Former cabinet minister says family harassed by striking elevator workers

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Former cabinet minister says family harassed by striking elevator workers

Former provincial cabinet minister Terry French says he and his family are being harassed by striking elevator and escalator workers who are picketing outside their Conception Bay South home.

French is now president of the Construction Labour Relations Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (CLRA).

The CLRA was in negotiations with Local 125A of the International Union of Elevator Constructors, whose contract expired in July 2016, and the workers are on a legal strike.

In documents filed at Supreme Court in St. John's, French said picketers have been showing up at his house since November 2016, and have been interfering with, inconveniencing, and intimidating his family.

French said he and his wife live in the home, along with their son, 10, daughter, 17, and his mother, 74. 

The picketing at his home, he said, is now a regular activity, and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has been called several times to allow his wife and children to leave the property.

Stressful situation

"The presence of picketers at our house since November 2016 has been annoying, embarrassing and intimidating," French's 17-year-old daughter said in an affidavit.

"This very stressful situation, especially in this, my final year of high school, has had a significant impact on my daily routine, school work and studies."

She described picketers on Feb. 2 as wearing full face masks, with only their eyes visible, even though it was a fine day and called that "strange and intimidating."

The police were called, and the picketers left, she said.

In her affidavit, Denise French, Terry French's wife, said on Feb. 24, there were approximately 15 picketers who blocked the driveway and prevented her from getting her car out to take their daughter to the school bus stop. 

Intimidating behaviour

Denise French said the picketers didn't move until police arrived. She said by that time, her daughter had missed the bus, and she had to take her to school. 

"This situation has created daily anxiety for me, expecting that I have to face this intimidating behaviour first thing each morning," she said.

"I also have to comfort my children and prepare them to go to school each day in the face of this disruption."

Terry and Denise French are asking the court to order the workers to stop picketing at or near their home.