Case of wildcat strike continues in court

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Judge rejects request for dismissal

Long Harbour construction Workers gather in a parking lot during a wildcat strike at the Vale construction site. –Photo by Ashley Fitzpatrick/The Telelgram.

Unions and workers called into Supreme Court in St. John's this week because of a wildcat strike at Vale's nickel processing facility in Long Harbour over the summer have been unsuccessful in an initial attempt to get the case dismissed.

An injunction was first issued against the strike at the megaproject site July 12, but the illegal action was not ended until July 17.

The provincial Resource Development Trades Council, representing 16 unions active at the site, now faces accusations of being in contempt of the original court order.

The Operating Engineers union local is similarly accused.

Two tradesmen have also been singled out for the proceedings from hundreds who participated in the action.

Lawyers for the unions had argued there was no evidence presented to support a claim union leadership had acted inappropriately in relation to the walk-out — even if a large number of union members did act in contempt of the court.

Justice Don Burrage ruled on the motion to dismiss this morning, saying the case would not be immediately dropped, mainly referencing a procedural argument by opposing council.

Specifically, 11 affidavits have been filed by both sides — nine by the unions and two on the employers' side — and the case of the Long Harbour Employers Association was not yet closed.

The case was expected to proceed immediately with the cross-examination of witnesses, based on filed affidavits.

However, a key witness for the employers was not present at court as expected, but instead in Long Harbour as a result of confusion on scheduling.

The case has been delayed an hour, but is expected to continue at 11:30 a.m.

More to come in tomorrow's edition.

Organizations: Supreme Court, Resource Development Trades Council, Operating Engineers union Long Harbour Employers Association

Geographic location: Long Harbour, St. John's

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  • Kevin Power
    December 05, 2012 - 10:15

    There should not be any surprise to anyone that this case is in court. It was an illegal strike and they defied an injunction