Windsor Salt workers go on strike

Windsor Salt workers stand on the picket line on Friday.  (Darryl G. Smart/ CBC News - photo credit)

Windsor Salt workers stand on the picket line on Friday. (Darryl G. Smart/ CBC News – photo credit)

Windsor Salt workers at Unifor Locals 1959 and 240 began striking at midnight, saying their contract demands had not been met.

Unions are negotiating with Windsor Salt for the first time since US holding company Stone Canyon Industries bought the company in 2021.

Eric Brown is a member of the maintenance committee and a certified health and safety representative on the negotiation committee. He said standing on the picket line in solidarity is important to the present and future of every employee.

“We do not take standing on the picket line lightly,” Brown said. “But if a company is looking for job security, for a younger worker like me and some of these guys who are going to be here for more than 20 years and you’re going to cut my job and outsource it to non-union workers and have the potential to take my job to forgive unilaterally, among other concessions.”

According to a Unifor press release, Stone Canyon officials are refusing to discuss financial demands until the union agrees to give the company the green light to hire non-union workers to fill jobs at its salt mine.

Negotiations between the company and the union have stalled.

“Talks haven’t been going well since Jan. 16,” said Local 1959 president Bill Wark. “These people have been working during a pandemic. They were essential workers during a pandemic. They gave their all to continue operations and rendered an essential service. And the company came up with unilateral concessions on job security and contracting. we’re on the picket line.”

“We will not allow the company to weaken union protections in the workplace.”

In a statement to CBC News, Windsor Salt said it negotiated in good faith.

“Unfortunately, our unionized workers at these sites went on strike at midnight this morning. We remain committed to negotiating agreements that are competitive and fair to both our people and our company and will help position our company for long-term growth in the Windsor community.”

Unifor represents the mine clerks, workers at the Ojibway mine and workers in the evaporation processing fields, totaling 250 employees.

Lana Payne, President of Unifor National, said: “Workers at Windsor Salt have the full support of our union.”


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