At the last regular meeting of the Almonte Public Utilities Commission, held Thursday night, Oct. 31, several of the employees were granted small pay increases. In a letter sent to the Commission about, two months ago, the three operators at the generating plant— Messrs. Wm. McClymont, Duncan Forgie and O. L. James asked for more remuneration. They based their plea on the fact they had never been given any more money through the years and that the cost of living was advancing since war broke out.
The rate of pay received by these men worked out at 30 cents an hour for an eight hour day, seven days a week. This meant a weekly salary of $16.80. The superintendent of the system, Mr. Edgar Lee received $28 a week; his assistant, Mr. Prank Honeyborne, $25 a week; the secretary, who has charge of accounting and collections, $22.50 a week. When this question first came before the Commission, Mr. James Edmonds, representative of the Mayor on the Board, felt that the request of the men should receive favorable consideration. He offered a motion to that effect but was blocked by the chairman, Dr. A. A. Metcalfe, who demanded that notice of motion be given. This was done.
When the matter came up on the night of Thursday, Oct. 31st, Dr. Metcalfe was absent. In support of his application for an increase, Mr. Lee urged the same reasons as the operators, as did Mr. Honeybome. Mr. Kelly took the same stand but added that since the imposition of a Federal tax on electric power, the duties of his office had been increased considerably—-so much so, that he had to do quite a bit of overtime for which he received no monetary consideration.
After a good deal of discussion it was decided to give Mr. Lee and Mr. Kelly a dollar a week more plus five percent of their former salary. Mr. Honeybourne’s request was not entertained. The three operators were allowed a five per cent increase on what they were getting, but were not given any straight raise such as the dollar added in the case of two employees above mentioned. The result of this concession on the part of the commission, as it worked out for the three men in the generating plant who had asked for 35 cents an hour instead of 30 cents, was almost amusing if it was so insignificant. It meant that instead of receiving $16.80 a week, they will get $17.63—-an increase, of a fraction under 1 1-2 cents an hour, or to put it otherwise 83 cents a week.
Naturally, the consensus of opinion among the three operators, who work eight hours;a day, seven days a week, is that the commissioners might better have rejected their application than insulted them. How the Minimum Wage Board of Ontario would view remuneration paid to these men, in view of the hours they work, is a point that raises interesting speculation. In view of the magnanimous action of the commission the three power house operators have concluded that so far as they are concerned, Santa Claus visited them almost two months earlier than usual
Nov 7 1940- Almonte Gazette