B. C. logger receives $54,500 for getting hit while picketing

Union counsel: settlement unusual as picketers are often found partly negligent
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 07/12/2011

A picketing forestry worker has received a $54,500 out-of-court settlement after a company manager drove through the picket line and struck him with a company vehicle.

In 2007, Ivan Campbell was striking in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia as part of the coastal forest industry strike by the United Steelworkers. Acting logging manager David Alan Trim drove his vehicle through the Western Forest Products (WFP) picket line, hitting Campbell.

Campbell received soft-tissue injuries but was able to return to work at the end of the strike, three months later.

Trim was charged with driving without attention and due care.

On behalf of Campbell, the Steelworkers pursued civil action in B.C.’s Supreme Court. Before the case was heard, though, the Insurance Corporation of B.C. settled with Campbell.

The size of the settlement is unusual because picketers are often found partly negligent when they are injured by vehicles attempting to break through the picket line, Steelworkers counsel Sandra Banister told the Vancouver Sun. Unlike in this case, damages are often reduced by 25 to 40 per cent, she said.

Banister told the paper that she considers the $54,500 settlement to be fair, as Campbell was able to return to work at the end of the strike.

A statement of defence filed by WFP and Trim claims that Campbell was the negligent party for being on the road and that he failed to take any precaution to avoid the collision.

A spokesman for WFP said the forestry company was not part of the settlement and that Trim had been let go during downsizing of the company and not because of the incident.

The president of Steelworkers Local 1-1937, Darrel Wong, told the Vancouver Sun that these incidents are more common in the rest of Canada, but rare in the B.C. forest sector. He said that the last time he can remember a worker being injured while picketing was in 1986.

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