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No end in sight for operating engineers’ strike

Don Wall
No end in sight for operating engineers’ strike

There is no end in sight for the strike by unionized operating engineers in Ontario’s ICI sector, with hundreds of jobsites affected by the union’s count, according to a union source and other trades refusing to cross the picket line.

The members of the International Union on Operating Engineers (IUOE) went on strike May 2 after voting Sunday afternoon to turn down the latest offer by the employer bar-gaining agency.

The workers rejected the recommendation of their own bargaining committee to take the proposed deal.

Mike Gallagher, business manager of IUOE Local 793, would not divulge the financial terms offered by the employers but said it was clear the workers are demanding raises that will keep up with inflation.

“Our members feel that they have been under very difficult circumstances, that they have continued to go to work for the good of the economy, and now we’re losing against inflation,” said Gallagher.

There have been no discussions since workers took to picket lines on May 2.

“I strongly encourage them to make it a priority,” said Gallagher.

“Our negotiations are 95 per cent complete and we have a few issues remaining that could be resolved if the employee turned them on fairly quickly. So we think that they should put their attention on this and the sooner the better.”

Tony Fanelli, chief negotiator for the Operating Engineers Employer Bargaining Agency, did not immediately return requests for comment.


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