Ontario Construction News staff writer
Sheet Metal Workers’ Union negotiators say they have crafted a comprehensive settlement proposal and communicated this offer to the Ontario Sheet Metal Contractors Association (SMCA) and that the SMCA “has finally agreed to reconvene negotiations” on Wednesday and Thursday.
The union negotiators reiterate that employers representatives “walked out on bargaining without any notice or explanation to the union” on June 19, despite assertions from SMCA executive director Darryl Stewart on Friday that employers remained ready to negotiate but were waiting for the union to respond to its concerns and set out a comprehensive proposal.
Union negotiators indicate in a memo from the Ontario Sheet Metal and Roofers Conference signed on Monday by Ottawa Local 47 SMWIA business manager Floyd Cunning that they are frustrated by the SMCA demands for additional concessions relating to working hours and union hiring hall authorities.
“These are concessions that were firmly rejected by the IBEW, the UA and others,” the negotiators say. “Our members have and will continue to reject them too!”
The union said that it worked on the comprehensive offer from Friday June 21 until 10 p.m. on Saturday and communicated it to the SMCA.
The SMWIA negotiators say they have “made progressive efforts to address specific proposals from the contractors’ association. This includes proposals with siding and decking, apprenticeship ratios, mobility of members and increasing the supply of labour.”
The negotiators’ memo says examples include:
“i On June 10, 2019 the union proposed a framework outlining solutions to the shortages of journeymen and apprentices;
ii) On June 14, 2019, the union made a proposal to the contractors’ association that allowed for the hiring of an additional 150 apprentices in the Greater Toronto Area;
iii) On June 19, 2019, the union made significant proposals on co-operation agreements to recruit and hire new journey persons and
iv) On June 21, 2019, the Union made a proposal to address overtime and hours of work.”
“All of these proposals from your negotiating team were either ignored or rejected by the contractors’ association,” Cunning wrote in his memo. “Your negotiating team is fully prepared to bargain until a tentative agreement is reached.”
The union is continuing its picketing at contractors’ locations and Toronto Local 30 members expressed their support for the union’s negotiators and some frustration with the Darryl Stewart’s remarks quoted in Ontario Construction News.
One member wrote on the Local 30 Facebook page: “Very targeted article poor journalism at its finest. Even the picture the selection they used indicates the one sided the viewpoint.
“Darryl Stewart fails to understand simple economics, not that he would have the qualifications to. Labour supply is low and demand is high, the price goes up.
“You can thank Darryl for stating in this article that our industry is different then the UA plumbers. We will no longer be accepting $4 and change, that the UA got after a three day strike and every other trade got without strike action. $10 will be the only thing acceptable for our sought after skills. You don’t grow an industry by punishing the people who work in.
“Making them work longer hours and take concessions brining them back 50 years. You attract people with better working conditions, more job security and the bottom line more MONEY!!!”