Transcript for: Working conditions in the Edmonton plant
If I told somebody that I'm working at GWG, they addressed it as "the sweatshop".
I never worked anywhere before, so I did not know anything different. I went, I put in my day's work, and I came out.
I remember it was very dark in there, I don't remember outside windows, if there were any, there weren't any in the area that I was in.
The floor was dark, the walls were dark, there was no daylight, artificial light.
They didn't have as strict health rules in those days as they have now, so we were packed in there pretty good.
You used lots of deodorant. We used to have windows in the bathroom in those days so and then you used to open the windows up and let some fresh air come, but not enough for the amount of people that were in there.
Hot. It was hot,
Summertime it's air conditioned, but there's steam everywhere—steam.
Leg press, top press and under press, lots of kind of pressing machines over there.
So we negotiated that the company would give them an extra break in the afternoon. It was a small plant, so they could go outside and get some fresh air and something cold to drink. But it was hot.
The dust came from the materials from the sewing, you know, the dye in the materials. And the needle would get hot.
When it went so fast, and that's how the dust you got.
SUPER: Susan Bui [on camera]
If you want to protect yourself, you wear the mask like that—to sew.
The cutters had masks,
But not the girls.
Especially where the buttonhole machine and pocket hemmers and rivet machine, they make lots of sound. But later on...
Then they start measuring the sound and everything, and then we have like earplugs. So everybody will wear whenever the sound was high,
Actually I lost some of my hearing; I don't hear as well as I could.
Afterwards we had a safety committee, and we had to wear closed shoes and we had to wear ear plugs and we had to wear safety glasses.
The air was all monitored during the day, but at night it wasn't.
The perma-press operation started coming in then, in the '60s, the chemicals were quite high. Stonewash jeans were coming through. That's the time a lot of bleach smell, formaldehyde, you smelt a lot more chemical in the air. What do you say? Who do you say it to? You know.