Nova Scotia Power headquarters stormed by protesters
Oganized labour steps up fight against potential outsourcing
More than 100 union activists briefly occupied the atrium lobby of Nova Scotia Power on Tuesday protesting the potential outsourcing of 250 union jobs at the region's largest utility.
The demonstrators were members of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour taking a noon hour break from their annual convention at a nearby hotel.
"These workers do not stand alone. These are not just the workers at one local. These are the workers in every union, every family of labour in this province," federation president Rick Clarke told a crowd outside the headquarters on the Halifax waterfront.
Chanting slogans like "No justice, no peace," delegates scuffled then brushed past security to demonstrate for about ten minutes inside the large lobby area inside the building.
Clarke quickly brought the demonstration to an end.
"We can imagine what some are going to say, this was an unruly mob. We came out to make a statement," Clarke told the crowd.
"We're not going to let them manipulate the message."
The crowd left chanting "solidarity."
Nova Scotia Power spokesperson Neera Ritcey declined to comment on the short but noisy demonstration.
To save money Nova Scotia Power is considering contracting out a wide range of blue collar jobs currently performed by unionized employees represented by International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local 1928.
The union said half its membership could be affected.
"There are contractors from outside the province looking right now to Nova Scotia to bring in workers," said IBEW business agent Jeff Richardson
Nova Scotia Power has said it will decide in the new year how many, if any jobs will be contracted out.
On Monday the Federation of Labour protesters demonstrated outside an Emera briefing on its plans to import hydroelectricity into Nova Scotia from Labrador.