Unifor launches national Anti-scab legislation campaign

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Anti-Scab Law Now

May 13, 2021

REGINA – Unifor is launching a national campaign calling on all elected provincial, territorial and federal legislators to enact anti-scab legislation, to restore balance to collective bargaining.

“Scabs remove any incentive for the boss to bargain fairly and they tip the balance of power in favour of employers,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “When the boss can fly in scabs, it undermines the workers who want to exercise their right to withdraw services when an employer is unreasonable.”

Only Quebec and British Columbia have anti-scab legislation to prevent the use of replacement workers.

Today Unifor is releasing a new research report at our virtual Prairie Regional Council, called Fairness on the line: The case for anti-scab legislation in Canada. This study includes internal data and analysis never publicly released before, detailing the cold hard facts on the negative impact scabs have on labour disputes.

Since Unifor formed in 2013, our three longest labour disputes in terms of overall days lost involved the use of scabs. Labour disputes that involved scabs lasted on average six times longer than those without scabs.

“We know all too well that scabs unnecessarily prolong labour disputes, defeat morale, fracture workplace relationships and cause tension and sometimes even violence,” said Dias.

“It’s like a kick to the face,” said one worker about watching scabs cross his picket line to steal his pay cheque, in a new video about the damage and pain scabs cause in labour disputes.

Unifor is launching a national petition calling on federal government to update Canada’s Labour Code as follows:

  • Prohibit employers from using replacement workers for the duration of any legal strike or lockout
  • Include significant financial penalties for employers who defy the legislation
  • Allow limited use of temporary workers, only to undertake essential maintenance work to protect the integrity and safety of the workplace

The full report has been sent to every elected federal and provincial politician and the provinces to change provincial labour legislation and includes case studies on recent disputes and interviews with workers about the impacts on families, workplaces and communities.

The video and photos in the report are available to media for unrestricted use.

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.

For media inquiries or to arrange a Skype, Zoom or Facetime interview please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe at @email or 416-896-3303 (cell).