Stone Canyon’s Attempts to Intimidate Salt Workers Fall Flat
In the face of growing support from workers across Windsor-Essex, Ontario and Canada, the owners of Windsor Salt, Stone Canyon Industries Holdings Inc. are engaging in more desperate attempts to try and break the workers’ fighting unity and spirit. They are currently mobilizing the full force of security forces to do their bidding. These attempts aimed at convincing the workers they are powerless in order to dispirit them are falling flat because the workers have a just cause against contracting out and union-busting.
On April 25, the company brought in more ships to try to move rock salt from the mine. To ensure the ship could dock and no picket line would be established on the Detroit River which the Seafarer’s union which works on the ships has said it would respect, a number of RCMP boats, Canadian Coast Guard and Windsor Police vessels were dispatched at the request of Stone Canyon. Windsor Salt management tied the ship to the port and loaded salt obtained during the strike with management crews operating the underground mine since Ontario Mine Rescue brought its equipment back into the facility.
The show of force brings neither the police forces nor the company honour in the eyes of the workers or people of Windsor. It re-affirms the workers’ experience throughout this strike that the law, the law enforcement agencies including the courts which are never neutral, in today’s conditions are being used as instruments of imposing non-negotiated conditions onto the workers. While the workers have done their utmost to follow the law and abide by the injunction the company obtained from the courts, which has been made indefinite, the company uses this to operate the mine, remove the salt and prolong the strike, all the while not negotiating in good faith.
At the evaporation plant, the company staged a show of force by sending in nearly 50 trucks. Their cheap tricks were not fooling anyone however because even when running full production with a full shift only roughly 20 trucks can be loaded in a day. It costs roughly $3000 for each short haul truck to make runs on short notice like these. In the current circumstances, in some cases trucks are only loading 1 or 2 skids of salt when a truck would normally hall 25-28 skids. The workers have concluded that the whole thing is a pretty lame attempt to make them believe that somehow the company can just carry on business as usual. They consider it a cheap attempt to break their ranks which isn’t going to happen.
The expressions of support both big and small all make a difference so that the workers can continue to hold the line and uphold the dignity of the entire labour movement in Canada. Everyone is encouraged to make it a regular occurrence to get to the picket lines and show their support in concrete ways.