Purity boards up windows

James McLeod
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Purity workers (from left) Union Local 7013 president Carol Smith, Dominic Curran, Rodney Joyce and Fred Mercer. — Photo by James McLeod/The TelegramPurity workers (from left) Union Local 7013 president Carol Smith, Dominic Curran, Rodney Joyce and Fred Mercer. — Photo by James McLeod/The Telegram

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.


Geographic location: Blackmarsh Road

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Recent comments

  • gigglefinder
    December 03, 2010 - 23:17

    Your wage is based on the difficulty of replacing you.

    November 01, 2010 - 09:46

    I have to agree with John Stokes' comments...I too realised that the missus had to be making $14 - 20 years ago...if three dollars in raises bought her up to $17 now. The sick time....management wants the right to reject doctors’ notes to deny sick days...then ya know what...settle on something halfway. Like 5 days per year permitted without, anything after that would require a doctors note. The company cannot play god... its not the way it works. Has anyone contacted human rights? or the labour board regarding the managment 'want'? Is it legit? The deal being...you are making $17 an hour in a province where that was NEVER heard of in years gone by...its still a decent wage. Don't sit on a picket line...moaning and groaning when there a tonne of folks who would replace you in a heartbeat for $3 LESS an hour....Myself being one fo them! Greed.....Illogical thinking....and stubborness.....You buggers are getting what purity has to offer.....the toughest in business! Purity - do what needs doing...rid yourself of a union of workers...bring in non-union workers...pay em $17 an hour...without a union involved...you will surely get your $17 an hour...

  • worker at purity
    November 01, 2010 - 07:50

    we not looking for sympathy you a---- . i don't know where you get off by saying there no skill workers at purity because we are all skill workers .they are getting rich on our backs arn't they.-come and work for purity and by the end of your shift is over ,you 'll have a different tune-no pension-no sick leave-can't leave the floor when you have to go to the bathroom or get a drink-when the foreman standing over you and watching you every minute- 17 dollars would be only a joke-you'll be worth a lot more believe me

  • John Stokes
    October 30, 2010 - 16:51

    NO sympathy from me. They make $17 per hr for unskilled work. Lucky they dont make min wage. Also one woman says she has only had a $3 raise in 20 yeras. That means 20 years ago she was making 14 per hr, when the min wage was 3.85. Shame on you all, pure greed!

    • Brendan White
      November 01, 2010 - 07:35

      I don't think it serves anyone's interests by attacking the union workers. Purity is a reputable company with a good product, and if it wants to continue, they will eventually negotiate a reasonable settlement to this dispute. Decent wages and fair sick leave are a must today.