13 October 2010

Bob Haldeman Interview (10)

We go along from '44 to '47 with another contract, and from 
'47 to '50 there's another contract. I had a third boy then, 

and by that time I was just going up to the top job in the mine. 
I was a mine foreman, and from there I was assistant general 
mine foreman in 1951. That would be number two to Mr. 

General Mine Foreman Pedro Casarotto 

Haldeman: Mr. Casarotto was an Italian immigrant who went from Italy to 
the United States, California, and started to work in the Guasti 
vineyards. I think it was in the late twenties that the IWW 
[Industrial Workers of the World] was formedthe wobblies. 
They were called communists, and they formed unions. They had 
Pinkertons breaking them up. 

Mr. Casarotto, who had never gone beyond the third grade, 
was involved in this. The police were after him, so he went 
down to San Pedro, California, and got a job on a nitrate ship 
returning to Chile. When he got to Valparaiso, he jumped ship, 
went out to Rancagua, and hired on as a laborer- -peon, they 
called them at that time at the Teniente Mine. He had a brass 
tag, and that was his work number. He went up to the mine, and 
in those years the mine was a good place to run away from 
justice. Not too many questions were asked, just to get guys to 
work in the mine, which was a hard place. 

Casarotto started out as a laborer, then became a 
timberman, a miner, and worked up to become a straw boss. He 
was outstanding; he was a leader--a big, husky Italian. I'm not 
sure of the year, but in about 1935 they needed a general mine 
foreman. From mine foreman, the next step up was in the 
superintendency, and usually that job had been filled by 
Americans. The mine superintendent at that time didn't feel 
that he had any Americans qualified below that level in the 
mine, and Casarotto was a real good, reliable fellow, a reliable 
worker, and intelligent with his limited education. 

So the mine foreman called the general manager, Mr. Turton, 
and said, "I have a fellow who is Chilean of Italian descent, 
and I want to put him in as a general mine foreman." 

Sewell in 1930
Sewell 1930
Turton said, "I'm going up to the mine next week. Wait; I want to talk to the guy first." When Turton got up there, they called in Mr. Casarotto. Turton had heard of him, and he talked to him and asked, "Do you think you can handle the job? What's your name?" He said, "My name is Inocencio Casarotto." Turton, who grew up in the mine, a blustery, great big fellow, macho and all that, said, "Inocencio? I would never have a general mine foreman by the name of Inocencio. From here on out, you are Pedro Casarotto." [laughter] And until the day he died, he was Pedro Casarotto. Pete was a wonderful educator or trainer of young mining engineers. He knew how to really get the maximum out of you- -give you real difficult tasks, delegate you all the authority, and allow you to make a couple of mistakes. He trained so many of the people in the industry. That's Mr. Casarotto, and he is really the fellow to whom I owe my understanding and knowledge of underground block-caving mining. Pete really pulled me out of the ranks. He took a shine to me and pushed me up and up. Sometimes he would jump me two positions to replace a man and left me alone. It certainly develops you when you are fully responsible for something like that. [laughs] You're sharp. In those days there were thousands of timbersets and hundreds of ore passes in places all over the mine. All of us working in the mine at that time developed a memory of the numbers of these sets, the pieces of wood in each set and in between the sets, the drift numbers, and so on. I could sit down and see the mine in my mind at night. Somebody would call me up, and I could get a visual picture of that set or two sets, in between them, how many stringers there were up above, and which ones were broken. It was a tremendous teacher. All the rest of it we learned that way. It was a wonderful training school.

Index to Haldeman Interview

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