What’s the point of a picket line? To stop scabs.

September 13, 2018

It’s provoked one of those preposterous outpourings of social media outrage that roil and churn public debates nowadays, and the first odd thing about it is that it’s only a 57-second video, with no narration. There’s just a running line of explanatory text and scrolling photographs of a few people, with their names, and a bit of sombre music in the background.

The video showed up in the social-media accounts of the labour union Unifor last Thursday, introduced this way: “Crossing a picket line hurts families. As Unifor Local 597 members enter month 21, locked out in Gander, meet some of the scabs D-J Composites has hired to do their work.”

That’s it.

By the weekend, the video had been viewed more than 100,000 times and the hullabaloo on Twitter and Facebook had broken out in conventional news media. The CBC: “Union defends video identifying ‘scabs’ at D-J Composites after workers report threats.” The National Post: “‘Meet the scabs’: Unifor Canada video exposes workers crossing picket line.” Canadian Press: “Debate over Unifor video that names, shames N.L. replacement workers.”

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The Peterborough and District Labour Council (PDLC) is the central body of union locals in the Peterborough area (Peterborough County plus Omemee) who are affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

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