N.B. potato chip union workers organizing boycott of product
Published Saturday, January 9, 2016 12:43PM AST
Workers at a successful start-up potato chip company in Hartland, N.B., are organizing a boycott of their product, saying it’s the only way to gain traction in an ongoing labour dispute.
Thirty-two unionized employees at Covered Bridge Potato Chip Factory are in a labour dispute with the company over pay and seniority.
“That's why the people approached us to unionize,” said Carl Flanagan, a national UFCW representative. “It was all about the favoritism, so that somebody who's been here five years should not get less hours than somebody who just started a month ago.”
With chips still coming off the assembly line, workers hope the boycott will steer negotiations back to the bargaining table.
“One is for all the employees to be out here and have no scab labour and the other is to hurt his sales so that if he is producing he can't sell it,” said Flanagan.
In a statement, Covered Bridge Potato Chip Factory president Ryan Albright says he wants customers and suppliers to know the labour dispute is a “small bump in the road that many family run businesses encounter.”
“We are motivated to getting past this,” said Albright in the statement. “All production and business operations will continue without a slip in quality or service."
The picketing employees hope they can get back to work soon.
“But I've accepted that if I don't get my job back, hopefully I've made a difference for those coming,” said striking employee Betty Demerchant.
No negotiation talks are currently on the calendar.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Nick Moore.