SYDNEY, NS, May 2, 2014 /CNW/ - The union workers responsible for securing cruise ships at port are celebrating as the sudden decision to replace them with non-union workers is reversed. This reversal comes days before a planned demonstration at the port by the workers, the labour movement and community.
Lana Payne, Unifor's Atlantic Regional Director, applauded the efforts by all involved, including the Cape Breton Labour Council and the town council leaders who stood with the workers, who are members of Unifor, and demanded Sydney Ports Corp. reverse its decision and recognize the union rights and the collective agreement of the stevedores.
"If there is one place in the country where people understand the important role unions play in our communities and in our country, it's Cape Breton," said Payne. "This is a victory for these 12 workers, but more than that, it is a victory for the entire labour movement. We've shown that fighting back really makes a difference."
The Sydney Ports Corp. had planned on replacing the stevedores with non-union workers, ignoring the fact that unionized stevedores had serviced the ports for more than 50 years. Several of the unionized stevedores had significant years of service at the facility.
The victory comes after a sustained campaign by their union, Unifor, the broader Cape Breton labour movement, with the solidarity from the International Transport Workers' Federation and the support of the entire Cape Breton Regional Municipal Council. They hoped that their efforts would help them resolve the situation before the arrival of the first cruise ship on May 7.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers. Unifor was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.
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Shelley Burgoyne, Communications