Striking Purity Factory workers in St. John’s have been a regular fixture in front of the factory on Blackmarsh Road for the past eight weeks.
Friday, they were joined by security guards and contractors.
The 52 union workers at the Purity factory have been locked out since early September, and during that time, there’s been no production at the plant.
The contractors today began putting sheets of plywood over the windows — one of the security guards said several windows had been broken, and the plywood was for protection.
“We never did it,” said Local 7013 president Carol Smith. “If we wanted to do damage, there would be more than them two windows broken out, let me tell you.”
No one from Purity Factories Ltd. could be reached for comment.
Some of the striking union members said the combination of security guards and boarded-up windows seemed like an intimidation tactic on the part of management — suggesting the factory might be permanently shuttered.
“Their goal is to break the union,” said union member Fred Mercer. “Money is obviously not an object to them, if they’re after giving up two months of sales.”
The main issues in the job action are wages — the union wants a $1 per hour raise — and sick leave.
Mercer said the management wants the right to reject doctors’ notes to deny sick days.
Despite the acrimonious situation, by and large, on the picket lines workers remained in good spirits.
Smith encouraged people to buy up as much Purity product as possible — to get it off store shelves — and to be careful that they’re not buying last year’s stock.
One worker said they’ll be in front of the factory Sunday evening, ready to give out Purity products to any kids who are trick-or-treating for Halloween.