Unifor encourages all-party support for NS NDP anti-scab legislation

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Atlantic Regional Director Jennifer Murray stands with Autoport members inside the Nova Scotia Legislature

HALIFAX—The introduction of Nova Scotia NDP legislation to amend the Trade Union Act to protect workers on strike from their employer using replacement, or scab, workers is another important step toward more fair and free collective bargaining.

“Anti-scab legislation is about leveling the playing field and upholding workers’ Constitutional rights,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne. “Unifor is calling on Premier Tim Houston and every sitting MLA to vote to support amendments to the Trade Union Act to protect striking workers so situations like the one at CN Autoport can’t happen again.”

Unifor members rallied outside the Nova Scotia Legislature this morning, alongside members from other unions, to call for all-party support for the NDP legislation. Workers from CN Autoport also sat in the gallery to witness the bill’s presentation and to be recognized in the House.

The 239 workers at CN Autoport, a wholly-owned and provincially regulated subsidiary of CN Rail in Eastern Passage, N.S., began their legal strike on February 27, 2024, and within hours, the employer had replacement workers on-site doing the union members’ jobs.

“The use of scabs puts the safety of every individual in the workplace and on the picket line in jeopardy and removes the incentive for the company to return to the bargaining table, which is the ultimate goal of a strike,” said Atlantic Regional Director Jennifer Murray. “No one wins when a strike is prolonged or when untrained, ill-equipped and often poorly paid workers are suddenly thrown into a workplace.”

Bill C-58, the federal anti-scab legislation, made its way through its second reading in the House of Commons with all-party support on the same day the CN Autoport strike began. British Columbia and Quebec already have protections for workers against the use of scab labour.

Unifor is advocating for every jurisdiction across Canada to pass anti-scab legislation to restore workers’ Constitutionally-protected right to strike.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

Media Contact

Shelley Amyotte

National Communications Representative - Atlantic Region