Since April 27, over 350 miners in Goderich, Ontario have been on strike. The union, Unifor Local 16-0, is fighting against concessions demanded by Compass Minerals which owns the salt mine, the world’s largest. The town of 8,000 and surrounding area has rallied to the miners’ cause. Lawn signs supporting the workers have popped up all around town. Community support is undeniable and the company has turned to legal repression.
Running scabs across the lines, backed up by a court injunction limiting pickets, Compass had refused to bargain since the strike started.
Fed up, miners responded on July 4 by blockading the mine with pallets, and a day later, Unifor’s leaders negotiated the exit of the scabs from the mine who had to walk out to chanting strikers. This is captured in the second video below.
Another court injunction brought down the blockade on July 7, but local farmers responded by blockading the mine with tractors and heavy farm machinery, demonstrating the popular local support for the miners and their families. Although the tractor blockade came down, Compass finally returned to the table on Thursday July 12.
The battle is not over. The latest act of solidarity, from the crew of the bulk carrier Algoma Innovator, was a refusal to load product from the mine on July 13. Compass once again got a big assist from the employer-side legal system getting an injunction against the Seafarers International Union representing the ship’s crew, and managers began loading the ship.
The battle is still on in Goderich, but it has become a beacon of hope in the fight against corporate greed, and exposed the unjust pro-employer legal system. Following the lead of the miners themselves, the defiant acts of solidarity from farmers and deck hands has forced Compass to return to the table.
SOLIDARITY IS POWER.
VICTORY TO THE MINERS!