Rolling trucks brew-up trouble for Labatt

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LONDON, Ont. — Replacement workers at Labatt’s London brewery took 25 beer-laden rigs out of the plant yesterday morning and striking workers were left foaming at the mouth.

The union promises to beef up its picket-line presence as a result of the company’s actions.

“It’s a new low for Labatt. They have never moved beer, they have never brought in scabs before,” Randy Tapp, president of Local 1 of the brewery, General and Professional Workers’ Union, tells local media.

“This will put the biggest dent in labor-management relations. It won’t be forgotten and it could turn the picket line volatile.”

Labatt didn’t hire replacement workers, but brought in managers to load the beer, insists company spokesperson Bob Chant.

“There has never been an agreement we would not do this. In fact, it is reasonable for us to take the product out and unreasonable to expect we would not,” he adds. “We had beer that was scheduled to go into the market. We’re committed to supplying the market, so we took it.”

The trucks and two buses, with blacked-out windows, filled with replacement workers, entered the plant at midnight Sunday when locked-out workers weren’t picketing the plant.

Picket lines blocked the trucks from leaving, keeping them in the plant until about 5 a.m. yesterday, recounts Tapp.

The trucks were reported driven by contract employees.

“Managers executed the plan and they did a great job. We are capable of doing this on our own,” concludes Chant.

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