Striking workers forced to yell "fuckwits" at scabs after B.C. court ruling restricts picket language
So the B.C. Court of Appeal handed down a ruling yesterday (June 1) that prohibited, among other things, workers on strike against Great Canadian Railtour Company Ltd. from pointing at SCABS--er, strikebreakers, um, sorry, replacement workers--and calling them what, in fact, they truly are: SCABS.
The decision of the three-member panel dismissed an application by Teamsters Local 31 to quash an earlier, now upheld, injunction against locked-out employees engaged in a long-term strike against Railtour.
That injunction prohibited, ridiculously, said striking workers from unlawfully pointing at and yelling at SCABS who have taken advantage of, along with Railtour, a Canada Labour Code provision that allows federally regulated companies to employ SCABS. This is not allowed under the B.C. Labour Relations Code.
The learned judges countered the union’s argument that yelling and pointing constitute protected speech by writing that this “ignores the context in which the yelling and pointing occurred and, in particular, what words were used”.
What “context” would that be? A situation in which locked-out workers with mortgages and children are thrown out of their workplace indefinitely and forced to watch while heartless mercenaries with formaldehyde coursing through their veins (SCABS) waltz in and take their jobs?
The strikers may have to modify their behavior now if they don’t want to take the very real chance that (this being B.C., after all) they may face being thrown in jail for several months for having the temerity to bruise the ears and sensibilities of some reptilian SCABs.
Here are a few epithets that could be hurled instead of SCAB: asshat, fuckwit, jerkoff, home wrecker, scum of the earth, pariah, dogshit…
Oh, the list is endless. And after all, if the company can use a federal loophole to employ "replacement workers", couldn't the strikers employ "replacement words"? Maybe a thesaurus will become standard picket-line issue, along with the placards, coffee cups, and oil-drum fires.
Just make sure not to point at the sensitive, job-stealing souls as you scream. Or maybe strikers could use sign language or hire some out-of-work mimes? Surely that isn’t covered in the most recent ruling?
But could those spoken words also be considered to violate the terms of the upheld injunction, the same as SCAB?
Possibly, but it would be illuminating to hear the judges justify outlawing every one of them, in turn, if convictions for violating the injunction were to be appealed.
But for those strikers unwilling to risk jail, perhaps they could just yell out: “Fuck you, dry, rough protective crusts that discharge from and form over a wound during healing!”
Maybe there should be a picket line outside the B.C. Court of Appeal.
Not that the judges are SCABS or anything. But they do seem to be partial to them.
Or maybe they just misheard during childhood and thought their mothers told them: “Never picket SCABS!”