Workers Across the Country Provide Invaluable Support for Salt Workers
The salt workers on strike in Windsor, Ontario, are receiving important expressions of support from far and wide. The more workers across the country become aware of the salt workers’ valiant stand against the company’s plans to contract out their jobs, which amounts to union-busting, and their determination to engage in negotiations for wages and working conditions which meet their just claims, the more they identify with the salt workers and express their support.
The support of the workers from Pugwash, Nova Scotia who have fought the same company’s methods which use the power of money and support from the state to sow divisions in their ranks and dictate outcomes, as well as the immediate support from Rio Tinto workers in Alma, Quebec represent the profound solidarity which marks the workers’ movement in this country.
They also enjoy the support of the thousands of Ontario teachers who do not agree with the Teachers’ Pension Fund, one of the largest in the world, being invested in a union-busting enterprise. So too educators and other public sector workers across the country identify with them because they also do not want their pension funds invested in anti-social ventures, or war production or any ventures which harm the social and natural environment.
Many contingents of workers are visiting the picket line, providing financial support and food to feed the workers’ families every day. Messages of support are coming from all over the United States as well where the experience against so-called right to work states and union-busting is extensive, significant and courageous. The Windsor Salt owners should be very clear that the Windsor Salt workers can hold the line. They should stop playing dirty, dictating, stalling and start negotiating properly because labour is an organized force which defends families, a modern standard of living, their own health and safety and that of the social and natural environment.
From the east coast, Windsor Salt miners from Pugwash, Nova Scotia who have been closely following what is happening in Windsor, got together after a shift at the mine to express their support for their comrades in Windsor. The Pugwash workers point out that the unity and resistance of the workers in Windsor makes them proud and helps them overcome the divisions the company sowed in their ranks using dirty tricks and threats. They see the fight in Windsor as also being their fight with the company and they are joining in give support however they can.
Windsor municipal workers (left) and teachers and education workers visit the picket line.
From Ontario, Unifor members from London as well as representatives of the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario came to visit the picket lines, as have miners from Goderich’s salt mine operations. A delegation of retired steelworkers from USW Local 1005 in Hamilton have also visited the line.
Unions and community members in Windsor-Essex are also stepping up their support for the workers as the strike enters its seventh week. Many unions are organizing to bring in food on a regular basis, either as full meals for the workers or in care packages. The local Unemployed Help Centre donated large food baskets which were all sorted and delivered to the line within an hour by fellow Unifor members. They are also receiving support in the form of donations from local businesses and many continue to visit the lines.
Local education unions have made financial contributions to the strike fund and are encouraging their members to visit the lines to show support. They are considering what more they can do to support especially given the revelation about their pension fund’s substantial investment in the hedge fund owners of Windsor Salt. The support makes all the difference given the large number of workers with one income and young families at Windsor Salt.
All of it shows that the strength of the workers lies in their numbers and organization and it can be deployed in a manner that speaks out to make sure the current crises, union-busting, anti-social offensive and nation-wrecking are resolved in a manner that favours the workers, not the rich and their appeasers. The narrow private interests, most of them supranational, intent on integrating Canada into the U.S. war machine, must be held to account.
Everyone is encouraged to contribute by sending letters of support, motions and financial donations to Unifor Locals 1959 and 240 using the addresses below:
Unifor Local 240 3400 Somme Ave. Windsor, Ontario N8W 1V4
Send copies via email to Jodi@uniforlocal240.ca
For donations, put Local 240 and 1959 Strike in the memo line so that the funds are disbursed between the two locals. Local 1959 represents workers in production while Local 240 represents clerical workers.
Rally at Windsor city hall March 16, 2023 in support of striking salt workers.
United Steelworkers Local 1005 retirees and EmpowerYourselfNow.ca join rally at Windsor Salt picket line, International Women’s Day.
Leaflets distributed in support of Windsor Salt workers at provincial teacher and education worker meetings in Toronto (left) and local meeting of elementary teachers in Windsor.
Laura Chesnik from EmpowerYourselfNow.ca interviews worker on Windsor Salt picketline.