On October 27, 2020, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, acting upon unknown orders, brought in over 20 officers including those in riot gear to illegally break up a peaceful picket line of Unifor 597 who are striking against Dominion’s parent company Loblaws Companies Limited.
The RNC threatened these essential workers who have supported our province through the worst of the pandemic with arrest, for exercising their legally protected right to picket. Injunction orders against the strikers have failed, so why are police acting as strikebreakers? Whose orders are they acting upon?
The Weston family has increased their wealth by $1,600,000,000 over the course of the pandemic, in which they paid their employees an extra $2/hour -- dubbed ‘hero pay’ -- which they stopped paying in July, along with other grocery retailers. While those workers put the health and safety of themselves, their family, and their loved ones on the line, the Weston family still increased profits, and are unwilling to share that wealth with the people who provide them that income.
In 2019, Dominion stores have cut full time positions in order to further exploit their workers, leaving them without benefits or security. The only thing the company is offering the workers -- now primarily part-time employees -- is an additional $1/hour over the entire life of their three-year contract, according to Unifor National President, Jerry Dias.
The Canadian Freelance Union stands in solidarity with essential workers from Unifor Local 597 and condemns the harassment and intimidation by police. We demand accountability from the people who directed the police to respond in this manner, and are encouraged to hear that Loblaw has finally agreed to get back to the bargaining table.
The Canadian Freelance Union is a community chapter of Unifor, focusing on advancing the rights and working conditions for freelancers in the communications and media industries.