Ontario Construction News staff writer
An eight-week long strike by thousands of unionized sheet metal workers in Ontario has ended.
Negotiators for the Sheet Metal Workers’ and Roofers’ Union and employers represented by the Ontario Sheet Metal Contractors Association (OSMCA) reached the settlement Friday afternoon.
The tentative agreement concludes the first strike by sheet metal workers in 30 years.
The union, represented provincially by the Ontario Sheet Metal Workers’ and Roofers’ Conference, says it prevailed in resisting concessions demanded by the employers, that led to the strike.
“Due to the support and solidarity of our membership your negotiating team was entirely successful in resisting the attack on the hours of work and we have retained the democratic control of our hiring hall,” Toronto Local 30 posted on its website.
“For Local 30, that the hours of work for sheet metal remains at 36 and for siding and decking the hours are 37.5.
“This success could never have been achieved without the sacrifices of our membership,” the union statement said.
“In addition to successfully resisting the demands for concessions on hours of work and the hiring hall, your local union negotiating team gained one of the highest increases to the total packages for all ICI building trade unions in Ontario.”
The union says the “total package increase” for sheet metal journeypersons and sheet deckers will be $4.55 per hour over the three year contract.
There are different terms for different locals. For example, the wage increase will be $4.05 over three years for Local 537 in Hamilton, and there decking workers continue to have a 40 hour work week. Some sheet metal workers’ union locals continue to have a 40 hour work week for all members.
However, the statement for various locals says: “This strike was a sacrifice for our members. But it was a sacrifice that was absolutely necessary. We honoured the sacrifices of the past, we have defended our membership today and we have sent a message for the future.”
Formal ratification votes are being scheduled at different locals through this week. Ottawa Local 47 will hold its ratification vote at 6:00 p.m. today.
OSMCA executive director Darryl Stewart declined comment Sunday about the settlement and whether it addresses the employers’ concerns about staff shortages, saying in an email: “We won’t be making any comments until the union completes their ratification meetings. I don’t have the exact meetings dates but they are supposed to be complete by July 6th.”