RCMP investigate after N.B. Power truck pushes striking worker at Base Gagetown

·3 min read
Federal government workers on the picket line at Base Gagetown in Oromocto on the first day of the strike, April 19. (Shane Fowler/CBC - image credit)

A video circulating on social media Friday shows a striking federal worker on the picket line at Base Gagetown getting pushed by an N.B. Power utility truck.

RCMP confirmed the incident took place on the Broad Road in Oromocto.

The video shows striking defence workers, members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, crossing the road when the truck starts honking its horn and moving forward, grazing one individual, who stumbles out of the way.

The truck, which is pulling a trailer, then pulls up to a man in the middle of the road and pushes him forward.

The man throws his flag up at the windshield of the truck as it continues to push him. The video shows the man move out of the way and the truck continues on.

Picket 'shook up,' says strike captain

About 155,000 federal public servants went on strike beginning on April 19, affecting about 30 government departments and a range of federal services across Canada.

The Union of National Defence Employees is one of the largest components of PSAC. The employees it represents include labourers and people working in skilled trades, administrative services, cleaning and food services, and as technicians, computer programmers and engineers, according to the union's website.

Daniel Frost, a strike captain with Local 60303 Gagetown and the union's national vice-president for Newfoundland, Labrador and New Brunswick, said he was at the main gate where the truck originally turned into the base.

He said he initially didn't think much of it. The driver was honking, but Frost wasn't sure if it was in support of the strike or not.

Police confirmed that there were no physical injuries at the scene, but Frost said people were "shook up."

"I consider that an injury," he said.

"The stress levels on the line, and especially when you don't know whether you're going to get run over … it's pretty high. And then when you see incidents like this, it's pretty scary for the picketers."

Not an N.B. Power employee, utility says

In an email statement to CBC News, N.B. Power spokesperson Dominique Couture said the utility is aware of the incident at the base.

She said the driver of the vehicle was not an employee of N.B. Power but a truck-driver trainer under contract.

"The safety of the public is paramount at NB Power and this will be dealt with swiftly and appropriately," she wrote.

In a statement posted to their website Saturday, the utility confirmed they have "terminated his involvement with NB Power."

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 37 also responded to the situation in a social media post.

It said the driver was not a member of the IBEW.

"We support picket lines and the health and safety of our members and the public," read the post.

"We are disappointed in the actions and shameful level of service of this driver. NB Power and IBEW Local 37 will work together to ensure this is dealt with appropriately."

Investigation underway

RCMP spokesperson Hans Ouellette said the Oromocto detachment is investigating.

He said police were already in the area at the time of the incident, and the driver of the utility truck was pulled over and identified.

Ouellette said no charges have been laid, and the investigation is continuing.

He asked anyone with information about the situation, or similar situations that may have occurred, to contact the Oromocto RCMP.