arisen to curb the greed of the monopolies, and he also spoke of the great protection afforded by the old age pension, but believed that any hiker who reached the age of 65 would not have long to enjoy it, he would just have time to realize that he had got there when pop, and out would go all the lights.
As we understand it, the funds available for the pension would not permit the age limit to be lower at the time it was instituted, but now that it has been tried out,would its financial success warrant a lowering of the limit anywhere from one to five years? This is a question we hope to see brought up at the next convention. A real estate deal has forced the Trades and Labour Council out of their old quarters but they have succeeded in leasing another suitable building and are endeavoring to get as many locals as possible to take up their quarters with them, justly believing that it will mean a strengthening of the bonds to have as many locals as possible meet under the same roof. Local 230, favoring this movement, has rented a hall from them and will meet there in the future.
The fine weather prevailing will soon see the heavy gang starting their favorite pastime, barnyard golf. The two leading players of last season, Messrs. Peck and Bawl, so-called from their habit of pecking at and bawling out their opponents, are already begining to handle their pet shoes lovingly.
Baseball too is in evidence, and the noon hour seldom passes without seeing a group of spectators watching Brother Chief Big Smoke Meldram in pop-eyed amazement as he takes the kinks out of his mighty right arm and throws smoking, corkscrew curves to Brother Tyrus C. Downs, who handles them with the studied nonchalance of a big leaguer. We will surely lose these two Brothers if any major league scout gets his eye on them.
Shappy’s Stories- Journal March 1929
With the new officers duly installed and the preliminairy work completed, Local No. 230 is well away to a good a good start for the year 1929. Due to his untiring efforts, our worthy business agent, Brother Reid has been successful in organizing the inside wiremen and many new members were added to the strength of the local, following which a closed shop agreement was drafted and presented to the electrical contractors, and at our last regular meeting, held on Febuary 19, Brother Reid was able to announce that this agreement had been signed by nearly all of the contractors, and they in turn, through the association to which they belong, are endeavoring to pass a bill through the legislature which in effect will eliminate the curbstoners.
After the business of the evening was concluded the much talked of smoker took place. As high class artists in the catering line our committee, Brothers Tonman, Casey and Haines, have no equals, and soon the air was blue with smoke, and, as if by magic, a bottle of the beverage that has made Victoria famous, appeared at every Brother’s elbow accompanied by sandwiches galore, and then a community sing followed, the music being furnished by one of our new members at the pianoand Brother Billy Davidson with his cornet. Brother Mat Bawl rendered a song in his usual pleasing manner. Dancing followed, and soon the floor was alive with whirling couples, and the way our hikers acquitted themselves in the terpsichorean art was a revelation.
Our genial stock keeper, Bob Harrison, was present by special invitation, and not to be outdone by the others, he grabbed the slim form of Brother Cross in his portly embrace and they circled the floor in so graceful a manner that had it been witnessed by some of our leading theatrical magnates would have won them a headline, signed-up contract on the spot. Among a number of our old timers at present in the local is Brother Jack Cameron, who at one time earned a place for himself in the fistic arena, and has more than once won fast climbing contests against all competitors.
He made the world’s record about 1904, or thereabouts, while in Local No. 104, Boston. The time was 161/4 seconds and was made in competition with Macdonald of New York at Glass Pt., Mahant Beach. Brother Cameron wishes to know, through the Worker, whether his record still stands, or if broken since, by whom, and what was the time?
The dancing was kept up to the wee sma’ hours and no one really knows when the gathering did break up, the boys just drifted away, one at a time until there was no one left but the catering committee.
Shappy’s stories IBEW Journal Dec.1928
I have always been much interested in games of skill and chance, especially of those which were prevalent among the natives of this island in it’s early history, some of which are still in vogue among rapidly dwindling remnants of those once proud and warlike tribes. The great poet Longfellow describes the origin of one of these games in his poem, “The Song of Hiawatha”, as follows:
Thus he taught the game of hazard,
Thus displayed it and explained it,
Running through it’s various changes,
Various chances, various meanings;
All the old men and the young men,
Played for dresses, weapons, wampum,
Played ’till midnight, played ’till morning.
One bright sunny day a few years ago my vocation had taken me along a beautiful winding road near the sea some distance from the city of Victoria.
The sun had reached the meridian and on looking at my time piece, a well known standard make noted for its accuracy, I perceived that the hands had stood exactly at twelve o’clock and even as I looked I heard the faint tones of the City Hall clock chiming the hour which showed that the two synchronized, which spoke much for the accuracy of the latter.
Close by stood a large empty house with a spacious porch which offered a quiet retreat for me in which to eat my frugal lunch while perusing a small treatise on ancient Greek philosophy, written by the learned Dr. Dryasdust which I brought with me. But my plans were doomed to disapointment for just as I had sat down in a comfortable position a large chariot resplendent in colors of scarlet and gold came speeding up in a cloud of dust, stopped suddenly, and like a volcano in eruption vomited out a half dozen or more lusty warriors.
The dark color of their faces caused me at first to think they were on the war path but on closer inspection I found that this dusky hue was due to the abscence of rain.
Throwing off heavy, leather belts which held their tomahawks, scalping knives and other weapons of offence and defence they did not remove the climbing irons which were strapped to their legs and used for the purpose of ascending and descending the wooden poles which serve to carry electric wires.
I now saw that they were of the class of workers known as linemen. In return for doing “light services” they were allowed to make bi-monthly raids on the treasury of the Benevolent Utility Company by whom they were employed.
Hastily bolting their lunches they all repaired to the porch where I was sitting. Their Chief, a tall, saturnine individual with whom I was slightly aquainted, nodded to me.
I was much interested in the proceedings which followed.
They all knelt down in a circle and one of the warriors produced a couple of small, highly polished ivory cubes upon the sides of which were inscribed certain cabilistic signs.
At a command from their Chief each one deposited a coin of the realm in the center of the circle, this was called a pot but the term is misleading for at no time during the game was such a utensil visible. After each had contributed to the so-called pot the one with the cubes rubbed them vigorously between his palms, blew his breath upon them and then calling out the name of a heathen goddess, “Snake-eyed Annie,” cast them forth upon the floor.
As soon as they came to rest all gazed eagerly at the signs uppermost. The first thrower was unsuccessful and he passed the cubes on to his neighbor on the right.
The Chief called out “fattenerup.” an Indian word unknown to me but which resulted in each man adding another coin to the pot.
`The next thrower, a tall handsome warrior named melancholy now cast the cubes while calling out “Box Cars.” Evidently his totem was strong as the signs on the cubes denoted the number seven and he immediately took possession of the contents of the pot amid the doleful wails of his companions.
I now perceived that the lucky numbers in this game appeared to be seven followed in the next throw by eleven.
After the pot had been replenished Melancholy cast the cubes again but this time was unsuccessful so he handed the cubes to his neighbor, a dark haired, black eyed warrior by the name of Comealong.
The pot was again replenished and Comealong in pathetic tones informed his totem that “Baby wants a new pair of shoes,” but the throw was also unsuccessful which so enraged him that he dashed the cubes violently on the ground, arose and stalked away uttering words which I shall not repeat.
The next warrior by name “Pierce Eye” made his throw while calling on a totem by the name “Ruddy-headed Jehu” and was unsuccessful, and so the game went on with varying success until the Chief, pulling out a large brass timepiece, announced one o’clock whereupon they all arose, were swallowed up by the red volcano and whirled away leaving me alone to ponder on the pomps and vanities of this wicked world.
Since that time by the strenuous efforts of zealous missionaries the tribe has been persuaded to forswear this ancient game and are now investing their wealth largely in mining stock of the “panther class.”
Shappy’s stories IBEW Journal April 1928
With her newly installed officers working in harmony, very little unemployment existing among us and the sun shining down upon us in benediction. Local 230 seems to be well away on the new year.
After business had been disposed of in the regular course at our last regular meeting the long-talked of smoker took place. Not wishing to get my slats caved in I waited until the mad rush up the narrow stairway was over before going up.The attendance was-well you all know what the attendance is like at a smoker. Some of them had to inquire the way to the hall. Brothers Tonman, Casey, and Ball were the refreshment committee and may their names be carved in large letters in the hall of fame for the effecient manner in which they performed their duties in providing for the wants of the inner man.
Tempting plates of viands disappeared like magic, due to the fact that hikers do not chew their food, they simply bolt it. The smokes were all that could be desired and the liquid refreshments were of the brand that has made Canada famous.
After I had absorbed a small quantity of the latter a dreamy feeling of contentment stole over me.I sat back in my chair and listened to the pleasant gurgling sound all around me and through the haze of smoke saw the beaming countenances of my dear Brothers all registering bliss and contentment and I said to myself, “surely this is a land flowing with milk and honey!” and my thoughts went out in heart felt sympathy to those poor Brothers whose fate it is to live in the dry, arid regions which lie to the south of us.
We were pleased to have Brother Teddie Morrison, business agent of Local 213, with us and I will say that he did full justice to the occasion. Brother Norway, of ski-jumping fame, gave an exhibition of sleight-of-hand work with the paste boards which aroused mingled feelings of admiration and envy from some of the members.
To the music of the piano a group gathered around and sang ” The road to Tipperary” with voices which lacked nothing in volume, the high mellow tenor of Brother Casey being heard above all others. Brother Mickie O’Brien, our celebrated raconteur, told several stories in his inimitable manner.
Brother Quist had a far away look in his eyes as if he were thinking of the days when his ancestors used to don their armor, grab their trusty battle-axe and go out and get anything they wanted. The gathering did not break up until the wee small hours of the morning.
I visited Brother Max Winkler and Robert Baxter. They are sure making a long, hard fight against sickness. Some of us older members have had similair experience through accidents and know of sleepless nights and dreary days, so do not forget, Brothers, to visit the sick and cheer them up.
Shappy’s stories IBEW Journal Feb.1928
Though not often heard from, Local No. 230 is still on the map. Nineteen hundred and twenty-seven was a fairly successful year with the members employed on the B.C. Electric Railway Co., all members having steady employment, but the phone employees saw fit to drop out and take up the company agreement, though quite a number of the older men are keeping their cards paid up in the IBEW.
The officers for the new year have all been installed and the rank and file will consider that this performance being over it will not be necessary for them to attend any more meetings until something impotant crops up, like the next smoker. Better come early Brother and avoid the rush.
The inside wiremen’s situation is not very satisfactory at the present time. Our energetic business agent, Brother Reid, has has been making strenuous efforts to get the boys lined up and a new agreement signed up and we hope to be able to make a better report in the future.
The weather this winter has not been quite as good as usual but at that there been very few days when the hikers did not get in full time and not many noon hours when the horseshoe champions did not get out and do their stuff and, believe me, they are some artists. Two of them are perfect exponents of the control of mind over matter. They pitch a shoe to a point directly over the stake, where it stops for a moment and then flutters gently down for a perfect ringer.
The love light shining in the eyes of Brother Sid. Neville, a tall, handsome young hiker, who hails from Saskatchewan, is quite noticeable, so I guess “it won’t be very long now.”
Shappy’s stories IBEW Journal Jan. 1927
Living in our little island home so peaceful and undisturbed we are apt to forget all about the busy outside world, if it were not for our energetic business agent, Brother Reid, going around pounding non-attending members of meetings on their ivories with a bladder full of beans to make them think there is a thunderstorm on, they would forget that Local 230 was in existance.
The B.C. Electric Co. have signed up a closed shop agreement for another year and all members are working. Conditions among the inside wiremenare not so good but Brother Reid, following the lead of Local 213, of Vancouver, who have been successful in signing up all the large shops at an increased wage, is endeavoring to remedy this state of affairs.
One thing that keeps Victria on the map is the “spirit” of the place. All last summer down south of the line along the coast there seems to have been a very large number of people suffering from snake bites. Now this “spirit” of Victoria, besides being known as one of the best antidotes for snake bites, is also noted for its great success in cheering up the most pessimistic individuals who partake of it and transforming them into rosy-faced optimists. Strange to say Uncle Sam has made it illegal for any of this antidote to be imported into the U.S. thereby forcing poor sufferers to come all the way up here to save their lives.
You can see all classes of professional men, grave and dignified, looking as if they never smiled, who as soon as they land here, march straight up to the dispensary which our benevolent government, out of the goodness of its heart, has seen fit to establish, and after having imbibed a quantity of this famous beverage immediately become changed individuals. Gone is all their haughty reserve as they slap each other on the shoulders saying, “How are you, Bill, old boy?” and they will talk to passers by in a real human manner and their whole appearance seems to change.
From the long, lean Ancient Mariner type they had become stout and jolly with mysterious proturbences appearing on their persons. I think that one of the most sorrowful tragedies that ever happened took place last summer, when a whole boat load of sufferers landed here and secured a bountiful supply of gloom chasers to take back with them, but on boarding the boat to return, some black-hearted individuals in the guise of U.S. Government officials, in spite of their wails of distress, forced them to throw the whole stock overboard. Their next visit will probably be in a submarine.
Thanks, Brother Andy, of Tacoma, for your kindly mention of my little burst into the realms of poetry. It is my first offence and is partly accounted for by the fact that I have temporary possession of the ancient and only typewriter which this local possesses.
Shappy’s stories IBEW Journal January 1926
The holding of the last convention in Seattle has had a far-reaching effect along the pacific coast, and has resulted in the breaking up of the apathy which existed to a more or less extent in the ranks of our Brotherhood.
A wave of enthusiasm has followed in its wake which even touched us in our island home especially after the honour of a fleeting visit by our grand officers and numerous delegates.
Our worthy business agent, Brother Reid, who attended the convention as our delegate, was much impreesed with the wisdom and despatch with which affairs of much importance to the Brotherhood were disposed of and we are greatly indebted to him for his clear-cut, comprehensive report of the same.
Its results were seen at our last regular meeting when Bro. “Come-along” Casey took the floor and in a voice trembling with emotion, passionately demanded of the president, the members present and the world at large, why had Local 230 never had a letter in the Worker. He immediately moved, seconded by Bro.”Give Adam” Utterback, that the recording secretary be appointed press secretary with instructions to have a letter in the next issue. The motion carried unanimously, and so in the words of the immortal six hundred,
“mine not to reason why.
mine but to do and die.”
and this the result.
Life on our island has some striking advantages. For instance, it is still possible to pick berries, flowers and get vegetables out of our gardens, and our rainfall is about half of that on the mainland.
Certain oldtimers like the writer will not forget the harrowing experiences of years ago, pulling slack in theheavy, old-fashioned phone leads, working ten hours a day with tempature below zero. But we have our disadvantages here too.
A few years ago some of our floating brothers blew in and being successful in getting a job immediately bought a houseboat located on the shore of the inner harbour and proceeded to keep “batch”. However, they found out at times when taking Scott’s Emulsion for toothache or on the day after payday when it was there duty to take a copious quantity of antidote for snake bites down in Mexico, that they ran in great danger of drowning, so they all bought cork life belts and donned them on such occasions which lightened the labours of the salvage men.
One dark night however, one of our brothers stole down and cut them adrift. In the morning the waterfront woke up to a noise like that coming from a circus menagerie before breakfast, and an old longshoreman beholding them said, ” Well, I be darned, if there isn’t old Noah with his ark full of wild animals.”
Things are rather quite here but all our members seem to be working.
Brother Brown is able to walk around again after having a hand and foot broken by a pole falling with him while working on it.
Brother Beaton is still unable to work because of sickness, but we all hope to see him in better health before long.
The rest of us are undergoing a course of training so that we will be able to justify our reputation as trencherman in the coming festivities, so I will close, Mr. Editor, by wishing you, the Grand Officers and Brothers the compliments of the season.