Labatt workers walk off the job

Andrew Robinson
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NAPE hopes to convince brewery to work with union instead of provoking employees

Workers at a Labatt Breweries Newfoundland facility in St. John’s walked off the job Monday after an order from the employer to train replacement workers.

Carol Furlong, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE), would not confirm whether the workers had, in fact, walked off the job, but she did confirm the existence of the replacement worker issue.

“The employer sent around a notice that they were going to bring in replacement workers and the workers would be expected to train them in, which provoked the workers — bringing in mainland people as replacement workers.”

Furlong said NAPE hopes to be able to get the employer to work with the union instead of provoking its employees. A representative of NAPE was meeting with the workers as of Monday afternoon, according to Furlong.

She said the workers have been engaged in collective bargaining with the employer. Approximately 50 workers are involved in the labour dispute, according to NAPE.


A dozen workers stood outside the Labatt plant on Leslie Street early Monday afternoon.

When asked about their reasons for standing outside the building, they advised The Telegram to contact NAPE.

There were several vehicles parked at the entrance to the site, forming a U-shape in front of several semi-trailers located in the Labatt parking lot.

A Royal Newfoundland Constabulary vehicle was parked outside the brewery, but no officers were spotted.

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

— With files from Josh Pennell




Organizations: Labatt, Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees, A Royal

Geographic location: Leslie Street

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Recent comments

  • cookie
    March 30, 2013 - 09:53

    come on people we need unions .............if the wages was lower do u think for a minute the price of beer wouild go down ..............NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    • blocker
      March 30, 2013 - 18:05

      The top 40 exec's at the company recently recieved a combined bonus package of approx. 2 BILLION dollars, and its C.E.O. Carlos Brito recieved 184 Million for his bonus last year. at approx 40,000 per year you would have to work approx 4,500 years to earn what he recieved for one year, and people think the union workers earn too much money. Well instead of talking their money out of our country, the workers spent their earnings in the local economy supporting local business, and the more they are able to make, the more they will spend in NFLD supporting the economy and helping to create jobs. So support them, and in doing so, support yourselves.

  • Union man
    March 27, 2013 - 21:06

    We all know brewery workers make good money. However it is an insult to bring in replacement workers while the regular workers are still there. If they get away with this, other companies will try it too and we'll be back to what it was like in the 1940s. You'll be hired and fired at will with no rights. You can forget about pensions, sick leave etc. which we have due to unions. Unions have their bad points but i would rather have one than not.

    • a business man
      April 05, 2013 - 12:05

      Honestly, I hope other companies bring in replacement workers. I beleive that the owners of the company have the right to manage their company as they see fit, and that many including slashing wages and/or hiring cheaper workers. That said, I understand that unions have lots of rights, and I argue that the rights of unions can hinder the objectives of a business owner. What I do is I only hire temps, part time workers, and contract workers. I do this at not all of my companies, but only the ones where the workers are just uneducated and easily replaceable. Essentally, I have a revolving door of new workers coming in. This allows me to just pay the minimum wage, and fire people when ever I want. I don't give pensions, I don't give sick leave, and I do not keep unskilled workers around long enough to gain any legal protections or benefits. In short, they are just unskilled workers, and therefore are not worth taking on the extra liabilities and obligations. ALL of my management team, they get benefits, company car, pension, sick days and more. They get this because they are skilled educated and important. I cannot say the same for unskilled workers. So while UNION MAN indicated that we need unions, I submit to the employers of this province that you can make lots of money without full-time workers. Use temp agencies, use contract workers. That way, when they walk off the job, you just plug in another person and move on. At the end of the day, the employee is not important, but the work is.

  • Corporate Psycho
    March 27, 2013 - 17:31

    The union busters are out in force I see. Seems like some of you are not happy with your lot in life. Lemme guess. It's someone else's fault?

  • Michael
    March 27, 2013 - 09:35

    I also know of persons retired from Labatts and, as Jeffrey stated, that's true, not only for Executives, but forklift drivers, labourers, every employee. My God, thousands of us would knock them over rushing by to get a job like that, for even less pay. The future security would be worth it. Their annual leave and number of sick days are also way above average. Go back to your jobs and appreciate just how lucky you really got it.

  • Willie B
    March 26, 2013 - 15:42

    John, Just because the Airport Authority says it in the media, it doesn't mean it is true. If you got the real facts you would be very surprised with what is going on at the airport. All employers are part of a union called the Board of Trade and they are only concerned with employers rights. Nothing wrong with the employees having a union to look after their rights as well. Come to the line at the airport and the workers will give you some real facts. Also, I can assure you that there are a lot of skilled workers at Labatt's and just someone off the street can't be brought in to take over.

  • Jeffrey
    March 26, 2013 - 14:40

    I know someone who is retired from Labatts and his pension is higher than his huge salary was, as well as keeping his medical benefits. If anything happens to him, this privilege is passed on to his wife. How many of us would be absolutely overjoyed to even have such a job with security for the rest of our lives, no matter how long we live.

  • Leah
    March 26, 2013 - 14:28

    They are soooo lucky to have good high paying jobs, with medical benefits, and pensions. How I wish.....

  • Scabby McSnivells
    March 26, 2013 - 08:26

    Hi John, Give me your employer's name and number and I'll do your job for 3/4 of what they pay you.Of course, you can offer to undercut me by asking 1/2 of your current wage to keep your job. Then again, would your banker / landlord agree to lower your mortgage/rent by 1/2?

  • The White Wolf
    March 26, 2013 - 08:21

    This is scandalous. Guys getting $36 an hour complaining? The majority of the staff that are doing the complaining are all uneducated. There are NL'ers beating the streets looking for work with degrees, PHD's, and trade certificates while employees like these are looking for support and being paid salaries as high as Gov't employees with educations. Stay on strike, there are 1000's of NL'ers who will go down to the brewery and do your job for $20/hour. And not cry fowl to the union asking for 3 hours of OT pay for a half hours work on your day off. Perhaps you can also get your union to make a new brand of beer in your honor - Whinocerous Light, 100% proof.

  • John
    March 26, 2013 - 08:15

    The brewery has the right to hire replacement workers in order to keep their business running. Union members are NOT allowed to keep anybody from crossing their picket line. All the unions are give, give, give with no take on their part at all. Undoubtedly, the union big shots are continuing to get their wages, but they are the one's who recommend going on strike. The union at the airport is paying, depending on who you listen to, between 80% - 90% of their wages. How much will their union dues go up when they go back to work. The airport authority offered a 30%+ wage increase but the union is demanding over 50% increase. There are many non union workers, undoubtedly, willing to take a job for $20.00 an hour. The airport authority or the Federal Government should fire the lot and then hire new workers and/or rehire the workers at the rate as if they had gotten the 30% + offered increase.

    • ClearSkies
      March 26, 2013 - 10:40

      John, I agree with you completely

  • Solidarity
    March 26, 2013 - 07:23

    Forcing workers to train SCABS? If we don't start standing up to this kind of blatant abuse now it will be a free-for-all attack on workers, and I don't just mean unionised workers.