In mid-September strikes ended at Eagle Ottawa and Wolverine World Wide. At Eagle Ottawa, where work stopped on July 27, workers approved a three-year bargaining deal but this was coloured by a threat to take on replacement workers.

Over at Wolverine, out since July 17, the threat was real. While the union unconditionally accepted a contract which was first offered this summer, including a 3% pay rise, it may be some time before the tannery workers return to their jobs. Wolverine officials plan to keep on replacement workers hired during the strike.

Striking workers will only be reinstated if business picks up or other employees resign. The union has filed an unfair labour practice suit against the company for hiring replacement workers.

The new contract includes provisions which inspired the strike in the first place. Wolverine can subcontract the tannery jobs and the company’s pension contributions will be capped at 30 years’ service.

At Eagle Ottawa, a union official admitted that the company has a legal right to replace striking workers but felt it was unethical to use it as a tactic to force workers back to work.

One of the reasons for the Eagle Ottawa strike is said to have been that workers were in some cases working six and seven days a week and for as long as twelve hours a day; a situation which had been going on for some months.