Bottling Injustice


One summer when I was in University, I took a temp job in a factory from a staffing agency. The job was for 8 hours per day at a bottling plant in Brampton.


When I signed up for the job, my naive mind didn't fully understand what it meant when the staffing agent told me that a strike was going on at the plant. The company was using temporary workers to keep the plant going, so in order to make the summer-cash I was craving, I would have to cross their picket line.


To avoid any problems, the staffing agency told us to meet offsite so that we could board a bus that would take us across the picket line. As the bus was made to wait to cross the line to take us into the compound; the angry picketers spat at the bus and yelled insults. We were just trying to work, but I could understand their frustration. The workers wanted better wages and the company was replacing them in response to those demands.


Once we got into the compound, I began learning my temp job: moving bottles off the conveyors and packing them into boxes. Monotonous. The plant processed and bottled both Gatorade and Powerade sports drinks...


After a while it dawned on me that a Canadian plant was making the same product for rival billion dollar American companies, yet they were refusing to pay fair wages for their workers... To this day, most people are surprised to know that Gatorade and Powerade are often made in the same facility, despite being owned by Pepsi and Coca-Cola respectively.


On the last day of that week I decided not to go back to work at that bottling plant. I just felt that cold sports drinks and a cruel summer were too much for my conscience to bear.


The End