Picketers at the Labatt brewery on Leslie Street in St. John's stand on their picket line April 8 after a court injunction was issued preventing strikers from impeding traffic to and from the facility. — File photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram
Workers with Labatt Breweries Newfoundland in St. John’s, who have been engaged in a wildcat strike for over two weeks, have now officially voted in favour of striking.
According to a news release issued today by the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE), the vote to strike was unanimous.
NAPE president Carol Furlong said the company is looking for 20 concessions, including a 20 per cent cut in medical and dental benefits, no medical benefits going forward for retirees, and the removal of a no contracting out clause.
The move by workers to engage in a wildcat strike was preceded by a request from Labatt to train replacement workers, who would then work at the plant in the event of a strike. Approximately 50 workers are involved in the labour dispute, and replacement workers are now on site.
“This was a callous move that unnecessarily inflamed the situation with regards to negotiations and which also put our members in a very difficult position,” Furlong said in the release. “Our team was and continues to be committed to reaching a fair deal at the bargaining table. The employer has made bringing that goal to fruition very difficult.”
Newfoundland Supreme Court granted an injunction this week to Labatt that prohibits striking workers from blocking the entrance to its property on Leslie Street. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary was called to the site on multiple occasions in the days following the wildcat strike.
The most recent contract between Labatt and employees with Local 7004 expired at the end of March.