Many of the 234 CASAW members believed company president Margaret Witte arrived at Royal Oak's Giant Mine from the United States with a union-breaking corporate agenda.
In June a "riot" among picketers on company premises led to the firings of 38 CASAW members, including Roger Warren.
Picketing continued throughout the summer and the day before the fatal blast, CASAW legal counsel Gina Fiorillo filed an unfair labour practice complaint with the Canadian Labour Relations Board stating, in part: "While the company has a legal right to utilize scabs, it knowingly provoked a violent and confrontational labour dispute when it chose to continue operations at the mine by hiring scabs in an effort to break the Union." (99) When the dispute ended, the government would also do some soul-searching on the CLRB's ineffective response to the Giant dispute and other cases.
Wiretappings, undercover agents, paid informers, extensive interrogations, search warrants on private homes were all part of the extensive search directed almost exclusively at a portion of the CASAW membership.