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Scanned by Dick Chenault
Edited by Dick Chenault
AN 84 YEAR OLD SCOTCH AND GERMAN COAL MINE OPERATOR DESCRIBES SOME OF THE PROBLEMS FACED BY MANAGEMENT IN THE EARLY YEARS.
I remember dad on the day he died. He said to me, “George, I hate to leave. You're pretty young to take the responsibility. You want to be careful.” That was the day before he died.
I finally got along with the old fellows. I agreed with them on a lot of things. I had to fire a couple of them after I was there a while. Playing their old tricks, you know. It took me six months to find out what they were doing. Nobody would tell you anything. It was a matter of one miner wouldn't tell on another one. Now one of the big tricks was brushing. I don't know if you know what brushing was. That was taking the rock off the bottom so you had more height in the room. Well, they paid the miner so much a yard naturally. Well, it showed that they paid him yardage for a hundred feet which amounted to quite a lot of money. And I got to check it up with the engineers. I got my own engineers that happened to be friends of mine. I said, “Doggone. These maps. I just don't get them. I go back and go over the monthly report. It says over here that they went two hundred yards, but I don't see that on the map.” “Well,” he says, “Then they didn't go.” I said, “What's wrong?” He says, “Well, there's somebody getting. . .there's some crookedness someplace.” Up to that time, the pit boss would take the measurements or the Superintendent. I said, “Well, we'll change that. You take your own measurements.” What they had been doing was you probably had actually taken only 50 feet instead of the hundred feet that they had gotten paid for. But that other, that you didn't do, that you got paid for, you split that with the Superintendent. All right, that was one of the first tricks.
It was a heck of a job, you know, to kick these guys out. Some of them had been with the company for several years. Well, you know they tried to get me, too. After I got the job of General Manager, my wife said, “You know we got several turkeys here.” So I said, “Where did they come from?” “Well, so—and—so from Gordon's Superintendent sent these.” Pretty soon we had pigeons, we had fish. I said, “We can't eat all that. What the heck?” So I told them, “You guys quit sending stuff out. We don't want it. There's only the wife and I there.” And that's the way they tried to have something on me, see. So if I'd catch them, I'd go ahead and get them. It was hard. Some of those Superintendents had worked for them for years. They were friends. They knew he was busy and all that, and he was depending on them. They'd take advantage. Then, of course, we had no Unions at that time. The Union wasn't ahead then.
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