Credits: BAnQ Rouyn-Noranda, Comité du 50e anniversaire de Rouyn-Noranda funds, interview series. 08Y,P34,S2,P59.
Photo caption: Two miners using mechanical drills in a Horne mine roadway.
Photo credits: BAnQ Rouyn-Noranda, Canadien National funds. 08Y,P213,P468.
Interviewer: And then you started working at the mine in 1931. Can you tell us how it was, working in mines, at that time? What was the job like?
Rémi Jodouin: First of all, I did not start working at Noranda mine in 1931, I started working at Arnfield Mine that year. And well, the working tools we had were quite primitive. We only had the bare minimum. And it was only development, no production yet. It was called a “mine prospect”. And I had to work very hard and it was very competitive. Plenty of people were waiting for a job. Some people, by no means all of them, were particularly heartless. As someone who weighed 130 lbs, I remember working with another guy who weighed 225 lbs, and he tried to get me killed to come off as the better man.”
Interviewer: At what time did you start in the morning?
Rémi Jodouin: We would start at 7 AM and we had a 30 minutes lunch break and we were supposed to end our shift at 3 PM. But when the work was not done yet, our rounds we would say, when we hadn’t finished drilling all the holes needed for blasting, well, we had to do overtime, which was off the books and unpaid. They would have us believe that it took us that long because we didn’t have enough experience.
Interviewer: At that time, there was no protection for mine workers, right?
Rémi Jodouin: Well, the only protection we had was to do as much work as possible so that we be recognized as an “exclusive employee”, which gave us an edge over the work-shy, let’s say.
Interviewer: So it was a competition?
Rémi Jodouin: It was total competition!