The right to strike is an important part of belonging to a union. Withholding labour is one of few options for an employee who is in a dispute with their employer.
Making the decision to strike against your employer is not made easily. And being on strike is something that is difficult to fully appreciate until you have been a member of a picket line fighting for something that was important enough you were willing to forgo the stability of going to work and receiving a paycheque.
GSU’s Solidarity Fund supports striking workers, and when GSU members have been on the picket line we have been on the receiving end of donations from other unions and supportive organizations. During the recent UFCW 1400 dispute with Saskatoon Co-op, GSU showed its support through donations of cash, food, and picket line support.
The strike has ended, and on May 16 we received a letter of thanks from UFCW 1400. In addition to expressing a sincere appreciation for support, the letter provides some insight into what it was like to walk on their picket line this past winter and how much it really means when picketers receive support from fellow union members and unions, like GSU.
“I remain impressed by the dedication of [UFCW 1400] members, who endured a lot during their bitter six-month strike as they picketed for issues that didn’t even directly affect them,” said GSU vice-president Michelle Houlden. “Those striking workers embodied everything we believe in as a labour movement and I am proud that GSU was able to send direct financial support, food and people to walk the picket line.”
You can read the letter from UFCW here or below.