The Strike of '62: historic run comes to end
Small city weekly left to break the story four days laterOn June 4, 1962, a strike by mechanical department workers (printers, pressman, linotype operators, etc.) caused the Record to stop publication for the first time since its founding. The story of the strike was left to the weekly Sherbrooke Telegram-Observer, a small publication associated with the English-language radio station CKTS. The weekly gave some of the history of the Record, and went on at length to deplore the situation. Some excerpts:
...Many families throughout the region have regarded the Record as their "family newspaper," and as such have continued as regular and faithful subscribers since the paper's first edition, looking forward each day to receiving their own copy to keep them posted on current events, here and abroad. In many homes, the Record has become an unbroken tradition handed down from father to son...Clippings of family mementoes, the breaking or binding of ties, the births, anniversaries and other 'personal' events have been treasured in family albums over the years...It is "like a friend who suddenly departs from our midst" and who would be welcomed back with open arms and cries of joy...It is hoped that the toast "Long Live The Record," heard at the paper's Diamond Jubilee in 1957, may once again be echoed 'round the Townships to the glory and satisfaction of the English-speaking citizens who have long looked upon it as their "daily guide," and to which they are rightfully entitled in this free and democratic world.The mechanical department was the only part of the Record that was unionized, and none of us had any experience with strikes. Non-union people were expected to cross picket lines and show up at their offices, which we did uneasily, though there was little to do. At first, the pickets were just the people we knew in the "backshop," and the atmosphere was civil. But after a few days, strangers began to show up on the lines, and they were rude and rough.
Our mechanical department union was affiliated with the Quebec labor organization, the CNTU (Confederation of National Trade Unions), which had a reputation for toughness. The "strangers" were apparently people from this organization, helping to man the picket line in support of the Record strikers. At one point, a truck tried to deliver a load of newsprint rolls to the Record building. It was blocked; there was a scuffle; blows were struck and the truck attacked. Police had to be called to keep the peace. No one was hurt, and there was no great damage, but most non-striking employees were told to stay home after that.
The strike was not a long one, and a settlement was eventually neogiated, but the relationship between the mechanical department and owner John Bassett Jr. was never quite the same as it had been.
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Page created Spring 1999. Last updated Apr. 8, 2006