Solidarity rally calls for government intervention in lock-out


Lana Payne and members of Local 597 hold signs and banners on the steps of Newfoundland and Labrador's confederation building.

Members of several unions attended a solidarity rally on the steps of Newfoundland and Labrador's confederation building to support 32 Unifor members who were locked out by their American-based employer in Gander one year ago today.

“For 365 days they have stood up to impossible demands from their employer.. and inspired trade unionists from across the country with their courage, their heart and their determination,” said Lana Payne, Atlantic Regional Director

“We demand that the laws be changed so no employer can get away with throwing people out in the cold with no consequences,” said Payne, pointing out that that D-J Composite was found guilty of bad faith bargaining on May 3, 2017.

The rally was held moments after Unifor filed a second complaint alleging D-J Composites has failed to comply with the board’s May ruling and continues to bargain in bad faith, contrary to Section 75 of the Labour Relations Act.

“The government needs to step into this dispute. When we have labour laws that give more rights to a company headquartered in Kansas than it does to the men and women working in Newfoundland, that is shameful,” said Shane Wark, Assistant to the National President.

“The financial burden and stress has taken a toll on all of us…we will not let an American company ruin our Christmas,” said Donna Fretwell, who was among 30 workers who were bussed to the rally from Gander, and was surprised to receive a $300 gift card donated by Unifor offshore workers.

Fretwell thanked unions across Canada for sending donations and support as they face another long cold winter on a picket line. Several workers shed tears as donations were announced from Unifor’s B.C., Prairie, Ontario, and Atlantic Councils and Unifor locals 2121, 501N, 5454, along with donations and support from other unions including NAPE, CUPE NL and NLFL.

The crowd cheered as one labour leader called the owner of D-J Composites, Resaul Chowdhury  “a Grinch who is stealing another Christmas.”

To see more photos from the rally click here.

To learn more about this lock-out and how you can help, visit