Chapter 18: Butler Metals

I guess I should speak here to the supervisor of the tool room from when I was hired on and for many years afterwards  Wib Wilkins, the tool room foreman was well respected especially by the tool and die makers and also by management.  When I started at Butlers, Wib was about 40 years of age. Wib was a big fella over six foot tall. Hence the nickname that he had ” The Moose”.

The Moose was a no-nonsense type of guy. Even tho’ he was pretty intelligent he did not always make the smartest moves. Also, he was not beyond giving you shit. Having said that, once he had blasted you he was quite likely to take you to the cafeteria and buy you a coffee.

At one time a surgeon told Wib that he wanted to remove one of Wibs arms. I guess  Wib told him ” Go fuck yourself’ because he still has two arms.

There were many other caricatures at Butlers I’m going to write the lowdown on some of them.

One of the in-plant union Reps was a fellow called Ozzie Osborn His first name was Barkley but he went by the name of Ozzie. For many years he planted chairman. Which means that he was the main union man within the plant. Hence his title was Plant Chairman…

A short while after I was elected President of the local UAW 1780. Ozzie and I were one Friday morning heading up to the Union Camp at Port  Elgin for the weekend.  I had never been there before and as a new Local President, it was to be my first trip to the UAW Port Elgin union camp. which at that time was under the name UAW.

So as Ozzie had been to Port Elgin many times before, we took his car, with him driving. after we had been driving for about 2 hours, I started to notice places that I had been to before.  The only problem being they were in Kitchener. which is the city adjacent to Cambridge. So I said to Ozzie,

“Ozzie, we have been driving for two hours and I know where I am .! Pull the fucking car over at that garage Which he did and I went in and bought a map of Ontario. I went back to the car and said.

” Ozzie we are in fucking Kitchener and after 2 hours of driving about 5 kilometres from where we started. “So move the fuck over, I’m driving. So he moved over and I slid behind the steering wheel. This time we got to Port Elgin in about two hours or so and Ozzie was quite happy to sit in the passengers’ seat drinking beer and tossing the empties out of the car window into the ditch as we went along. I said to Ozzie if we come here again I’m driving.”

So the second time we went to the UAW Camp at Port Elgin.  once we got there  on Friday,  we found out that  weekend was set up to learn Labour laws and to learn about  Health and Safety  in the Work Place

. So over the weekend, there were relevant classes to go to.  That evening after supper we sat in the bar and shot the breeze. On Saturday we went to various classes. and Saturday night we had a meal and then we all sat in the bar discussing union problems. I went to bed about eleven leaving Ozzie drinking in the bar.    I awoke Sunday morning with no Ozzie in the room. I hunted for him high and low, no Ozzie anywhere. Eventually, I had to leave and return home.

When I got home  I called Ozzie’s house. His wife answered and I asked if Ozzie was there. So she put him on the line. I could not find out how on earth he got back home. But I was glad that he was.

Sometime later I got to the bottom of it. Ozzie, totally drunk, had landed upon the  Port Elgin Beach at 3.a.m. where he was picked up by the police and put in a cell. They phoned his wife who had to drive up to Port Elgin and pick him up and take him home.

One time in Toronto, the union had a convention in a large well-known Hotel. there. So there were various members of local UAW 1780 at the convention. The Local 1780 skilled trades union Rep was in his hotel room when there was a knock on the door. He opens the door and there is Ozzie. So Ozzie walks into the room walks up to the bed, drops his pants. Parks his arse almost in the centre of the bed, and then proceeds to drag his arse across the bedsheet. Leaving a big brown skid mark across the bedsheet. With that, he pulls up his pants and leaves the room. Leaving the stunned Skilled Trades rep. wondering what he was going to tell the woman who makes up the bed.

There was the weird case of one of the production workers on the afternoon shift at Butler Metals. After his shift had finished in the early hours of the morning, he would, on the way home stop by peoples front yards and steal their garden ornaments. These being gnomes frogs and whatever else he could lift.

This continued on until he had 750 ornaments. At that time he had to rent storage space to store them all.

Then came the day that he decided to have a yard sale and had everything laid out in front of his house.  The yard sale was going fine until a fellow cries out.

” That’s my fucking lawnmower !”

And with that, he called the police.

Yes, it had been lifted from his garden.

We had a fellow, Manny in the tool room the would put a cut on the machine and lean his arse against a bar stool and then standing there with arms folded he would nod off.

Well, one afternoon after work. A lot of the employees would head to Kitchener by starting of down Eagle Street towards King Street, then turning right onto hwy eight towards Kitchener.

This particular afternoon,  after the plant had finished working the people that lived in Kitchener left the plant and drove down Eagle Street.  but at the junction of King and Eagle, the traffic was backed up some way back up Eagle Street. On people getting out of their vehicles and investigating they discovered Manny sitting at the lights at King Street, fast asleep behind the steering wheel of his car.

Another guy in the tool room who has to remain anonymous so we’ll call him Fred. Fred had a 26-year-old girlfriend who so happened to work with his wife. Fred at this time was in his early 50’s. So one evening Fred was in his girlfriends’ house banging her. When her father turned up and came up to her bedroom to see her.

Fred heard her father coming upstairs so he hid under the bed, narrowly avoided getting caught.

A few weeks later Fred was banging her again in her bedroom. But before he started he got her to phone her parents to find out where they were.  They were both happy to hear that her mother and father were up north at the family cottage. So he just started on the job there was a ring on the doorbell and he had to hide in the laundry room it was her brother’s fiancee she was calling to see if she wanted to go with her to the movies. She hesitated for a split second and then said no.

So, the girl smelt a rat and said

” What’s up do you have a man up there in your bedroom/?. “and then left.

So Fred said to his girlfriend call her and tell her that you will see her at the movie theatre he was thinking that this would enable him to get laid and then allow him to slip away..  So she arranged to see her friend at the movie theatre a bit later on.

Then after she and Fred had sex she talked Fred into going to the movies with her. Where she met her friend so, she introduced Fred to her friend as her boyfriend. This introduction got back to  Fred’s  daughter who told him in no uncertain terms

”  Dad  This has to stop! otherwise, I’ll tell Mom !”

So that put paid to Fred and his big romance.!

There was a good looking girl who worked in the engineering department at Butler Metals,  who could not read a tape measure or a dial vernier. I always figured that she was hired on because of her looks and along with looks she had a set of big ones. She was later down the road seen in a fogged-up car. In the back seat with a supervisor from Butlers. She would sometimes come up to me in a noisy environment. Knowing that I was completely deaf in my left ear.  this forced her to come and talk to me on my right side. Thereby caucusing her right boob to keep rubbing against my right arm. She didn’t seem to mind and I was not sure as hell going to complain.

One time I realised that she could not understand inches. feet and fractions. So I took her in the tool room office and, having previously rolled up my right sleeve. I then held a chart with fractions on it in my left hand.

I moved the index finger and my right arm, up and down the chart. my right arm rubbing up and down on her left breast.   This went on for five or ten minutes with no complaint from her.  She did not step back.  She just stood her ground and did not move back an inch.

When she finally left the tool room office I was left standing there with a big boner on. But the next day I saw her out in the yard measuring some storage racks and, you guessed it. somebody was holding and reading the tape measure for her.

All in all, Butlers was a really fun place to work. Even tho all these years since the plant has closed if I meet somebody who had worked there no matter who it is, they all say the same thing. Butler was a great place to work.

There was a wag in the tool room he liked to joke around,his name was  Martin. One day the safety truck pulled up in the Butler yard. So he went and bought himself a new pair of safety shoes.

He then cut one the sole of off one of his old safety shoes. and stuck it on the sole of another tool and die who was on the afternoon shift at the time,  who was wearing exactly the same shoe but a size smaller. Once it was glued on you could hardly notice the difference, except that with an added sole on one shoe it was a lot thicker.

Well, Phil the tool and die maker who’s safety shoe it was.  When he came into work and changed from his street shoes into his safety shoes, never noticed any difference. So he walked around the plant in these safety shoes for over two days . Half the plant knew what was going on, but nobody would tell Phil. Finally, an electrician Bill  Schults said to Phil

” Phil how come your limping ,

So Phil said you noticed that to . I’ve been limping for a couple of days I can’t figure it out.

So Bill says Phil it looks like you have one sole thicker than the other . So Bill checked out the safety shoe and sure enough, it was so.
Phil said to Bill I’m glad that you noticed that I was beginning to think that I was going to have to go to the hospital to have an operation!”

Phil was an avid golfer skier and photographer. all his equipment was always thrown into the trunk of his car so that he would be ready for action at a moments notice. Which was a fine idea, until one winter he went skiing at a local ski hill. when he was ready to go down the hill he found out that he had his skis one ski pole in one hand and a 7 iron in the other.

Another time whilst skiing in Europe he skied down the wrong side of a mountain and landed up having to get a hotel with no money and had to explain to the authorities how he got there.

Everything happened to Phil. One winter he parked his car in a snowstorm across the road from his apartment building.  When he went back to get it it was gone. At the end of the winter, he noticed his red car in a snowdrift. Where it had been ploughed under. Another time he phoned the police to report his car was missing from his parking garage Then he remembered he had left it in a garage to have winter tires put on.

Another time Phil got a phone call at Butlers  saying that he had left a tap running in his apartment and the water had gone down five floors and they were getting lots of calls from other tenants about the water

Back at Butlers, some Wag tied a bell under Phil’s tool cart so every time he moved his cart the bell would ring. Phil would then ask  anybody who would listen

“Hey, can you hear that ?” .Everybody who was asked would say

“Hear what, ?” because everybody was in on it.

So Phil pushed his tool cart around the plant for a couple of days until somebody told him that there was a bell under his cart.

Then all Phil could say, well how did that get there?

Hank from the tool room was getting married. So Hank asked Phil beings as he was a photographer if he would photograph the wedding.

So come the day of the wedding everybody did the usual posing all day long and into the night. After two weeks or so Hank kept on asking Phil where are the photos. This went on for another month or so. Finally, Phil bought the photos of the wedding. But being as Phil was an artsy type of person.  Phil had printed shots of a flower vase a ladies hat a shot of a table full of glasses. Hank went ballistic. So he had to ask anybody that had taken photos at the wedding to bring them in so he could copy them and put them in his wedding album.

The union   Plant Chairman Ozzie liked to drink. one time he pulled into the parking lot at the union office, A couple of us were in the parking lot at the time. Ozzie’s car had corn stalks hanging from the wheel arches and another spot on the car. we said Ozzie what the fuck happened here. Well, the evening before he had had a few too many drinks and was taking a bend in his car.  When it went off off the road into a cornfield.

Ozzie was not drunk enough to know that he had to keep driving in the cornfield until he could find a way out. because if he stayed where he was, he would be stuck there and would have to get a tow truck to get him out. And by doing that it would eat into his beer money. so, yes he kept driving around the cornfield until he could find a way out, knowing full well that if he stopped he was going to be in all sorts of trouble

We had a guy in the tool room. who loved to get you into a bear hug.  Which was fine until one day, he put a slim built maintenance man in one of his friendly bear hugs and cracked three of his ribs.  So, his bit of fun cost him, dear!







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