Unifor has started an important conversation on the controversial use of scabs in Canada. We need Unifor members to stand up for locked-out workers right now. Aerospace members from Gander, NL, from Local 597 were locked-out by their U.S.-based employer in December of 2016.
They have watched their neighbours cross their picket line day after day as the employer escalated the use of scabs in recent weeks and months. This behaviour is unacceptable. The choice to cross a picket line degrades the bargaining power of unionized workers, and pits worker against worker resulting in a race to the bottom.
Last Thursday, your union stepped up the support for members in Gander and shared a video that showed the names and faces of the people who chose to cross the picket line. Everyone in their community already knows who they are, and their continued actions hurt the families who have been locked out for the past 92 weeks. Now, these scab workers and some others have expressed anger over Unifor’s decision to name and shame them.
Let me be clear, you cannot expect privacy when you choose to cross a Unifor picket line and hurt the families of locked-out workers. We showed this in Goderich, and we’re showing it again in Gander. The law is on our side. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that those crossing a picket line would reasonably expect their image could be captured and disseminated; a union’s collection of personal information such as images at a picket line is protected expression. We have a right to defend our members and their Charter protected rights to collective bargaining.
Lana Payne asked the public over the weekend, where was this outrage when workers rights were violated? These members are fighting back against an employer that wants to bust the union, and have taken a stand every day for their fundamental right to have a union. This group was locked-out after refusing to accept a contract that would have slashed wages and attacked seniority. Since then, D-J Composites has dragged on this lockout by failing to bargain in good faith and by hiring scabs.
Meanwhile the provincial government and Premier Dwight Ball watched this injustice drag on and refuse to defend these workers and fix the provinces’ labour laws. This lockout has been allowed to continue for too long.
Over the last two years, you have written letters and emails to Premier Dwight Ball, you petitioned D-J Composites CEO Rezaul Chowdhury, and our friends at UE down in Kansas even visited the D-J Engineering facility in the CEO’s hometown.
These workers need your support once again. Speak out on Twitter, Facebook and join the national conversation. Show members of Local 597 that the Unifor family is united with them in their struggle. Now more than ever Rezaul Chowdhury and the D-J Composites bosses must hear that our union does not back down.