Today I had the option of working on a worksite where job action was in effect or heeding my principles of solidarity with my union brothers and sisters. I chose the latter.
I work as a unionized painter and we are currently painting Thunderbird School in east Vancouver. The school is adjacent to Thunderbird Community Centre where members of CUPE Local 15 are on strike. For the first half of the day we worked on the school site. After coffee break my site supervisor informed me that we were to paint the back of the community centre. I told him that I was not comfortable with this considering the strike. I asked if there was any other work that I could do. There was not. The site supervisor suggested I contact our employer. I did. He too was not able to give me any other work and informed me that I should go home for the rest of the day.
I told my site supervisor this and also reported back to the striking workers that I was leaving the job site. They thanked me. I later contacted CUPE strike headquarters and informed them of what had happened. They also thanked me.
It was not a difficult decision to ask for alternative work or phone my employer. I am however disappointed in my employer and co-worker that they would consider it okay to do this work where job action is in effect.