All labour disputes should be as civilized as was the BCGEU strike yesterday. Of course, how long it will remain that way is an open question, but I detect no specific hint of any pending change in the mood.
Turns out that on their one-day full scale strike, only two thirds of GEU members actually left their jobs. Fully one third were deemed "essential" and required to report for work. Crossings of picket lines, which I witnessed personally, went not only smoothly, but with smiles and wishes of "good morning".
Pressed on the question of whether the union is okay with such a high proportion of the membership's being designated essential, a senior rep gave me no indication of any looming fight over the issue. He says the details may shift from time to time...for instance forest fire fighting will be less a priority in 90 days than it is now, if there is no new contract in that time. But he did stress that the union has assured the employer that union members are ready to drop the picket signs and pick up their tools in the event of any emergency.
All in all, it sounds more congenial than confrontational.
Now, let us all hope the strategy succeeds, that it becomes an example of constructive labour relations. We don't want to find ourselves looking back six months now upon a lost opportunity, shaking our heads at a strike that turned ugly because the union concluded that was the only way to get noticed. `
This is Frank Stanford