Plumbers, pipefitters to vote today on tentative deal

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Michael Lewis

Special to Ontario Construction News

Unionized plumbers, pipefitters and other piping trades workers across Ontario are to vote today on the latest tentative contract agreement with the Mechanical Contractors Association – potentially heading off  yet another strike in the province’s hard-pressed construction industry..

Locals of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry in the ICI high rise residential sector will vote on the offer that includes a pay hike of 13 per cent over three years for workers in the Ottawa-based UA Local 71, according to the local’s website, although a union spokesperson said wage provisions could vary across regions of the province.

ICI plumbers and pipefitters in early May rejected a proposed settlement offering a 12.5 per cent pay increase over three years and are in a legal strike position, although the workers  have remained on the job while negotiators returned to the bargaining table last week.

The union includes Local 663 in Sarnia, about 1,500 members in Local 71 along with more than 9,600 workers at Local 46 in the Toronto-area.

Tens of thousands of tradespeople including carpenters, operating engineers, drywall tapers and skilled labourers in residential, commercial and institutional construction have launched legal strikes across Ontario after the government mandated expiration of multiple three year contacts at the end of April.

Against a backdrop of labour shortages, record increases in the cost of living and in the costs of building material costs, the strikes are delaying residential construction as well as the building of transit infrastructure, hospitals and office towers.

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