The Alberta Federation of Labour responded to an Alberta Labour Relations Board (LRB) decision handed down today banning two high-ranking managers from the picket line, any strike-related activity and from any future negotiations. The AFL says the "unprecedented" decision highlights the outrageous behaviour of Tyson's managers at Lakeside, and should prompt the government to step in.
"Lakeside's Manager of Human Resources has been banned by the LRB from negotiating with the union or even having any contact with the union," says AFL President Gil McGowan. "This speaks volumes about Tyson's approach to bargaining. Rather than trying to get a deal, one of their lead negotiators is running the union leader off the road."
"This decision is unprecedented. The LRB never bans employer representatives from strike activity," notes McGowan. "The actions of these two men were so outrageous that the LRB felt it had to ban them. This is a huge statement."
The LRB ruled that Andrew Crocker, head of security for the plant, and Carey Kopp, Human Resources Manager, "deliberately pursued a vehicle driven by Doug O'Halloran & putting the lives of O'Halloran and other drivers on the road in danger." (page 2 of decision) It ordered both Kopp and Crocker to desist from any contact with strikers or union officials, to not be within 200 metres of the picket line, or to engage in any dispute-related misconduct. It also banned both men from being present during any negotiations. The LRB decision is available on-line at http://www.alrb.gov.ab.ca/decisions.html.
"How can we expect the union to sit down at a table with people who, directly or indirectly, just tried to injure the union president?" asks McGowan. "There is no hope of good faith bargaining from Tyson given this incident."
McGowan renewed the AFL's call for the government to step in to resolve the strike. "How much more evidence do they need that Tyson is not interested in negotiating a resolution? This company has no intention of signing a collective agreement. The government needs to intervene to protect the democratic rights of these workers."
"What does it take for workers to be protected in this province? Do we need to see more illegal acts?" wonders McGowan.
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For more information call:
Gil McGowan, AFL President at 780.915-4599 (cell) or 780.483-3021 (wk)