Re: Talks derail, The Record, Jan. 7.
It’s absolutely absurd that Southern Railway’s president, Frank Butzelaar, is claiming that they are a “small, local company” who apparently can’t afford to treat its employees fairly. Southern Railway operates 125 miles of track and six industrial properties.It has a subsidiary company, also run by Butzelaar, that operates passenger rail on Vancouver Island to the tune of $1.34 million a year.
What makes Butzelaar’s statement all the more ridiculous is that Southern Railway is owned by American billionaire Dennis Washington’s Washington Canadian Ltd.
Washington – ranked by Forbes at the 79th richest man in America – and his family own a controlling stake in all the Washington Companies. They also own and run Seaspan Marine Corporation.
This dispute is about a major corporation locking out its employees to try to wring significant concessions from them. Southern Railway is demanding their CUPE employees take reductions to pension and benefits, decreased job security, and overtime changes that could jeopardize workers’ health and safety. To see them claiming to be the victims in this situation is mind-boggling.
David Black, president, COPE 378