Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
Union: Canadian Association of Smelter and Allied Workers. Local 4.
Employer: Royal Oak Mines Incorporated
In May 1992 at Giant Mine, near Yellowknife, Royal Oak Mines locked out Local 4 of the Canadian Association of Smelter and Allied Workers (which eventually joined the Canadian Auto Workers) and the union went on strike at midnight. With the declining price of gold, the company demanded paycuts and the CASAW refused, resulting in a protracted and violent dispute which lasted eighteen months. The company flew in replacement workers and hired Pinkerton Security to protect them and mine property from the strikers. Royal Canadian Mounted Police reacted to the rising threat of violence by bringing in extra officers, including a riot squad.
In September 1992, during ongoing labour unrest, a deliberately-set explosion underground killed nine miners (strikebreakers/replacement workers). Union member and dismissed miner Roger Warren later confessed to and was convicted by a jury of nine counts of second degree murder, being sentenced to life imprisonment. There was also a civil suit (see Fullowka v. Royal Oak Ventures Inc. below) and a Canada Labour Relations Board decision (see below).
The striking miners eventually returned to work in December 1993.
Singh, P., Zinni, D.M. & Jain, H.C. (2005). The effects of the use of striker replacement workers in Canada: An analysis of four cases. Labor Studies Journal, 30(2), 61-85.
Pohl, H., Sutton, A., Bulgutch, M., Harrison, M., Murphy, M., & Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. (1993). CBC news in review: [April 1993]. Toronto, Ont: CBC News.
Selleck, L., & Thompson, F. (1997). Dying for gold: The true story of the Giant mine murders. Toronto: HarperCollins.
Staples, D., & Owens, G. (1995). The third suspect. Red Deer, Alta: Red Deer College Press.
Civil suit (Fullowka v. Royal Oak Ventures Inc.):
CBC Giant Mine widows' claim rejected by top court, February 18, 2010
In the CLRB decision Royal Oak Mines was compelled to return to the bargaining table on the basis that its refusal to discuss grievance arbitration with the union constituted an unreasonable limitation on the bargaining process and thereby represented a lack of good faith.
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