On the Picket Line

Quebec cement workers fight boss’ seven-month lockout

By Katy LeRougetel
February 7, 2022

JOLIETTE, Quebec — Locked out since last May, some 110 workers at Ash Grove’s cement plant here unanimously voted down the employers’ latest offer Jan. 6. 

“The union has asked for nothing except to maintain established rights,” Renaud Gagne, Unifor’s Quebec director, told the press after the vote. In 2020, Ash Grove bosses announced the closure of two of the four ovens at the Joliette plant. Confronted with 50 or more job losses, members of Unifor Local 177 demanded bosses maintain seniority rights and limit the use of subcontractors. Bosses have gotten a court injunction to limit pickets at the plant entrance to 14. 

Two support rallies, drawing unions from throughout the region, have been held. The locked-out workers’ strike fund is regularly boosted by donations, not only from Unifor locals, but from Steelworkers, United Food and Commercial Workers, Canadian Union of Public Employees and others.  

To visit the line, contact Michael Tessier at (450) 803-7754. Send financial contributions to: Unifor 177, Martin Roy, 1994, boul. Base de Roc, Joliette, QC J6E 0L2.