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No end in sight for L-146 CESSCO lockout

Despite temperatures at -20F/-29C, locked out L-146 Boilermakers stand their ground on the picket line as a busload of scabs approaches. The International has provided coats and snow pants to keep Boilermakers warm on the picket line.

It’s been almost nine months since CESSCO Fabrication & Engineering Ltd. locked out Local 146 (Edmonton, Alberta) Boilermakers after serving up contract demands that gutted wages, pension contributions and critical seniority language—demands that were too unreasonable for the Boilermakers to agree to, especially after negotiating for more than two and a half years. Rather than continuing negotiations, CESSCO president Dave Hummel enacted the lockout, effective June 28, 2020.

Since then, Boilermakers have stood their ground on the picket line every day from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., greeting the scabs CESSCO busses in to do their jobs, in all manner of weather—including bitter temperatures that dipped below -20F/-29C in February. While the Boilermakers have been joined at times by other provincial and national unions, due to pandemic travel restrictions, a smaller core group of L-146 members have been largely shouldering picket line duties alone.

“What Boilermakers are doing in Edmonton, maintaining the picket line faithfully, enduring all manner of weather, is simply awe-inspiring,” said International President Newton B. Jones. “But for the pandemic, Boilermakers from throughout Canada and the U.S. would travel far and wide to relieve, support and encourage these dedicated members. So it’s even more astonishing to see these Boilermakers demonstrating an unrelenting resolve to see this through until CESSCO does right.”

The International most recently provided snow pants for those on the picket line and continues to provide tactical, communication and other support. The Boilermakers are prepared for the long haul.

To no avail, Local 146 has reached out repeatedly to CESSCO requesting to return the locked-out Boilermakers to their jobs under their old contract and to reopen discussions at the bargaining table. IVP-Canada Arnie Stadnick has also appealed in writing several times to Amanda Hawkins, the CEO of CESSCO’s parent company Canerector Inc, seeking a discussion. Hawkins has not replied to any of those requests.

“By all accounts, the Boilermakers who worked at CESSCO counted Amanda Hawkins’ father and grandfather—both of whom preceded her in the role of CEO—as professional allies who respected and valued them as hard-working people who truly care about their role in contributing to CESSCO’s success.” IP Jones said. “Many of these Boilermakers worked for the company for decades, and yet CESSCO and Canerector have unfathomably determined that bussing in scabs—who we understand have already demonstrated they are less skilled in manufacturing pressure vessels to precise codes—is a better path for CESSCO/Canerector’s success than is bringing back the workers who made the quality products that produced the companies’ profits for years.

“What they are doing in refusing to meet, reopen discussions and end the lockout is unconscionable and a complete disregard for human decency and the invaluable contributions of the dedicated workforce that made their success.”

President Jones has reached out to both Dave Hummel and Amanda Hawkins calling for an immediate end to the lockout. (IP Jones’ letters and IVP Stadnicks’ letters can be read online at www.EndOurLockout.org.)

“I want to make it very clear that the full power of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers is firmly behind our brothers at Local 146,” he said.

Stay informed on the latest information about the CESSCO lockout and find out how you can help: www.EndOurLockout.org