Unifor escalates fight against Autoport scabs by opening second picket line in Winnipeg

PV staff  

When nearly 250 striking autoworkers went on strike at Autoport’s Halifax facility on February 27, they knew the company was preparing strike busting tactics including the use of scabs. Autoport is a subsidiary of CN. Its Halifax operation is one of North America’s largest vehicle processing and transshipment hubs, handling close to 185,000 vehicles annually.

The 239 workers, represented by Unifor Local 100, have been negotiating since September for a deal that includes decent wage increases. They went on strike after turning down the employer’s offer of an 8-percent increase over 3 years, an offer which would leave their wages well behind the cost of living.

The company began to bring in scabs just a few hours into the strike. In response to these strike busting efforts, Unifor is engaging its members across the country in solidarity actions.

“The Unifor Rail Council called an emergency meeting of all the Unifor rail locals from coast to coast to plan solidarity actions across the country wherever CN works,” said the union’s Atlantic Regional Director Jennifer Murray. “We continue to call on CN to come back to the bargaining table with a fair offer to end this strike.”

On March 14, close to 100 Unifor members stopped and held up a CN train near Winnipeg. The next day, they opened a second picket line at a CN Autoport yard in Winnipeg.

Unifor Western Regional Director Gavin McGarrigle said that the blockade and picket in Winnipeg are part of the union’s escalating fight which involves actions across Canada against CN. The union says that this escalation will continue until CN stops using scabs during the Autoport strike in Halifax.

“CN cannot escape the spotlight. The shameful behaviour by CN Autoport in Halifax will be met with resistance across our union,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National President. “CN can expect more unscheduled disruption from coast-to-coast if it continues strike-busting tactics.”

McGarrigle warned that CN’s use of scabs will only extend the Autoport strike and cause problems throughout its operations. “The strike in Halifax will be resolved with good faith bargaining at the bargaining table. CN is wrong if it thinks it can bully our members with scabs.”

[Photo of workers blocking CN train in Winnipeg: Unifor.org]

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