Hay River, N.W.T., Municipal Striking Workers ‘virtual solidarity’ of a LabourStart Action

Low Life Scabs

No appeal today, no ask. Just a rundown of what everyone who participated in the Hay River solidarity campaign helped accomplish in a nasty, nasty strike (now over) in the Northwest Territories.

Those of us who live in cities and large towns can lose track of how isolated workers walking a line in a smaller town can feel. The ‘virtual solidarity’ of a LabourStart action is the next best thing to having a busload of supporters show up.

“Labour Start Canada allowed our striking members to broadcast their message farther than they ever could have alone,” said Jack Bourassa, PSAC Regional Executive Vice President for the North. “The messages of encouragement, perseverance and acknowledgment that flooded back from the campaign also helped bolster members’ spirits and give them the courage to continue the struggle. A big thanks to everyone who contributed to our success!”

Those friendly messages (many from countries the strikers will never visit, from people who will never see Canada) were a welcome counter to a town council that hired scabs and to vandalism directed at the union and the strikers. And to signs like this that followed the pickets:

Every one of us who responded to the UNW/PSAC solidarity appeal helped make it possible for these workers to return to work with their dignity intact, their union stronger.

“We were very grateful and enthusiastic with the support of LabourStart. The e-mail drive came at a critical time in negotiations and gave our members a great boost in morale at a time of replacement worker strife. We know the contribution of LabourStart had a big influence in our achievement of a settlement.” – Todd Parsons, UNW President

So thanks. From LabourStart Canada, and from the workers of Hay River.

Derek Blackadder
LabourStart Canada


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