Our 100th year has not been without turmoil either, as the Local 1
fought a costly, and ultimately unsuccessful, four and one-half month
lockout against Labatt, during which the Local leadership attempted
to disaffiliate from the Union and join with the Labourers International
Union of North America.
Key to the difficulties faced during this dispute was that the Toronto
membership had reached a memorandum of agreement in January 2002 (which
was ratified by 95% of the employees in that bargaining unit), while
the London membership rejected an offer with the same monetary features,
but different language, by a 97% margin on the same day.
As a result the Union found itself, for the first time in its history,
with one of its Labatt units working while the other was locked-out.
Although the Toronto membership successfully banned overtime, the London
Local leadership decided that it did not want to belong to a Union where
one Local could work while they were locked out. As a result, the membership
in London voted to disaffiliate and join the Labourers, while the Union
as a whole asserted that there was no right to disaffiliate. The entire
dispute ended up in the hands of the Labour Relations Board, and, as
a result, the Company took the position that it could not bargain with
either Union until the Board made a ruling.
After four months of lockout, and before the Board’s ruling, the Union
parties agreed that this Union could negotiate with the employer. These
negotiations failed to reach a Memorandum, but the last offer was put
to the London members, and was narrowly accepted by one vote. The offer
did contain some improvements over the January offer in the language
area, but was one year longer than the 6 year Toronto agreement and
contained less Pension and less guaranteed wage increases than the January
At the prompting of the Vice-Chair of the Ontario Labour Relations Board
all parties to the disaffiliation dispute entered into an agreement
in which it was agreed that our Union continued to represent the employees
of the London brewery and that the Local had no right to disaffiliate
from the Union.
In order to build back the support this Union has traditionally had
in Local 1 Brother George Redmond took a leave of absence from his position
as Business Agent and accepted appointment as President of Local 1 for
a term, which will expire December 31, 2003. This Union will meet the
challenge of winning back the confidence of its members in London.