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Author Topic: 04/08/2005: "Women into Steel"
audra trower williams
Babbler # 2

posted 09 April 2005 03:16 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Rosemary Ray wrote me about her experience in the Women into Steel campaign and sent a fabulous photo of the 1981 strike, which I will upload above if the program allows me.

I wanted to comment on Debbie Field’s contribution “Women of Steel” which is part of the “Closing the Wage Gap” chapter in the book (Ten Thousand Roses). I, along with Debbie, and many other women was part of the Women Back Into Stelco Campaign in 1978 –79. I was one of the first women to be hired in Stelco’s Open Hearth furnace since the WWII. My job as a furnace helper was to wield a 20 foot-long thermometer and place it into molten steel in the furnace. It wasn’t ready to pour until it reached 5,000 degrees fahrenheit!

As a result of our challenge to Stelco’s sexist hiring practices women were hired at Stelco and learned the different skills involved in steel-making which included furnace and crane operators, machinists, welders and truck drivers. We were taught these jobs by our male co-workers in the plant who showed us how to work competently and safely. We gained the skills necessary to hold onto our jobs. It boosted our confidence to be part of producing thousands of tons of steel! There’s just something about seeing a woman place explosives into the back belly of the furnace and blow a hole, to the exact dimensions necessary, to make the molten steel flow out that just makes you feel strong, proud and equal!

Great entry here.

From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged

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