I am writing to update contractors on the negotiation of the 2019-2022 ICI sector collective agreement between the Ontario Erectors Association, Incorporated (the “OEA”) and the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers and Ironworkers District Council of Ontario (the “Ironworkers”).
In our earlier communication, we noted the Ironworkers had not yet been receptive to the changes OEA members believe are necessary to ensure the advancement of the industry and to combat competition from non-union or alternate union contractors.
I am pleased to report that during our most recent discussions with the Ironworkers (which took place over the last week), we have made significant progress towards reaching a renewal collective agreement. Included in the items agreed to are enhancements to mobility provisions, a new provision allowing for the recall of former workers in certain circumstances, and a wage increase (that will come into effect upon ratification) comparable to those found in other collective agreements.
At this point, the only remaining issue relates to a contractor’s ability to name hire certain individuals at the start of a larger project. All monetary issues (including wages, overtime and hours of work provisions) have been agreed to.
Current Status of Negotiations
Earlier this week, the OEA presented the Ironworkers with a proposed Memorandum of Agreement that would resolve all outstanding issues in this round of collective bargaining. To date, we have not had a response from the Ironworkers. We note that any delay by the Ironworkers in reaching a new collective agreement will disadvantage union members who are missing out on the wage increase that will come into effect upon ratification.
Prior to us sending over the proposed Memorandum of Agreement, the Ironworkers sent in a request that the Minister of Labour issue a “No Board Report” which would start the countdown to the date a strike would be lawful. The Minister of Labour issued the No Board Report on August 2, 2019. As a result, the Ironworkers will be in a legal strike position starting at 12:01am on August 19, 2019.
We remain optimistic a fair agreement can be reached without a labour stoppage. That said, we remain firm in our position the Ironworkers cannot simply expect wages to increase without contractors obtaining a corresponding benefit.
We will update contractors further once we have more information about any potential strike or the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement.
If you have any questions or wish to discuss this issue further, please contact me.