PC World Occupation
September 12, 1997
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PC World Occupation
Plant occupations could become more common place, if corporations continue to abuse the law and use scab labour to bust Unions. In the early morning hours of September 8th the striking workers at PC World in Toronto occupied the plant. They quickly, and orderly, welded shut the access doors. The occupation was born out of frustration.
The members of CAW Local 124 had been on the picket line for eight months. The union bargaining team offered a three-year stand still deal, with no wage hikes until the end of 1999. The company demanded a 30 per cent wage cut, hired scabs, and ignored the "bargaining in bad faith" ruling from the Labour Board.
CAW Local 124 President
"The frustration is really high. The employees see no end to this. We as a union see no end to this other than taking this type of position, which we feel, would influence the employer back to the bargaining table and an effective collective agreement."
CAW Local 124 members were not alone in their fight. Members of other CAW locals and other unions in southwestern Ontario rallied behind them.
Asst. to CAW National Pres.
"We can't stand by and watch scabs work while we have immigrant workers, visible minorities, women on a damn picket line for 8 or nine months, with an employer who has no , no idea of how to attain a settlement here. They are just using the law to frustrate the issue and to make sure they bust the union here and we are not going to stand by and see that happen."
A lot of the blame belongs to the Mike Harris government. Changes in Ontario's Labour Relations Act have created an imbalance in power between labour and management and have opened the door for this type of abuse by employers.
Asst. CAW National Pres.
"The government has an obligation here to try and ensure that the climate, that the legislation doesn't provide for the employers to break the law and simply delay and delay and delay and use the delay to frustrate the process."
Until there are changes in the law. Until employers stop using scab labour to break legal strikes, job actions such as plant occupations may be the only choice left, to protect the rights of the workers.
CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."