Demanding “fair compensation” amid ongoing cost of living increases, more than 15,000 skilled construction labourers who build housing across the GTA have gone on strike after voting over the weekend to reject proposed settlements.
The job action by Labourers’ International Union Local 183 members employed in various sectors of the residential construction industry has the potential to impact residential construction projects across the GTA, the union says.
Local 183, the largest construction local in North America with more than 58,000 members, said Monday that high rise forming, self-levelling flooring, house framers, tile installers, railing installers and carpet and hardwood installers have all rejected proposed settlements.
“LiUNA Local 183 members were deemed essential throughout the pandemic and continue to serve in one of the GTA’s fastest growing construction sectors,” said Jack Oliveira, LiUNA Local 183 business manager. “Our members are at the frontlines of the region’s growth and deserve fair pay and benefits for their work and service to the community.”
LiUNA Local 183 is calling on the Contractors’ Associations to return to the bargaining table with employment terms that “address the costs of inflation and demands on the sector over the coming years.”
Employers in other construction sectors and other parts of the residential sector have offered employment terms and conditions that better reflect the current cost of living and anticipated increases in inflationary pressures over the life of the collective agreement, the union added in a statement. An employer negotiator could not be immediately reached for comment.
“The residential sector is amongst the most in-demand industries for the GTA and will continue to be sought after for years to come. [Workers] deserve compensation that reflects their contributions to the industry,” added Oliveira.
“Our members work hard and are critical to building housing across the GTA. We’re ready to get back to work, but the Contractors’ Associations needs to offer a fair proposal that respects our members and the work that they do.”
In other contract bargaining developments, meanwhile, LiUNA Local 183 members in the provincial ICI sector in sewer and watermain forming, concrete and drain, as well as low rise forming voted in favor of tentative contract proposals on Sunday and the new contracts went into effect on May 1.
Results of weekend voting by Labourers’ Union members in the provincial ICI sector across 10 locals in trades including mason tenders are being tabulated and will be available in about a week, a spokesperson said. Those workers, who entered a legal strike position on May 1, are voting on a compensation proposal the union says falls short of some agreements in Ontario’s construction industry and which it is not actively endorsing.