Negotiations stall: 15,000 ICI carpenters remain on strike

Carpenters on the picket line

Robin MacLennan
Ontario Construction News staff writer

Carpenters working in the industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) sector across Ontario will continue striking after discussions with employers failed on Thursday.

“This is extremely disappointing news for all of us at the Carpenters’ union,” said Mike Yorke, Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario (CDCO) president and director of public affairs and innovation.

While union negotiators say they were willing to return to the bargaining table on Friday, over the weekend or on any day next week, York said the employers said, “they can’t meet with us tomorrow or next week because ‘they need more time to gather data to present to the Union”.

“Stalling these negotiations for 12 days or even longer will have a hugely detrimental effect across Ontario. The livelihoods of our members are being impacted and we demand that the employers get back to the bargaining table as soon as possible to resolve this situation before it gets any worse”.

The issue is wages, considering the impact of inflation and the cost of living.

In a statement earlier this week, the Carpenters Employer Bargaining Agency chair Jim Vlahos said it 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,” he said. “These negotiations resulted in province-wide settlements that were agreed upon by all the carpenters’ locals, who also recommended these settlements to their membership for ratification.

Yorke accused employers of holding millions of dollars of construction hostage “because they are unprepared.”

Union negotiators “will continue to push for the wage increase that we believe our members deserve,” he said. “Given the current economic circumstances in our province, we believe it is only fair that wages reflect the skyrocketing cost of living, inflation, and housing affordability crisis we are all experiencing.”


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