LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec — Two dozen pickets at the Masonite plant here warmly greeted this Militant worker-correspondent and three others who made the three-hour trip from Montreal to bring them solidarity and donuts Feb. 27. The factory is located up the hill from where 47 people were killed in 2013 when a Montreal, Maine and Atlantic train derailed and blew up.
The 190 members of the Confederation of Democratic Unions (CSD), who make prefabricated doors, voted 83% to reject the employers’ latest contract offer and went on strike Feb. 17 over wages and insurance. The last contract ran out in December.
Strikers are demanding a 3 Canadian dollar ($2.20) an hour raise for the first year, and CA$1 each of the next two years. Starting wages are roughly CA$23 an hour. And they want information on the medical plans offered at the company’s other plants, which the bosses haven’t delivered.
A few days before the last contract vote, Emilie Boucher, a union representative with nine years in the plant, said, “The company laid off 42 workers just to scare people. It didn’t work.”
Spirits on the line are high as drivers honk in solidarity. Vincent Audet, vice president of the city workers union, told the Militant he brought coffee to the line the previous week. Many other town residents know about the strike and have friends and relatives who work there. Pickets are up Monday to Friday.