Film: 5542

Industry + Work | 1950 | Sound | B/W


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This film deals with a strike and industrial action with the trade unions of a furniture factory in Canada during the 1950's. Dialogue in Canadian French.

Opening scene of large four storey factory at night, taken from outside. Next we see shots of various parts of the interior of the furniture factory, men and machines making tables, chairs etc. Next we see finishing, smoothing and varnishing. Next shot is of a clock in large official building. Midnight strikes and we see the workers stopping work. In the next scene we are in the office of the mayor. He is discussing the strike at the factory with two men, one from the unions and the other from management. The mayor suggests compromise. Next scene is in a sunny street in a Canadian town. Cars of the 1950's. Move to pedestrians stopping and talking, then to street of small suburban houses. Next an interior shot, two couples finishing a meal and discussing the strike. In the next scene there is a brief shot of the factory by daylight and then inside the workers gather at an informal meeting to discuss the strike. Next in the office of the manager two men enter to speak to him. Next we are in a meeting of all the workers. General discussion, two questions are pay and seniority. Next scene is in a living room. Middle-aged women and her daughter discuss the strike. Husband and son-in-law return. In the boardroom of the company, directors assemble for meeting. Next in a good restaurant the manager and a colleague discuss the strike. Next, a large Christmas party for children of the workers organised by the Union. Santa Claus hands out presents then is called into a room backstage to discuss a message from the management. He returns to the hall to conduct carols. Back in suburban house, young couple discuss the strike in front of a Christmas tree. Next scene is again a meeting of workers. After speeches a formal ballot is taken. Strike is approved by 105 to 38. Next, two workers in cheap cafe discuss the result. Back in manager's office, he discusses situation with his deputy. Latter suggests an improved offer but boss in agreeing says "We're playing our last card." Next we're in a quiet street again, not much traffic, few people. Everyone is talking of the strike, in homes, bars, shops, hairdressers. Headline in local paper "Strike at midnight". back in mayor's office he dictates statement to reporter.
In strike, the men prepare banners and posters. Subdued atmosphere. "John Brown's Body" is sung. Leader appeals for calm and no violence during the demonstration. Another brief scene with mayor and some others ??? Next strikers are seen standing outside factory. Midnight strikes on same clock as before. Inside, workers gather for another meeting but an official of the union takes a telephone call. A compromise has been reached and the strike is called off.
Strikers file out, dumping their banners, then clock on for work. Two union leaders talk on the stairs as they leave. Final scene is from outside the factory. All lights are on and work has been resumed.

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