Monday, December 21, 2009

Looks like it's "celebrating the donations" time here at Molly's Blog. Following the previous article here's another good news story as the UFCW from across the continent have raised $86,000 as a donation for workers locked out by XL Beef in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan. Yeah, I know it's not the centre of the universe, just as here in Manitoba the plight of workers locked out by Tembec in Pine Falls hardly blips onto the world screen. Multiply these isolated incidents in out of the way places to what they actually are, however, and you see a vicious pattern of managerial assault on ordinary workers.
The following is a "good news story", just as the previous 'Operation Christmas Cheer' reported here at Molly's Blog is such a thing. I suppose, however, that I have to get my "grouch" in. It has been some time since the UFCW asked the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour to support a boycott of XL Beef. The SFL spokesman came out with a disparaging statement about the idea, and since that time little has been heard about it. Can anyone say "death by neglect" ? It seems as if the UFCW Union is unwilling to publicly challenge the SFL about their lack of action. Too bad. This is one of the many instances that point to the need for independent voices, not just in Canada's unions but amongst "the left" in general, voices that are not mouthpieces for this or that organization. Too much get swept under the carpet. The SFL should be challenged to say whether it is or is not willing to support such a boycott and to give its reasons if not. My own opinion, for what it is worth is that, given the fact that XL Beef is marketed internationally, that the UFCW should go ahead with a boycott whether they have the support of the SFL or not.
OK, enough preaching. Here's the story from the Moose Jaw Times.
UFCW stands behind local XL Beef employees:
$86,000 US.
That’s how much United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) from across North America gave local XL Beef employees currently on lock out on Friday.

“It may seem at times this is a fight you’re taking on by yourself, but you’re not by yourself,” UFCW vice president and food processing and packing director Mark Lauritsen told about 60 local workers, who were picketing across the road from XL Beef plant.

Lauritsen said the fight was important not just in Moose Jaw, but to anyone who works in the beef-packing industry in Canada and the U.S.

Lauritsen then presented UFCW Local 1400 president Norm Neault with an envelope containing $86,000, which the union collected from its members in from both countries following a recent sector meeting.

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