Steelworkers cite IBB solidarity for ending strike

District Lodge D11 members refuse to unload barges

BOILERMAKER CEMENT LODGES in western Canada are credited with helping to end a strike and lockout between Lafarge and United Steelworkers (USW) Local 816 in early May.

IBB Local D385 (Vancouver, British Columbia) and Local D277 (Bamberton, British Columbia) refused to unload barges carrying lime from quarries operated by the Steelworkers following a strike and subsequent lockout. The labor dispute ran from April 27 to May 6.

“Our agreement with Lafarge states that we will not unload any product that originates from behind a picket line,” said Cement District Lodge D11 Business Manager Rob Lauzon. “After we refused to unload the barges and filed a grievance, the company met with the Steelworkers and worked out an agreement within 24 hours.”

USW District 3 staff rep Early Graham wrote a letter praising the Boilermakers for their solidarity. He stated that the Boilermakers’ refusal to unload the barges “put an enormous amount of pressure on the company.” He noted that “the company’s negotiators showed up at the Labour Relations Board unannounced to us and wanted to reconsider their positions.”

Joe Maloney, Boilermaker IVP for Western Canada, said the successful resolution of the dispute demonstrates the power of solidarity. “This is a great example of how mutual support between unions can help resolve conflict with management. We are happy that the Steelworkers were able to end the strike and lockout, and get back to work. I’m proud that our members stood their ground with Lafarge.”