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Unifor video that names, shames replacement workers sparks debate


ST. JOHN’S, N.L.- A union video that identifies replacement workers who crossed the picket line during an ongoing lockout in Gander, N.L., has prompted a debate over the ethics of naming and shaming such workers.

The minute-long video titled “meet the scabs” was posted to Unifor Canada’s Twitter and Facebook channels on Sept. 6, showing images and names of workers hired as replacements for the 30 D-J Composites workers who have been locked out of their jobs since December 2016.

As of Monday, the Twitter video had more than 700 responses, many of which were critical of Unifor’s tactics shaming the workers rather than the employer, with some saying the video amounts to bullying.

Unifor’s Atlantic regional director, Lana Payne, said the video is one of many ways the union is “stepping up our efforts on all fronts” after almost two years of social media campaigning, letters to the provincial government and negotiations with the American-based employer.

Payne also questioned why the public has not felt the same outrage for the locked out workers, noting that the provincial Labour Relations Board has found the employer in violation of the provincial Labour Relations Act twice for failing to bargain in good faith.

Tom Cooper, a professor of business ethics at Memorial University, said naming people involved in labour disputes is not a new tactic, but the permanent and public nature of online videos can do more harm than good in a case like Gander’s – for the locked out workers’ cause and the replacement workers’ privacy.

Copyright (c) 2017 The Canadian Press