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By View From Falling Downs
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Whatever happened to Lackie Brothers?

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I served time at the Lackie Brothers shop in Kitchener back in the day.

We were in the International Brotherhood of Iron-workers, Shopmen’s Division.
That “Shopmen’s Division” was often referred to as the “n-word Division,” although at the time, folks actually said the word.
Not that there were any people of colour in the shop, but we considered ourselves n-words because we got about half the hourly rate of the glamour guys who went out on the high steel.
Lackie Brothers was a going concern, and they had big contracts moving machinery into the Bruce Nuclear complex near Tiverton. They did all kinds of millwrighting work and machinery moving. It was actually not a bad gig.
They had a few old Germans on the shop floor. These were guys who learned the trade in the old country. They also learned subservience to authority in the old country. I saw an old dude in tears because he’d asked for time off to attend his grand-daughter’s birthday party, and was told no.
Anybody brought up here wouldn’t even think about asking permission. You’d just call in sick.
The shop steward was an affable dude. He had a cream job building the heavy-haul floats that Lackie Brothers built in-house. He’d be hours with the rose-bud on those I-beams trying to get the right arc into them. At the time, that was more art than science, and you could pretty much fandangle the process out indefinitely. So Buddy the union boss wrote his own overtime ticket and made out like a bandit.
Which probably made him less than enthusiastic when I came whining about an outside guy working in the shop.
They needed some columns for a project ASAP, and sent a Ironworker from the job site to get the job done. I’m welding the connector plates to one end, and the outside guy is welding them to the other end.
The “Shopmens Local” Ironworker is welding his end of the column for $12/hr.
The regular Ironworker at the other end of the column is doing the same job for $20/hr.
Anyway, it was a decent gig. But they seem to be gone…
Whatever happened to Lackie Brothers?


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