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Rally to support workers locked out 597 days

August 7, 2018

GANDER - Union members from across Atlantic Canada showed solidarity with Local 597 members at D-J Composites today to mark the 597th day of a shameful lock out.

“The workers of D-J Composites have shown remarkable strength and resolve in the 19 months since they were locked out by their employer,” said FFAW-Unifor President Keith Sullivan at the rally.  “This situation has exposed the complete inadequacy of our province’s labour laws when it comes to protecting the rights of workers when employers decide to trample on those rights.”

Kansas State based D-J Composites has been found guilty of breaking provincial labour laws twice with no consequence.

Mary Shortall, President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, FFAW - Unifor members, and people from the Gander community joined the locked workers at a community barbecue to show support for workers who have been on the picket line since December 2016.

“The government and the minister continue to say they must remain neutral, but when they do they are condoning the behaviour of D-J Composites, which continues to use scabs to prolong this lockout,” said Iggy Oram, Unit Chair for Local 597. “This has gone on too long and it is so hard on our members and our families,”

“We want our members in Gander to know that our union has their backs and we will continue to push for stronger labour laws in their name,” said Ian Hutchison, Unifor Atlantic Regional Chair, who travelled from Saint John New Brunswick to support the workers.

Provincial NDP Leader Gerry Rogers said comments from the Minister of Labour Al Hawkins saying the issue of settling the dispute is up to the Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Board Relations misses the entire point of what is needed here.

“The government must first act to provide strong laws and regulations for agencies like the labour board. It’s time for the minister to stop blaming the board and start doing his job.”

Lana Payne, Atlantic Regional Director, has repeatedly requested meetings with Premier Dwight Ball. “His failure to even respond speaks volumes” said Payne.

Photos available for publication will be posted here.

For more information, please contact Unifor Director of Communications Natalie Clancy: Natalie.Clancy@unifor.org or (902) 478-9238 (cell).