Four locked-out picketers were struck by a vehicle driven by a replacement worker leaving the Monterey Place seniors care facility in northeast Calgary this morning.
None of the picketers was seriously hurt, but eyewitnesses say the ugly incident could easily have turned tragic.
“Our members were able to get out of the way just in time,” said John Wevers, staff negotiator with the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, which represents the 90 locked-out workers. “When the car lurched forward they dodged to the side, but still got clipped. This could have been much worse.”
AUPE Vice-President Karen Weiers, who is with the picketers today, said, “our members have a legal right to be on that picket line. They have a legal right to delay replacement workers crossing that picket line and there’s no excuse for violence or endangering lives.”
The incident happened just after 7 a.m. as several replacement workers were leaving Monterey Place. Wevers, who witnessed the incident, said the car approached the picket line, stopped momentarily, and then raced forward, scattering the picketers. Four picketers were clipped as they scrambled aside.
The vehicle’s driver, a replacement worker known to the picketers, stopped on the street and yelled at the picketers before driving away, Wevers said.
The incident has been reported to the Calgary Police Service.
Monterey Place employees were locked out of work by the facility’s owner, Triple A Living Communities Inc., on June 26 to pressure staff to accept the employer’s contract demands. Monterey staff are currently paid up to 27 per cent less than Alberta Health Services Employees doing the same job, even though Triple A receives taxpayer funding to pay nursing staff at AHS rates.