As Dan Bouchard, Recording Secretary, CUPE 2544, pointed out, this battle will set a precedent. If Coke manages to pad it’s pockets just a little more by robbing employee’s piggy banks in its next collective agreement, despite its 9-billion in profits, it will do it again when the next one comes up. Other corporations will follow its example, and slowly but surely the floor will drop for all workers. Everywhere. CAW Local 973 is the front line on a battle that could spread to every single Canadian worker.
This lockout was premeditated on Coke’s part, with employees escorted off the premises, and a ten foot fence erected before the deadline was even reached. With only 39 hours at the table, Coke had no intention of ‘negotiating’. During a ‘labour dispute’ though, Coke can hire ‘contingency workers’, without bothering with things like pensions, seniority or benefits. Pretty clever, actually, and a quick and dirty workaround for laws that make it illegal to just fire all the union workers, and replace them with cheap ‘temps’. This isn’t a strike. It’s a strategy. And it’s setting a hell of a precedent, and will touch off a corporate race to the bottom for workers that hasn’t been seen in over a century. If you’re not alarmed, you’re not paying attention. Or you’re one of the 1%. For the rest of us, this is just an early skirmish in a much greater war.
We need our legislators to take notice, lest this become the new way of doing business. Tell Coke to get back to the table, and bargain in good faith with the people who ARE the foundation of the company. If Coke is allowed to walk away from the table, replacing 700 workers with cheap ‘temps’, others will follow. Soon there will be no ‘good’ jobs left, and the bar will go down for all of us, while both corporate profits and the cost of living for workers continues to skyrocket.
We all deserve a living wage.
C’mon Coke. #Fairdeal