UFCW Canada Local 864 continues to hold the line more than a month into a strike at Scotia Recycling in Kentville, Nova Scotia. The 45 members have been on the picket line since September 27. They were forced to strike after months of bargaining for a first contract failed to move the company from demands for a mandatory six-day, 48 hour work week without overtime, and on other issues including claw backs on paid time.
Scotia Recycling is a profitable, private company that is contracted by six local municipalities in the Annapolis Valley to sort and handle recyclables. The company has attempted to run the plant with replacement workers, but picket line delays have kept the facility running below capacity.
“The spirit of the members is strong and so is the support of the community,” says Mark Dobson, UFCW Canada Regional Director for the Atlantic Region. “That even includes some of the replacement workers who’ve quit and have thrown their support behind us.”
The strike came after the company walked away from the bargaining table in September — and stayed away until last week when a mediator met with both the company and the Local 854 bargaining committee. Since then the mediator has met individually with the parties, and for now the process is expected to continue because “it’s a family-owned company and they’re concerned about their profile in the community,” says Brother Dobson.
“The media coverage about workplace safety issues and a mandatory six day work week has raised some flags. The UFCW Canada Stop Scotia Recycling from Trashing Its Workers web campaign has also put pressure on the municipalities to tell Scotia to get back to the table.”
UFCW Canada members and activists can join the campaign and send a message to keep the pressure on for a fair settlement.
“We’ve also started to set up information pickets at some of their other locations,” Brother Dobson says. “No one should underestimate the solidarity the members have. We’re not going away and the company sure knows that now.”
Vol. X No. 44 • November 8, 2010