Amalgamated Union Of Engineering Workers

(Steve  Thompson)

Below is my union card from my time at Consett Steel Works. I went through my whole apprenticeship without joining the union. When I came out of my time someone discovered I wasn't a member. This was highly frowned upon and I was whisked off to join right away. There were often Union meetings in the canteen and we apprentices always voted to strike on the least thing hoping we'd get some time off but it never happened. I remember one day a foreman swore at me in the canteen and the "youngest shop steward in the works" asked if I would like an apology. He made this grown man apologise to me  a mere kid; I found it highly embarassing. I recall another brush with union business. I was called into the offices to act as a witness to some negotiation. I don't know if this was a deliberate ploy, but sitting there in this comfortable and warm office, straight out of the freezing cold of the works, I was asleep in no time and witnessed nothing. Stephen Walsh who plays union leader John Henderson in the musical, carried my union card with him throughout the performances.