October 19, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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Uniformed, Lobla agrees to return to talks on Thursday

Uniformed, Lobla agrees to return to talks on Thursday

Dominion Strikers set up on Monday at Western Foods in Mount Pearl. They were met Tuesday night in the presence of police. (Uniform / Twitter)

The union, which represents the striking Dominion workers and Lobla Companies Limited, agreed to resume talks on Thursday in a bid to resolve the two-month-long strike.

Uniforms will meet at 10 a.m. in a media announcement that it will not hold a second picket while negotiations continue, such as a picket line set up at Western Foods in Mount Pearl.

“We are excited to be back on the bargaining table. Unifor has always maintained that the strike will end with intense negotiations between Lobla Co. and the Union,” Jerry Dias, National President of Unifor, said in a statement.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has been accused of threatening striking workers after they showed up at the Western Foods picket line on Tuesday night.

Regional NDP leader Alison Coffin said in a statement on Wednesday that RNC action was unnecessary for a legitimate and peaceful picket line, endangering workers’ rights in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“It’s an unnecessary use of police resources. I questioned how our enforcement agencies were able to mobilize 30 riot officers at midnight last night, especially when asked to raise enforcement budgets,” Coffin said.

“It’s about using more energy to deliver breads across the city in a timely manner. My office is reaching out [Chief Joe] Boland, and uniform representatives to get more information on why this happened last night. “

She spoke to Boland‌, speaking to Coffin reporters after question time on Wednesday. Coffin, who spoke with the chief, said she understood it made sense to deploy officers on Tuesday on a policy basis. But, Coffin said, the approach could have been done differently.

“When I got to the picket line there was an enormous police presence, and with smooth tactical gear, 30 officers coming at you with lights flashing in the dark … it was very scary,” she said.

“I think maybe taking a better approach. Daytime might be a good time to do so.”

The union, which represents workers who have been on strike for two months, has not wronged its members.

Dozens of police officers were at the scene of the uniform picket line at Western Foods on Tuesday night. (Uniform / Twitter)

Chris McDonald, chief negotiator for workers and assistant to Unifor national president Jerry Dias, said members were blocking production trucks from leaving the site to bring Lobla back to the bargaining table.

During question time in the Assembly on Wednesday, PC MHA Helen Conway Ottenheimer asked Justice Minister Steve Croker why police should be allowed to break the peaceful and lawful picket path. Croker said he did not direct police operations, but praised Coffin for talking to Boland and the chief was available to talk to Conway Ottenheimer.

A matter of public safety

The union said it had threatened to arrest the pickers. The RNC did not confirm in a statement Wednesday that arrest threats had been made, but said “all communication with the strike action leadership was respectful” and that the police force “focused on communication and education as it relates to public safety.”

“Although the RNC recognizes that the strike action will affect the day-to-day operations of Loblas, it is imperative that delays occur and that all parties involved be made aware of the legal parameters that hinder the activities,” the release reads.

Constant. RNC Media Relations Officer James Kadigan later told CBC News that police forces had received complaints from the public about the striking workers, but did not give specific details.

“We will respond and receive information from the officers on the scene and apply resources appropriately based on that information,” he said.

Among the resources used in Tuesday night’s incident was RNC’s public order unit, which said Kadigan was a highly trained officer in de – escalation and crowd management.

About 1,400 Dominion workers from 11 stores in the province have been on strike since August after Lobla reduced a $ 2 wage increase implemented for workers needed during the epidemic.

Workers are calling for more full-time jobs, with 60 full-time positions being converted to part-time in 2019 and 80 percent of employees working part-time.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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