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Legal System Can't be
Used to Break Strikes
The RCMP was warned this week in a New Brunswick courtroom not to use the criminal justice system as a means of resolving labour disputes.
Judge Stephen Hutchinson of the Provincial Court of New Brunswick insisted upon the attendance of an RCMP officer when rendering his decision in the case of a member of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada who had been charged by the RCMP during a picket-line incident.
The woman, who is on strike against Solutions International Inc. near Dalhousie, was found not guilty.
In his comments the judge said the RCMP should avoid using the criminal justice system as a means of resolving labour disputes, and he insisted upon the attendance of an RCMP officer during his oral decision.
Max Michaud, CEP Atlantic Vice-President says the decision highlights the need for RCMP and police officers to receive special training on how to deal with labour disputes.
"Too often throughout labour history, law enforcement officers have been used as tools of corporate power during strikes and lock-outs," says Michaud. "This decision sends a clear message to the police and to employers that this has to stop."
CEP members who work at Solutions International have been on strike since July. The union is trying to obtain a fair first agreement for the 40 -- mostly women -- workers who are making near minimum wage and working under what the union calls "sweatshop labour conditions".
Solutions International Inc. produce bottles of shampoo, lotions, and other toiletries.
The Columbia Journal
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