Hartland, N.B. – January 22, 2016 – Students and staff at universities in New Brunswick and Newfoundland have joined the boycott of Covered Bridge Potato Chips, putting the company on notice that they won’t be buying – or carrying – their chip products until the owner agrees to negotiate a reasonable settlement with its employees and their union.
The Memorial University of Newfoundland Students’ Union (MUNSU), which owns an on-campus convenience store called The Attic, has told Covered Bridge Potato Chips owner Ryan Albright in recent letter that it has discontinued business with the chip company until the striking workers and members of UFCW Local 1288P “are valued and respected” through the successful resolution of negotiations.
And in New Brunswick, the United Campus Labour Council (UCLC) at St. Thomas University, which includes the Union of Graduate Student Workers and several other affiliates, has also sent a letter that puts Mr. Albright on notice by “supporting a boycott of all Covered Bridge Potato Chip Products.”
The UCLC letter to Covered Bridge Potato Chips also draws attention to the $700,000 the company has received in government funding by stating, “While you are undergoing your fourth expansion please remember that your employees need to make a decent living. We hope you are motivated to end this unrest by going back to the table and hammering out a reasonable settlement in a respectful and professional manner.” Since the workers first voted to join the union in 2013, the New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board found the company violated five sections of the Labour and Employment Act.
The Covered Bridge Potato Chips workers were forced on strike on January 5, 2016, after making repeated attempts – over a two-year period – to negotiate a first contract with the employer.
“It really means a lot to us to have the support of students and post-secondary staff in New Brunswick in Newfoundland, and we have been very inspired by the growing number of people in the Maritimes and throughout Canada, and even the United States, who are joining this important campaign for fairness and vowing not to buy Covered Bridge Potato Chips until the strike is over,” says Dan Smith, President of UFCW Canada Local 1288P, the local union representing the striking workers.