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12,000 Men

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This powerful documentary brings alive the brave story of Cape Breton's union struggles in the coal and steel industries from the 1890s through the labour wars of the 1920s.

The fight for decent wages and improved working conditions took on an urgency when the British Empire Steel Corporation, or BESCO, bought every single steel and coal company in Nova Scotia. When the Montreal-based company cut wages by a third, a long and bitter dispute began. The lockouts, picket lines and strikes were finally ended by brute force when provincial police and federal troops were sent in. The mine owners, however, were ultimately forced to recognize the union.

This film combines vintage footage, photographs, drawings and interviews with men and women who were actually in the pits and on the front lines. These Cape Bretoners speak of the hardship and brief victories of the coal miners and their families--people who COULD stand the gaff!

1978, 34 min 27 s

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Golden Sheaf Award - Category: Best Documentary Film
Yorkton Film Festival
November 12 to 17 1979, Yorkton - Canada