Apparently I'm on strike.
Who thought it would ever get to this? I did not, nor did any of my account team.
It began Friday morning, an eerie pall hung over the office as the clock ticked closer to the deadline, 11am April 23rd, 2004. The first news we heard was the company did not show up at the 9am meeting, and to be prepared to walk, wait for official union word. Then we heard the company representatives arrived at 10am offering a revised proposal, the clock ticked.
There was not even the pretence of work being done in my group. In the office location where I work 1200 people were holding their breath, as was I, breathe I kept telling myself, breathe, the clock ticked.
Rumours were rampant, the union executive were not happy, the upper managers in my office location were nervous and edgy, two came to my group to see how we were holding up, they told us they were holding the faith, as were we, that a deal would be struck, the clock ticked.
Nervous almost hysterical laugh could be heard in pockets around the office, and then all would go very quiet, the clock ticked.
Then in our section slowly appeared our support team, and our trainers… waiting, waiting the clock ticked.
11am Atlantic time the call came in the union said to walk, the clock stopped ticking.
Tears began to flow; team members and co-workers hugged each other, no one could speak without breaking down. As we left the upper managers lined the aisles, some reached out to pat a shoulder, shake a hand, some to hug, many were in tears, all faces were grim. The director of our section held the door, and apologized "I'm sorry that it came to this"…so was I, I said.
Outside the cold Atlantic wind whipped around the building, confusion, milling groups, tears, stunned face, shock, many conversations all the same all saying: “I never thought they’d let us walk.”
Husbands found their wives, wives found their husbands, families came together, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandchildren, multigenerational groups stood together, boyfriends and girlfrieds comforted each other, friends huddled in tight groups. “I never thought the company would let us walk.” Arms, hands touched, hugs, tears, shocked, frustrated, very disappointed....
4,300 highly educated, skilled workers, across Atlantic Canada walked out Friday morning to back demands for job security, pensions and benefits.
Wherever you live if you see employees on strike, beep your horns when you drive by, stop and say hello, let them know you support them, it really does make a difference.
Walking the line on the East Coast.