Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

September 15, 2010 15:26 ET

Open Letter to the Premier From the Brantford Picket Lines

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 15, 2010) -

Dear Premier:

We are writing to you from the Engineered Coated Products (ECP) picket line on the first day of a three-day labour action designed to pressure the company to fulfill its legal obligations and get back to the bargaining table.

I have been asked by more than 80 striking workers to convey to you their deep disappointment and frustration with your media comments this morning. This is the beginning of their third year of doing everything legally possible to move ECP; every day, for the past 752 days, they stand outside the plant watching the company bus in scabs to take their jobs and use its security forces to intimidate them.

They would like you to know this has created misery and untold human suffering for them, their families and for the community.

You said this morning that most strikes are settled by negotiation and that we don't need laws for the few. This is an astonishing assertion made worse by similar employer actions at Tyco, Sears, Infinity Rubber, Amcor and others. All these employers made workers' lives miserable by using scab labour. Only a few short months ago, workers in Sudbury and Port Colborne were forced to go through exactly the same situation and were left out in the cold for a year! Thousands of workers are badly impacted by the lack of legislation. It is completely inappropriate to dismiss their concerns and bury them in statistics.

Premier, without anti-scab laws, workers are at the mercy of bad employers like ECP and Vale Inco. Without laws, bargaining is tainted at all negotiating tables as companies resort to threats of scabs as a way of blackmailing workers into compliance.

You also said this morning the government does not use scabs. Clearly, if you find this practice so morally and economically abhorrent then it should not be permissible anywhere in Ontario. You also said that we do not make laws for the few. Of course we do. Drunk driving, arson, fraud come immediately to mind. Health and Safety laws are in place to prevent injury and death in the workplace.

Ontario had anti-scab legislation. We want it reinstated. Workers in British Columbia and Quebec are not forced into these same abysmal circumstances specifically because legislation exists.

ECP, like Vale Inco, is a bad apple. Nothing short of laws will effect a change in its - and other unethical corporate sector - behaviour.

Finally, Brantford strikers wish to know how they can expect any measure of justice or decency when the provincial government is taking a position in support of the companies and corporations.

Yours truly,

Sid Ryan, President, Ontario Federation of Labour

Contact Information

  • Ontario Federation of Labour
    Sid Ryan
    Ontario Federation of Labour
    Lynn Simmons