On the Picket Line

Bakery workers locked out in Quebec fight for wage raise

By Joe Young
July 11, 2022

BOUCHERVILLE, Quebec — Nearly two months after being locked out in response to a walkout, over 300 Quebec Bridor bakery workers continue their fight for wage raises to cover the cost of living as prices soar, and for safer work conditions. Boucherville is across the St. Lawrence River from Montreal.

Bridor is a major industrial bakery chain with plants here, in Montreal, and in New Jersey. Louis Le Duff, the France-based owner, had an estimated fortune of $2.1 billion in 2020.

The workers are members of the Confederation of National Trade Unions (CSN). Their last contract expired Dec. 31, 2020. At a June 9 union meeting, they unanimously voted down a company offer that included wage increases of only 2.5% a year. Inflation in Canada is running at close to 7%.

On May 18 and 26 the union mobilized from two union meetings to strengthen the picket lines. Also participating were striking workers from Rolls-Royce, where workers repair jet engines, and from Novago, a hardware store.

“We want better working conditions and wages that cover the cost of living,” striker Odette Murekatete told this Militant worker-correspondent. Pickets described how the bosses demand they keep production up with half of the normal workforce. According to Karine Morisseau, a union business agent, there should be 400 workers on the job, but the bosses are running the plant with 300.

Samuel Morin, who was recently hired as an electrical mechanic, said, “We are fighting for the other workers who have 20 years seniority but who are still not even getting $20 an hour.”