Wednesday, February 8, 2012


 "If they think I'm going to be dictated to by priests,
lawyers or gangsters from Chicago, they've got
another thing coming."

Spencer Lake

OCI wants a 40% wage cut from the crew of the Newfoundland Lynx..

The issue is plan and it is simple.

The company wants to rob their crew by replacing them with others who will high grade the product for a lot less reward. They want to strip workers of the bonuses they have received via profit sharing, and make them do the same work for a much lesser return.

The FFAW is not prepared to throw it's members to the wolves, and why would they?  OCI keeps putting on it's poor mouth in the hopes that it can continue to make higher profits off public resources by offering fewer benefits and less salaries to its workers. To paraphrase Gorden Inglis ,Their fortunes and misfortunes,are to be found in the entries of the merchants' ledgers. In this case OCI.

The situation in Bay Roberts may be this generations Burgeo. Enough is enough! OCI should look at the history of the last outfit that tried to dictate the terms without any regard for the rights of workers. The battle in Burgeo took on historic proportions when Spencer Lake attempted to bring in scabs to do the work of unionized workers. The strikers vented their frustration in an outburst of anger, damaging plant premises.

What is the sense of collective bargaining if they employer is able to lock-out workers, strip them of a livelihood by replacing them with SCABS! These are not replacement workers, these are people who are prepared to work for less in the jobs, that up to this point, had been done by the union members.

Fisheries Minister Darin King  is calling for calm. He is calling on the strikers to abandon their illegal blockade, which is preventing scabs from boarding the boat. OCI  won a court injunction to keep the crew of  the Newfoundland Lynx, away from the ship during but the workers are continuing to picketing the vessel at Harbour International's wharf in Bay Roberts.

 OCI is treating the union and the workers with contempt. As usual the message is our way or the highway, and the government is enabling strikebreaking by not passing progressive anti-scab legislation.

Some battles are worth fighting. This is one of them!


Jay L said...

One can see the FFAW's point of view. However, it's hard to respect an organization that encourages assault, vandalism, and murder as a means of getting what they want.

And before you look shocked, yes, yes they did. On live radio.

Peter L. Whittle said...

i missed that, who, when?

Jay L said...

Night Line on VO last night. the whole situation ended up playing out through the show.

Several people identifying themselves as union members threatened violence against the replacement workers. "you're gonna get whats comin to ya" and "punch in the head" were two of my faves.

One said that if the bus tried to cross the line, the occupants would find themselves at the bottom of the harbour.

You can't have a discussion about the relevant issues when threats and intimidation are the order of the day. Whichever side of the debate you are on, you can't even start asking questions until people are speaking rationally.

Peter L. Whittle said...

Those were individual members speaking out not the union leadership. It just illustrates how tense this situation is.

they certainly were not speaking on behalf of the union.

No good can come of this situation as long as it continues to simmer like it is. The minister of Labour needs to get involved.

Jay L said...

What's the Minister to do? The union (or individual members, it's semantics) has broken the law (and gotten away with it), and OCI, while playing pretty dirty tricks, is merely asserting its rights under the law. Tough situation. The union is locked out and just wants its jobs back, OCI just wants to get on with business. If they kept it to that level of discourse, something productive might have been done.

On one side you have death threats and thuggery, and on the other you have OCI playing dirty with strikebreakers. I'd say there's not much hope for either side.

Either way, I maintain you can't have any solution while such nonsense plays out, on both sides of the fence.

Peter L. Whittle said...


It is a tough situation but as long as the company knows that it can ignore workers demands and hire scabs, the workers greatest weapon, the threat of job action is meaningless.

If this was about a raise or some benefit, I might be persuaded to say the FFAW needs to compromise. The company is doing to these workers what it has done to others since taking over the FPI assets in the province, demanding rollbacks, cuts and less benefits. They do not want to pay municipal taxes, they want to close plants, they blackmail the government, pit communities against communities in an attempt to extort special arrangements to export who fish. N

Inserting scabs to take jobs of people who are on a job action because the company wants to hire replacement workers who will work for cheaper and not profit-share seems to be a conspiracy to bust a union.