Steve Szeman, Retired Miner, East Coulee, AB

I was born in Hungary in 1899. At the age of 12, I started work in a Hungarian mine, loading coal. I came to Canada – to Saskatchewan – in 1928. I worked there, digging rocks for a farmer. He paid me $40 a month and gave me board as well.

In 1930, I came to East Coulee to work in the Empire Mine. Then I went to the Atlas Mine. Later, I went on to the Crown Mine, and left it in 1962.

Here's how it happened: In comes the pit boss. I want to eat my lunch, and he says, "Do you want to work again?" I say, "No." He says, "I got to lay off some people – not you, just the young guys."

I told him to lay me off. "I never want to quit," I say. "I want to use the union pension."