“Pulpwood”- A.N.D Company Film From 1957

I posed this on Facebook a while back, but I finally got around to making a Youtube channel and posted it on there.

Once again, special thanks to Carolyn Atkinson from CBC, who tracked this down for me.

Enjoy!

3 comments

  1. Loved it. I worked in the data processing dept from 1966 to 1971. If there was a boat in Botwood we had to work to make sure that every roll that went aboard was accounted for.

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  2. Thank you for posting video this Bryan. By 1956 the loggers were dissolutioned with the Newfoundland Lumbermens (aka Loggers) Association who were unable to negoitate wages and camp conditions to their satifaction. This video would be labeled “fake news” today. It was a public relations attempt to preclude the complaints of the loggers before the public became aware of the real camp conditions and lack of nutritious food. Most A N D company loggers were very disatisfied with wages and camp condition by 1957 and the unrest was building. The annual averge of $357MM in ecconomic value paid out over a 50 year period claimed in this video ($7.1 mm average per year) was less than the equalization payments from Ottawa that began in that same year – 1957. Despite controlling almost 80% of the provincal forests, the pulp and paper industry failed to ever fulfil its promise of bringing a “national prosperity”.

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    • This is pure Company P.R, no doubt about it, actually an early effort to counter the efforts of the IWA. There are so many facets to examine when talking about the prelude to the IWA Strike.

      By 1956 not only were loggers becoming at bit disillusioned with the NLA, but Joe Thompson was also looking to retire. And he wanted to be taken care of in his retirement. The NLA was also having to affiate with a National Union. Plus, I believe the Woods Labour Board, had or was dissolving.

      AND Company camps would have run the gamut at that point, but by and large they were better than most of the camps operated by contractors working for Bowaters. This was evident in the Royal Commission that was done in the wake of the Strike.

      The picture in the Bowaters woods was much more complicated, with loggers working mostly for private contractors and represented by 2 or 3 different unions-this is part of the reasoning behind the formation of the Woods Labour Board in 1940. So it was much easier to take collective action where loggers were represented by one union and worked mostly in Company camps.

      Company camps were by no means perfect, but by the late 1950’s there was nobody sleeping on boughs in a camp with dirt floors. Food was a huge issue in the strike, it was still monotonous and rough, but it was much the same in many outport and logging communities. Food had been really bad back during the War and the 1930’s. Though loggers were generally earning more during the war, the shortages meant that sometimes the diet left much to be desired.

      The pulp and paper companies contributed quite a lot to the economy, especially in the first six decades of the 20th Century. There is no doubt they were given sweetheart deals, but realistically what was the alternative?-nothing. As much as we all love this province, there is a proven track record, that it can be often difficult for any industry to make a go of it, and as early as 1930 the Grand Falls Mill was in fact, in danger of closing in favor of other Harmsworth controlled interests in Canada.

      After the 60’s less and less people were employed in the mills and in the woods. Then the paper companies seemed to have been continuously looking for handouts to keep their operations viable.

      When the Grand Falls mill closed in 2009 it was no longer even the biggest employer in Grand Falls-Windsor. Had the mill been forced to close in 1960 (a company ploy really, I believe newsprint markets were booming at that time), the closure would have devastated the area.

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