CDCO reaches tentative agreement – ratification vote today

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Michael Lewis

Special to Ontario Construction News

The Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario (CCDO) says it’s hopeful a tentative contract agreement reached with employers on the second day of restarted talks this week will see some 15,000 striking ICI carpenters back on the job province-wide on Monday.

The workers will vote Friday on whether to ratify the agreement endorsed by the CDCO after overwhelmingly turning down an earlier proposal and walking off the job on May 9 for the first strike by Ontario carpenters in 34 years.

Full results of the province-wide ratification votes are to be announced Friday afternoon, with monetary terms amid a spiking cost of living to be discussed at the ratification meetings.

“We worked diligently with our respective employer groups and have fashioned an agreement that reflects the current economic affordability crisis and one which we believe the members in Ontario will accept and ratify,” CDCO president Mike Yorke said in a statement Wednesday.

“Construction is too important an economic driver in this province for us to be too long on strike and without an agreement.”

The CDCO is composed of 16 affiliated local unions (14 in the ICI sector) of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners working in trades, including carpentry, drywall, resilient flooring, concrete formwork, underwater construction, welding and scaffolding.

Yorke noted that while carpenters in the industrial, commercial and institutional sector have been on picket lines in numerous Ontario communities, carpenters working in residential, electrical power systems construction and maintenance were not impacted and remained on the job.

Friday’s ratification votes for the ICI tentative agreement will include a condition requiring that a majority of the ICI locals and a majority of members voting must vote acceptance.

Negotiations to replace a three-year contract stalled on May 12 with the union accusing employers of delaying talks while it was prepared to return to the table and with Carpenters Employer Bargaining Agency chair Jim Vlahos, in a statement, saying he was “disappointed” that a strike has been launched.

“We worked diligently to avoid this outcome by directly and fairly negotiating with representatives of the union,” Vlahos said.

The tentative agreement comes after the International Union of Operating Engineers voted on Friday to ratify a new three-year provincial contract to end a three-week strike by about 6,000 crane and heavy equipment operators.

It has also emerged as LiUNA ICI skilled labourers hold ratification votes on a new proposed settlement after rejecting a previous deal but remaining on the job. And it comes as striking demolition workers also represented by the union vote on a tentative deal with results expected Monday.

Three-year collective agreement across the Ontario construction sector expired on April 30 under terms of provincial legislation.

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