With several bargaining units within LiUNA Local 183 on strike, high-rise worksites were shutddown on Monday and low-rise sites are “severely impacted”.
Workers in the high-rise forming, house framing, self-levelling flooring sectors, as well as railing, tile, carpet and hardwood installers have rejected settlements and are now on strike in the GTA, central Ontario and parts of southern, eastern and southwestern Ontario.
Only sites directly impacted by the strikes are affected. Therefore, any site at the framing or high-rise forming stage would be heavily impacted. However, sites not at that stage, such as at finishing stage, would be considerably less impacted.
In the ICI sector, Local 793 of the International Union of Operating Engineers has rejected a new agreement. That agreement is used in the residential sector for activities including excavation, cranes and concrete pumps.
“The residential construction industry is a critical part of Ontario’s economy,” said RESCON president Richard Lyall. “Housing is a need, and the industry was considered essential throughout the pandemic. All sectors of construction are important, and labour, management and government did a good job working together during the pandemic.
“Construction remains highly paid work, but the recovery of our economy is uncertain due to rising inflation and a looming recession. Material costs have escalated dramatically due to supply chain problems and government taxes on housing are at an all-time high, putting pressure on builders.”
Labour shortages, supply chain issues and economic issues are “almost a perfect storm,” and while RESCON acknowledges that projects will be impacted based on their current stage of construction, Lyall says he remains optimistic.
The residential construction sector includes about 30 bargaining units. All collective agreements expired on April 30.
According to RESCON, as of Monday evening, 20 have reached agreements, six have started strike action, and the remaining units are either continuing to bargain, have gone to arbitration, or have reached a tentative agreement and awaiting a ratification vote.
“We are encouraged that a number of collective agreements have been settled. However, there is no reason for work stoppages, and we hope that the arbitrated settlement will encourage other parties to return to the bargaining table and reach an agreement.”