Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Anti-union company emboldened by anti-union governments

"Anti-union company emboldened by anti-union governments

The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) condemned Viterra today for its ongoing attack on members of the Grain Services Union (GSU) who work for Viterra across the Prairies.

A collective bargaining dispute is underway with two bargaining units of the GSU, who are in a legal strike position as of 12:01 AM on July 2, 2008. Presently Viterra is refusing to resume negotiations and has essentially given the union a final offer. Both affected bargaining units recently voted to reject the offer.

“We have been watching carefully Viterra’s attempts to break the union following the buyout of the competition by predecessor Saskatchewan Wheat Pool. Viterra is not respecting the collective bargaining relationship with their workers, one that has been in place for seventy years. We condemn any employer who does not recognize this important relationship and does not bargain in good faith,” said Larry Hubich, President of the SFL.

“It was through the sacrifice of hundreds of workers that Saskatchewan Wheat Pool was able to survive and ultimately become Viterra. The aggressive anti-worker, anti-union posture of Viterra management betrays the sacrifices made by those workers. At a time of unprecedented growth and optimism on the Prairies, and at a time of significant challenges related to retention and recruitment, the approach of Viterra management towards their workers defies logic,” added Hubich.

The SFL calls on all workers and citizens to support GSU members in their efforts to get a fair collective agreement, and in their struggle to have their constitutional right to freedom of association respected by their employer.

“Personally as a Viterra shareholder, I am embarrassed that this corporation would resort to such draconian tactics in its dealings with its dedicated and skilled workforce. The actions of the Harper government, who is trampling on democracy in his approach to the Canadian Wheat Board, are obviously emboldening this employer. Brad Wall’s government, who is rolling back legislation that protects workers’ rights, is further creating an environment that supports union-busting and prolonged labour disputes,” added Hubich.

The SFL represents nearly 95,000 unionized workers from 37 affiliated unions in Saskatchewan."
Download news release in PDF from SFL website here....

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