Vale employees fired after assaulting picket-line crosser

Workers claimed it was a chance encounter but evidence pointed to premeditated ‘scab hunt’: Arbitrator
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 10/15/2014

An Ontario employerhad justcause to fire three striking workers who were involved in an assault on anotherworker who crossed the picket line, an arbitrator has ruled.

InJuly 2009, workers at Vale Canada’s nickel smelting plant in Sudbury, Ont.,went on strike. After six months of a fierce labour dispute, Vale decided totry to begin its smelting operations. Some employees along with replacementworkers and contractors were brought in to get the plant up and running again.

Oneof the workers who decided to cross the picket line in January 2010 was acidplant operator Todd Chretien. Chretien had been struggling financially anddecided he needed to get working again. Other union members found out and hispicture was posted on the union’s Facebook page with the “scab” label.