What makes British Columbia different from the rest of the country is a fascinating subject no matter what form it takes. When explored on film it makes for vivid contrasts and not a few surprises. The films in this series capture a colorful spectrum of life on the west side of the Great Divide, reflecting not only the physical magnitude of the land, vertically and horizontally, but the character of the people who meet its challenge.
This short documentary examines the changing relations between labour and management in the long-established company town of Trail, BC, in which 90% of the workforce is employed by Cominco, the world’s largest lead-zinc smelter. The metal workers in the town are outspoken about the health risks associated with their line of work, and a debate about unionization ensues. The days of paternalistic management are gone, and the emphasis is now on participation and involvement. An eventual strike over dissatisfaction with labour relations turns violent when management, union executives, and workers clash over competing interests.