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“New Superintendent For Limb Factory,” Toronto Star. January 31, 1919. Page 04.

Department Makes Effort to End Dispute by Appointing Returned Officer.

In an attempt to end the strike conditions at the artificial limb factory at Davisville and on Spadina avenue, the Department of Soldiers’ Civil Re-establishment, which recently dispensed with the services of Superintendent J. E. Burns, which brought about a strike of the 220 men employed in the factory, has appointed Major R. W. Coulthard to the position.

Major Coulthard is an officer of the C.E.F., who went overseas with the Second Canadian Tunnelling company in 1915 from Western Canada, and his appointment, according to Colonel G. F. Morrison, assistant director of the department, satisfies the first demand of the employees that a returned soldier get the position.

On Strike Since Jan. 24.
The strike at the limb factory has been on since January 24, and followed the dismissal of Mr. Burns. The appointment as a temporary measure of E. M. Martin as superintendent was not agreeable to the men and they decline to return to work, and to-day, the appointment of Major Coulthard is announced.

Sir James Lougheed, Minister of the Department of Soldiers’ Civil Reestablishment, issues the following statement on the situation:

“On the recommendations made by those competent to give an opinion on the subject, we brought about changes that were necessary in the interest of the department, the men employed in the factory, and those ex-members of the forces who required artificial limbs and appliances. Some of the employees seemingly do not see eye to eye with the department in the changes that have been made. It is quite manifest that the Government must exercise its own judgement as to how an enterprise of this kind must be operated.

Highest Efficiency Wanted.
‘Regretable as it is that we have not at the moment the co-operation of the men who have thus ceased work, yet it is our duty to place this work upon the most efficient basis possible. We have appointed in charge, Mr. R. W. Coulthard, who has been overseas for a long period. During his experience as an engineer he has had charge of large enterprises requiring such ability as to qualify him for the position.’

Mr. G. E. Beaton, of the Strike Committee, interviewed by The Star this morning, explained that nothing definite can be announced from the men’s side of the question until the appointment of Major Coulthard has been considered at a meeting of the striking employees, which will be held forthwith.

Referring to Sir James Lougheed’s announcement that the department cannot be dictated to in matters of general policy, Mr. Beaton said: ‘We thrashed that out last night, and it was understood that there would have to be some modifications on the demands of the men.’

‘We are pleased to hear that a returned soldier has been appointed, and hold to that demand still,’ he said. ‘That would be quite satisfactory to us if Mr. Burns were retained to tutor the new superintendent in the way we have been working. Possibly some compromise will be reached along these lines,’ he concluded.

As Major Coulthard’s appointment has not been notified yet to the Strike Committee by the department, it is not likely that any official notice of it will be taken until such time as it is announced. Immediately following that, however, a meeting of all the employees will be held, and the future policy of the men decided on.

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