Ina silent protest dozens turned their backs on Liberal MLA and provincial cabinet minister Geoff MacLellan during yesterday’s ceremony commemorating William Davis Miners’ Memorial Day in Glace Bay, reported CBC’s Tom Ayers.
“The miners, the spouses and community members who turned their backs on a Liberal MLA were only following in the footsteps of the miners and their families of 1925,” writes CBRM Councillor Kendra Coombes in a Facebook post in the miners’ defense that she kindly allowed us to share here.
I feel the need to write this before I see a post shaming the silent protest and calling it inappropriate. Warning, it is long but it needs to be said.
The only reason we have Davis Day is because of the strike of 1925. The miners at that time saw their wages drop significantly and their hours of work increase and they protested unsafe work conditions. BESCO was also trying to bust the union (UMWA). When the workers fought back BESCO cut off credit to company stores and then proceeded to cut off the Town of New Waterford and District’s water and electricity. Over several months the miners and their families endured these hardships to ensure proper pay and hours, safe working conditions and protection for workers within the union. They stood the Gaff. The miners, the spouses and community members who turned their backs on a Liberal MLA were only following in the footsteps of the miners and their families of 1925.
On a personal note, I was shocked by the rhetoric coming out of the MLA’s mouth regarding how important Davis Day is when it is his government that is trying to bust unions across Nova Scotia, making it difficult for government employees to earn a living wage when they are freezing wages, creating unsafe working conditions and the list goes on. His government is not honouring what William Davis died for and what the 1925 striking miners and their families fought for and sacrificed for. In fact, his government is doing exactly what the 1925 miners fought against.
Never forget the true meaning of Davis Day and the strike of 1925. Never forget the resistance put up by the community at that time and during the years that followed. Never forget our communities of New Waterford, Scotchtown, River Ryan, Lingan and New Victoria which stood the Gaff to ensure better pay and hours, safer working conditions and the protection of the UMWA.
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