Marystown plant workers vow to fight OCI closure
Former fish plant workers in Marystown emerged from a union meeting Tuesday night, saying they'll continue to fight Ocean Choice International's decision to close their local plant.
About 200 workers attended the closed-door meeting with Fish, Food and Allied Workers union president Earle McCurdy.
McCurdy has had several meetings with Ocean Choice and government officials since last Friday when the company announced that its Marystown plant, and Port Union on the Bonavista Peninsula, will remain closed.
No one would say what McCurdy had to said inside the room, but former plant worker Joan Drake said the workers' resolve to fight the company's decision is stronger than ever.
"Everybody is standing together and we're going to fight back," she said.
Plant worker Bill Stockley was also at the meeting. He says people want work, not make-work and they can't believe OCI would drop such a bombshell in December.
"We're lookin' at a very, very dismal and sad Christmas. The majority of the people have been there for 30 to 40 years. We expected more from a company than given a kick in the butt this time of the year," he said.
Exactly what the plant workers and union can do to re-open the plant remains to be seen. None of the workers said what will happen next, other than to promise that they'll continue to block access to plant property. Former plant worker Don Hannam hinted at other plans.
"More civil disobedience in regards to picket lines and protest lines," he said.
The Marystown workers are taking shifts on a picket line, guarding the plant. They're afraid that OCI will take equipment out of the building before it has a chance to listen to the union's options.
OCI announced last week that it had no choice but to close the Marystown plant as well as Port Union.
The Port Union plant has been closed since September 2010, when Hurricane Igor struck the town and severely damaged the building.