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Canadian Strikes

This subject guide is meant to assist students, particularly those enrolled in IRE1611, with research papers and assignments.

Maritimes and Newfoundland - A Selection of Notable Strikes (click on the tab, then scroll down for information on the strike)

D-J Composites Strike 2016-


Gander, Newfoundland

Union: Unifor, Local 597

Employer: D-J Composites

More than 50 workers at D-J Composites found themselves locked out from their jobs on December 19, 2016. This employee lockout came after 2 years of negotiation for a new collective agreement. While at the bargaining table, D-J Composites had reportedly insisted on freezing wages for some of their employees and a small increase for other employees. In October 2016, the employees had rejected the company's offer and had voted to strike just before the employees were locked out. 

D-J Composites eventually ordered in 'scab' workers to replace those who are on strike. Since replacement workers were brought in, Unifor posted a video called "Meet the SCABS" on their Twitter account, which resulted in a lot of public backlash against the union.

Unifor: D-J Composites Lockout News

CBC News, September 28, 2018: "Fencing out D-J Composites workers 'like a police state,' says company rep"

CBC News, September 27, 2018: "Unifor expands pickets from D-J Composites to government offices in lockout," by Garrett Barry

CBC News, September 26, 2018: "Day 646 of D-J Composites lockout marked by big union rally"

Macleans, September 11, 2018: “What’s the point of a picket line? To stop scabs.” by Terry Glavin

CBC News, September 10, 2018: “D-J Composites worker says 'scabs’ hurting chances of going back to work”

CBC News, September 9, 2018: “Union defends video identifying ‘scabs’ at D-J Composites after workers report threats,” by Andrew Sampson

Unifor Canada, September 6, 2018: “Meet The SCABS” (0:57 secs, video)

CBC News, July 19, 2018: "Tribunal rules long-striking workers at D-J Composites can collect E.I."

Cision, April 9, 2018: "Locked out workers reject D-J Composites offer"

Canadian Manufacturing, December 21, 2016: "Aerospace parts company in Gander, Newfoundland locks out workers"

Halifax Chronicle Herald Newspaper Strike 2016-2017

Negotiations between the Halifax Typographical Union and the Chronicle Herald have broken down. (RYAN TAPLIN / Staff)

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Union: Halifax Typographical Union (Communications Workers of America, Local 30130)

Employer: The Chronicle Herald Ltd.

The Chronicle Herald's unionized newsroom staff hit the picket line on Jan. 22, 2016 over issues of wage and job cuts and increased working hours. The relationship between the Halifax Typographical Union (Communications Workers of America, Local 30130) and Chronicle Herald Ltd. management was deteriorating for some time before the union decided to strike. At the start of the strike the union included 61 reporters, editors, photographers, columnists and support staff. In 2015, workers who printed Canada's oldest independently-owned newspaper were locked out. And the newsroom had two rounds of layoffs before that -- in 2009 and again in 2014. As of late October 2016, union members remained on the picket line. Meanwhile, ten months in, management had also not backed down and continued using temporary workers in place of unionized staff to produce the newspaper and website.

On August 5th, 2017, after 18 months, the union and the newspaper reached a tentative agreement following two days of mediation with mediator William Kaplan. In July 2017 the province launched an Industrial Inquiry Commission that imposed mediation on the two groups, a step the union had repeatedly asked the government to take in recent months. The tentative agreement has averted the appointment of a commissioner to launch an investigation into the causes of the strike and would have provided recommendations to the minister on future steps.

CWA Canada - Halifax Strike

The Chronicle Herald labour relations FAQs

Chronicle Herald and striking journalists may resume talks soon: Both sides hopeful of a return to the bargaining table, but many journalists won't get jobs back, CBC News, Jan 17, 2017, by Preston Mulligan.

The Chronicle Herald heads back to the bargaining table: Unfair labour complaint adjourned as labour strike marches towards its one-year anniversary. The Coast, Jan. 17, 2017, by Jacob Boon .

Chronicle Herald says it's not trying to bust the union of striking journalists, CBC News, Nov. 27, 2016, by Rachel Ward

Striking Chronicle Herald workers file complaint to the Labour Board: Negotiations are still going poorly, The Coast, Nov. 14, 2016, by Rebecca Dingwell.

Chronicle Herald workers journalists enter 7th month of strike, CBC News, July 23, 2016, by Stéphanie Blanchet

Update: Chronicle Herald has a reason for dropping that wage equality clause. March 8, 2016, by Lewis Rendell

Chronicle Herald employees in Halifax strike, CBC News, Jan. 23, 2016, by Rachel Ward

Halifax Water Strike 2015

Union: Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Locals 1431 and 227.

Employer: Halifax Water

After Halifax Water had announced that they would be making changes to employee pension plans, CUPE locals 1431 and 227 went on strike that began on May 19th. One of the main issues of contention was indexed pension (of 2%), which Halifax water only offered to employees making less than $142,000 a year – the union disagreed, wanting the 2% indexing for all employees, regardless of their earnings. Even after the strike had been going for 37 days, both sides rejected the proposals they were offered, creating a standoff between Halifax Water and the striking unions. Halifax Water claimed that they were actually saving money by having workers on strike and they were not under much pressure to end the strike, as the operations were being maintained by non-union employees and management. The strike came to an end after two months, with the agreed upon contract involving annual wage increases, but does include changes to the workers’ pension plan which is ultimately a decrease to their benefits.

"Halifax Water strike at standstill", Canadian Labour Reporter, June 15, 2015.

"Halifax Water strike continues as contract negotiations break off", CBC News, June 26, 2015.

"Halifax Water strike fuelled by dispute over pension", CBC News, July 6, 2015.

"Halifax Water unions vote to accept tentative agreement", CBC News, July 15, 2015.

Labatt Brewery Strike 2013

Labatt Brewery Strike
St. John's, Newfoundland

Union: Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE). Local 7004 (St. John's)

Employer: Labatt Brewing Company

NAPE Local 7004 comprising about fifty workers has been on strike since April 2013. The strike was preceded by a wild cat strike of over two weeks in duration following the company's request for the unionized workers to train their replacements. The request was made days before the expiration date of the workers' collective agreement.

Prior to the legal strike action, a court injunction was issued against the union by the province's supreme court, ruling that workers may not block access to the brewery.

In June the Canadian Labour Congress endorsed a national consumer boycott of Labatt, requested by National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), to national union to which NAPE Local 7004 belongs. The focus is on imported products in order to prevent other unionized Labatt employees in Canada from experiencing a loss of work.

2010 Metrobus Strike


St. John's, Newfoundland

Union: Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU)

Employer: Metrobus

On November 4, 2010 union members rejected their offer and went on strike, leaving bus services suspended. The workers were offered a wage increase of 15.5% over the course of 4 years, however new workers must pay 50% of the costs of their benefit plan. After 6 weeks of having no transit system, mayor Dennis O'Keefe publicly urged both sides to settle the dispute and appointed a mediator to help resolve the strike. The Metrobus strike ended late January of 2011, with buses back on the street on January 31st, 2011.

Hebdon, R., & Brown, T. (2012). Industrial relations in Canada. Toronto: Nelson Education.

"The Metrobus strike is over", The Telegram, January 27, 2011.

Newfoundland Trawlermen Strike 1974-1975

Macdonald, D. (1980). Power begins at the cod end: The Newfoundland trawlerman's strike, 1974-75. St. John's, Nfld: Institute of Social and Economic Research, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Nova Scotia Fishermen Strike 1970-1971

Cameron, S. D. (1977). The education of Everett Richardson: The Nova Scotia fishermen's strike, 1970-71. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart.

Cape Breton Steel Strike 1923

Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Part of the Cape Breton labour wars of the early 1920s, which sought to change the balance of power in Canadian industry by insisting on union recognition and improved living standards for the workers. The Sydney steelworkers went on strike in 1923 seeking union recognition. The provincial police turned out in force and charged through the streets of Whitney Pier. The coal miners came out in a sympathetic strike.

Caplan, R. (2005). Views from the steel plant: Voices and photographs from 100 years of making steel in Cape Breton Island. Wreck Cove, N.S: Breton Books.

MacEwan, P. (1976). Miners and steelworkers: Labour in Cape Breton. Toronto: S. Stevens

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