Carpenters’ union calls for talks to resume as Ontario-wide strike continues OCN News

The union representing striking carpenters in Ontario says it is “inappropriate” to wait two weeks to resume negotiations.

Mike Yorke, president of the Carpenters District Council of Ontario — which is made up of local carpenter unions from across Ontario — said Friday the council had offered to resume talks with the Construction Labor Relations Association of Ontario this weekend or the next week.

However, the association told the board it needed time to collect more data and would not return to the bargaining table until May 24.

CBC has contacted the association for comment, but no response has yet been received.

Yorke said any delay in reaching an agreement could impact important projects.

“There are millions, if not billions, certainly in northern Ontario,” Yorke said. “Various gold mines, billions of dollars of investment. A lot of that involves critical infrastructure.”

“We don’t think it’s appropriate to wait.”

Yorke said the council had also offered striking carpenters – who work in the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors – to return to work under the terms of the previous collective agreement, with pay retroactive to May 1, while a new agreement is negotiated.

However, the association had not responded to that proposal by Friday morning, Yorke said.

The strike began Monday after 15,000 carpenters represented by the council – including about 600 in Thunder Bay – voted against ratifying a tentative agreement.

“Members wholeheartedly rejected this across the province,” Yorke said, adding that about 75% of members voted against ratification. “It was even with the recommendation of the union bargaining team to accept.”

“Members said no, it was not enough in the face of the affordability crisis, the rising cost of living.”

Harold Lindstrom, director of the Construction Association of Thunder Bay, said it’s been a busy time of year for contractors, with many construction projects underway, with “a lot” of those in need of carpenters on site if the project needs to go ahead.

“It hasn’t happened for many years,” he said of the carpenters’ strike. “I hope I would like people to get back to work very quickly, but it depends on both sides and the discussions they have.”

orignal news from, CBC | Thunder Bay News