Approximately 5,000 LiUNA (Labourers International Union of North America) Local 183 members serving the marble, tile and terrazzo sector and the residential framing sectors have gone on strike, resulting in delays and disruptions for commercial and residential construction projects.
As well, some 2,000 members of residential division of the Drywall Acoustic Lathing and Insulation Local 675 has also stopped work, as Ontario’s construction industry enters its once-every-three years contract expiry season.
Other LiUNA 183 sectors including those serving heavy and ICI construction have yet to vote on ratification of new collective agreements.
Union members voted to strike at a well-attended meeting on May 2 after declining to ratify an offer negotiated with the employer bargaining authority.
Meanwhile, the residential division of Drywall Acoustic Lathing and Insulation Local 675 – Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario, (CDC) said in a news release that its members “are eager to see a respectful and honest offer from their employers, who are represented by the Interior Systems Contractors Association (ISCA).”
The union says its members install drywall and interior systems in high-rise condominiums and low-rise housing across the GTA. “Today’s modern residences, be it single family homes, townhouses and multiplex or condominiums, are complicated structures with complex and sophisticated interior systems,” the union’s news release said.
“It is essential that our compensation reflect both the increased difficulty of the work we are doing, as well as the training we need to get the job done safely and correctly,” said Tony Iannuzzi, president of Local 675 and the CDC’s executive secretary treasurer.
“Today’s homes include cathedral ceilings, multiple levels and dimensions, as well as new materials and technologies. The Carpenters’ Union labour force is constantly upgrading its skills to keep up to date with the new requirements needed for this challenging sector of construction industry. A house isn’t a home without walls, insulation and drywall,” the news release said.
In a booming residential market, it is unfathomable to think that the skilled trades-people building the interior systems of today’s homes would not be compensated properly for their skills. The offer made by the employers association must take these issues into consideration. “Local 675 is eager to get back to the table and back to the job site to finish building Ontario up,” said Iannuzzi.
The Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario is composed of 16 affiliated local unions of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners across the province. “In total, we represent over 26,000 women and men working in a wide range of areas, including carpentry, drywall, resilient flooring, concrete formwork, underwater construction, welding, scaffolding, and a long list of other construction-related work. The CDC conducts centralized collective bargaining in the construction sector on behalf of our affiliated Locals,” the news release said.