by Tiffany Balducci
Oshawa Public Library worker and president of CUPE Local 960
Who ya gonna call? Scab-busters!
That was just one of the many chants on Thursday’s picket line at Hematite Manufacturing with members of Workers United Canada Council Local 2508.
Over 60 workers from Workers United Local 2508 in Guelph, Ontario are currently on lockout after refusing employer concessions during the latest round of bargaining, including cuts to vacation time, break times, wages and benefits.
On September 14, the call went out to Guelph and District Labour Council asking for support in bolstering their lines as a van full of scabs crossed the picket line that day and more support was needed as the lockout continues.
At 6:00 AM September 15, the members of Workers United Local 2508 were joined by members from ETFO, OECTA, ATU, Unifor, Guelph and District Labour Council and CUPE, with a total of about 50 activists helping to hold the line.
With only one entrance, the chants of ‘Nobody in, nobody out!’ rang true.
By 6:30 AM, several trucks and cars had turned around and a van full of scab labour could not cross the line.
Social Media feeds and live videos from the activists and members kept those watching developments posted from afar and chants of solidarity filled the line.
By 9:00 AM, the white van full of scabs drove away, unable to cross the line. A small, but mighty network of activists answered the call of a sister union and made a huge difference in a very small turnaround of time.
Actions such as these speak volumes to employers – sending the message that they’re not just locking out 60 employees and bringing in scabs – they’re messing with all of labour. And we’ve got each other’s backs.
On Friday, Hematite Manufacturing issued a final offer that members were forced to vote on. They voted it down 42 to 18.
Pickets are setup in front of the company located at 659 Speedvale Ave. West in Guelph.