RailLine Volume 11 – Issue 7

Main Image
a group of striking workers stand with picket signs

Autoport attempts to strike bust with use of scab labour

Autoport is attempting to strike bust with the use of scabs, some brought in from out of province, who are violating the legal picket line of Unifor Local 100 members who commenced strike action at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, February 27, 2024.

“The planned use of scabs shows Autoport was not serious about reaching a fair agreement. The use of scab labour is proven to lengthen disputes and the company’s actions have only increased the difficulty of obtaining a deal,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National President. “This highlights the need for the federal government to move quickly to pass anti-scab legislation to prevent companies, like Autoport, from trying to bully workers instead of negotiating a fair contract.” 

Negotiations between the union and the employer began on September 28, 2023 and were ongoing up until the strike deadline. 

"Our priority has always been to secure a fair deal that reflects the value of our members' work," said Cory Will, President of Unifor Local 100. "While this was not the outcome we hoped for, our resolve remains strong and we are fully prepared to engage in strike action to uphold the rights and fair treatment of our members.”

The union remains open to resuming negotiations and hopes that Autoport will return to the table with a renewed commitment to finding a viable resolution. Autoport, an entity of Canadian National (CN) Rail, is directing this dispute. It's essential to recognize that Autoport operates under the direction of CN Rail, underscoring the broader context of this labour dispute.

Unifor has long advocated for anti-scab legislation. The use of scabs undermines workers’ collective power, unnecessarily prolongs labour disputes, and removes the essential power that the withdrawal of labour is supposed to give workers to help end a dispute, which is the ability to apply economic pressure. The union urges both the federal government to pass Bill C-58 and the province of Nova Scotia to adopt its own anti-scab legislation, mirroring the examples of British Columbia and Quebec, while also expediting the implementation of the ban on replacement workers. This is crucial as it clarifies that Autoport is not under federal certification. 

Unifor Local 100 represents 239 employees at the Autoport vehicle processing and transshipment hub, situated in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia. Operating under CN Rail, Autoport stands as one of the most extensive facilities of its kind in North America, processing and transshipping close to 185,000 vehicles annually.