Bombardier picket line injunction unwarranted, union tells court

The lawyers for Unifor Local 1075 and Bombardier in have stated their cases and are now waiting for a judge's decision on approving a a picket line injunction in Thunder Bay.
About 900 members of Unifor Local 1075 in Thunder Bay have been on strike for the last few weeks. (Josh Lynn/CBC)

The lawyers for Unifor Local 1075 and Bombardier have stated their cases and are now waiting for a judge's decision on approving a picket line injunction in Thunder Bay.

Bombardier wants an injunction against striking workers because it says members of Unifor are not abiding by the picket line protocol previously agreed to.

The lawyer for Bombardier argued there has been flagrant disregard for a protocol that was established by a court order last month.

The company is alleging profane and threatening language is being used on the picket line.

This morning, the court was shown a video of a parts truck being delayed on July 28.

Bombardier's lawyer said he's worried that things will escalate when the company actually starts to ship commuter cars out of the plant, and wants the court to intervene before that happens.

What the company is asking for specifically includes reducing wait times at the picket lines to between 30 seconds and a minute for each vehicle, and removing a cumulative 25-minute rule that was established earlier.

Bombardier is also asking that buses be permitted to enter company property, as opposed to stopping to unload at the picket line.

The company wants the the number of picketers on the line capped at 20, saying the 100 to 200 currently on the line is too many.

But the union's lawyer argued it's not appropriate to order an injunction based on a fear of violence in the future, and said there are alternatives.

Bombardier's request to limit the number of picketers to 20 is "inappropriate" given no violence or damage to property has occurred, the lawyer continued.

When police intervention has been used during picket line disputes, it has worked, he said.

The union lawyer also said members are listening and abide by the rules. Issues have been largely resolved, he noted, so "drastic" changes to picket line order in an injunction are unwarranted.

The judge in the case, Justice Helen Pierce, has reserved her decision. There is no word yet on when the decision will be handed down.  


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