April 5, 2022
Grey Bruce Labour Council-For Immediate Release
South Bruce Peninsula Locks Out Outside Workers
Surely congratulations from former Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, is on its way to the Mayor and Municipal Council of South Bruce Peninsula. In 2011 the Conservative Harper government locked the workers of Canada Post and members of CUPW out and then ordered them back to work. All done in some misdirected and misguided attempt to convince Canadians that Harper and his cronies were exhibiting some form of genius in the world of labour relations. Of course, it was a bombastic attack on workers for some imaginary and hollow belief that team Harper would be seen as “tough on strikers”. “Just as Harper and his cronies were seen as impotent in their make believe and hollow actions, Mayor Jackson and the rest of the council of South Bruce Peninsula will be seen as tone deaf regressive thugs who are too timid to get down to the meat of intensive and good faith bargaining”, says Kevin Smith, President of the Grey Bruce Labour Council.
Dave Trumble, Grey Bruce Labour Council VP for Bruce, recognizes that the tactics undertaken by the South Bruce Peninsula Council and under the leadership of Mayor Jackson are the symptoms of people with an absolute disdain for their employees. Trumble is hoping that any contractors showing to work for the municipality while the workers are locked out will understand that they will not be treated any better by the employer. Further, “any workers taking on the work of the locked out workers must understand that this is scabbing, and it is hoped that South Bruce Peninsula will hear only crickets when the call goes out for contractors, or scabs if they show up”.
Grey Bruce Labour Council VP for Grey, Chris Stephen, knows the tactics used in bargaining with municipal employees. Stephen has vast experience and knowledge through his years of experience as an active member of CUPE. Stephen is clear in his view on the situation. “The only way to meet an employer, an employer entirely responsible for the situation, is to meet them head on”. Under no illusions about the work required to get people to bolster the picket line, Stephen has already volunteered to start the work of getting Labour Council affiliated unions and friends of labour to the picket line and to make noise all the way to the election this fall when this council will have to answer for needlessly taking the food of the tables of their employees and their neighbours”.
The negotiating position of the union members, members of SEIU Local 2, was reasonable. As with most anti-worker and anti-union employers the strategic value of paying a reasonable wage is overlooked. The workers of South Bruce Peninsula would be plowing their money right back into their municipality. What better way to generate more economic activity as so may communities are attempting to recover from the pandemic?
Mayor Jackson is quoted in a press release as being concerned about a strike during the peak summer season and then also refers to being worried about the workers striking at any time. Of course, we are nowhere near the summer season and a strike vote mandate is not a guarantee of a strike and if Mayor Jackson were remotely knowledgeable about negotiations it would have been known that this is anything but unusual in bargaining across Canada and throughout the union movement. There was ample time for negotiations to continue, but myopia won out at municipal council for South Bruce Peninsula.
Please bear this staged attempt by municipal council of South Bruce Peninsula to look tough and diligent and see it as the regressive bully tactics it really is and please do not forget to boot municipal council for South Bruce Peninsula to the curb on election day this fall.
The Grey Bruce Labour Council has been the voice of workers in our region since 1956 and welcomes all media inquiries.