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Court rules in favour of Cascade Aerospace picketers

Unionized workers at Cascade Aerospace in Abbotsford continue to walk the picket line.  - Vikki Hopes
Unionized workers at Cascade Aerospace in Abbotsford continue to walk the picket line.
— image credit: Vikki Hopes

A judge has upheld the right of striking workers at Cascade Aerospace in Abbotsford to picket their employer.

The B.C. Supreme Court ruling, issued on Friday, said Cascade did not provide evidence of any economic loss or additional costs related to the picketing, or that the workers – members of Unifor Local 114 – had threatened or harassed non-union employees and other people working at or using the facility.

The ruling states that picketers have the right to persuade people not to enter their employer's premises, but they must give way "to anyone who indicates a desire or intention to enter or exit the premises."

In this case, the workers, who have formed a picket line across the Cascade Aerospace driveway, have done just that, the court documents state.

"The picketers are not obstructing anyone once they indicate an intention to proceed. In conducting itself in this fashion, the union is lawfully picketing."

In its notice of civil claim, Cascade Aerospace had sought a court order to prevent unionized workers from picketing on company property.

The company alleged that the workers had threatened and intimidated people attempting to cross the picket line, and their picketing had caused an estimated $50,000 in economic losses.

More than 400 workers began striking on June 4 outside the facility on Townline Road near the Abbotsford Airport.

The union represents workers such as aircraft maintenance engineers, interior technicians, painters, sheet metal mechanics and others.

Talks broke down between the two sides over benefits and concessions. They had been in negotiations since early February.

Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor's B.C. area director, said the crux of the dispute is equal benefits for young workers.

"We will continue our legal picket line to protect the benefits of the next generation of Cascade employees," he said.

The company has come under fire since the beginning of the strike for deploying back-up labourers to do the work of striking engineers and technicians.

To date, the company has not made any statements regarding the use of replacement workers.

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