“Seriously, Mr. Bourque?”
Former standout Boston Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque checked his brain at the door when he went through a picket line last week during the strike by Stop & Shop workers. Bourque strolled into the North Andover store after chatting up picketing workers, who showed some fan adoration and shook his hand. Then, he did his shopping and walked out to his car – right through the picket line.
Two hours after angry workers posted a video online of Bourque getting into his SUV, grocery bag in hand, Bourque tweeted out an apology.
On the video, one striking worker can be heard shouting, “Seriously, Mr. Bourque? We honored you.”
Apparently, it took social media shaming for Bourque to see the error of his ways. In his tweet, he noted he had been a union hockey player for 22 years, adding, “I respect Unions and the work they do.”
He also said he had rushed in to pick up supplies for a medical condition and had apologized on his way out the door as he walked past the picketers.
This was a deliberate case of walking through a picket line, after chatting with picketers holding signs. Was it absent-mindedness? Arrogance? Or was Bourque’s 22 years as a dues-paying union member so long ago that he’s forgotten what that was about?
It’s not illegal to cross a picket line, of course. Anyone who wanted to walk in to buy items at Stop & Shop had the right to do it. But crossing the line in such an affable way, and presuming that he could slip out with that plastic bag of items he bought inside the store, was just a boneheaded move. At last count, the video of Bourque coming out with his groceries had been viewed well over 300,000 times. Not quite a record, like so many held by Bourque from his long pro hockey career. But impressive numbers, nonetheless.
After his belated apology, Bourque vowed to walk in solidarity with the picketers once his medical condition was resolved. Probably a good thing for him the contract dispute was resolved on Sunday, sparing him the awkwardness of hanging out with workers. That might have felt like an hour in the penalty box.