10/12/07

What is a scab?

During the ongoing Steelworkers forestry strike, there have been some press reports about people breaking the strike and scabbing Both the Oxford Dictionary and the Gage Canadian Dictionary define scab as “a worker who will not join a trade union or takes a strikers place ...”

In this strike we have a hodge podge. There are some companies working while others are on strike. Anyone who crosses a picket line is a scab, but this time there are many variations to consider. Some union workers have a contract that expires at a different time than the Coast Master Agreement and they are working legally.

Other non-union companies are still working and undermining the strikers and themselves and that will be the union’s job to educate and organize them.

One problem comes with people who have retired from the unionized forest industry, taken the pension, and then return to work for a non-union company to keep their pension and get wages at the same time. They too are working during this strike. They are a drain on the workers’ pension plan, and they undermine the strike. Many of these same workers have relied on the union to maintain their jobs in the past. Are they scabs?

I guess that’s up to their fellow workers to decide. Then there are the strikers who run off and work non-union while the strike is on. This may look good, but it only prolongs the strike as the companies can keep making money while other families are suffering. Remember that if the union loses this strike we all lose: pensioners, unionized workers and non-union workers will see a reduction in income and that will affect our communities.

The real blame lies with the government as they ordered the expired contract and set the different dates of expiration. They once again proved how mean spirited they can be by setting worker against worker.

(westcoaster.ca)

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