ST. JOHN'S, July 12, 2017 /CNW/ - On Tuesday, Unifor issued a formal letter to Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Minister Gerry Byrne detailing ongoing union-busting efforts by U.S.-based employer D-J Composites toward its workforce in Gander.
"From the beginning of this lockout on December 19, this employer has had one goal in mind - to break the union," said Lana Payne, Unifor Atlantic Regional Director. "We want the Minister to understand how serious this situation is. Workers expect their department of labour to protect their rights, rights which are being trampled on daily by this employer."
The letter highlights recent actions by the employer like importing foreign workers from its Augusta, Kansas headquarters to perform bargaining-unit work, and attempting to go around the union by making direct offers to individual unionized workers to return to work.
Despite the Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Relations Board ruling in May that the employer was guilty of bargaining in bad faith, and DJ Composites being ordered to remove outrageous demands to gut seniority and make a new offer to the workers, the employer has continued its union-busting campaign. A return to the bargaining table as ordered by the Board did not result in a settlement.
"The employer's demands for wage concessions and other proposals to undermine the union would have been unacceptable to any union," said Shane Wark, Assistant to the Unifor National President with responsibilities for aerospace. "And unfortunately, there are no tools in the labour law toolbox to deal with employers determined to union bust. The laws are completely inadequate in cases like these."
In addition, Unifor has filed two complaints with the federal government over what it believes is the illegal use of foreign workers, with both the Integrity Services Branch of Service Canada and with the ministers responsible for Immigration and Labour. Unifor asked for an investigation and as of yet has received no response. The complaints were filed this year on June 7 and again on June 16.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.
For further information: please contact Unifor Communications National Representative Shelley Amyotte at [email protected] or 902-717-7491 (cell).