More than 15,000 carpenters across Ontario are threatening to strike on Monday after rejecting the latest offer under the provincial ICI (industrial, commercial, institutional) collective agreement.
The announcement was made by the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario (CDCO), which represents 17 affiliate unions, 75% of whose members rejected the offer. According to a statement released by the CDCO, the carpenters have not been on strike in over three decades, and if they follow through, they will join another 15,000 striking construction workers in southern, eastern and southwestern Ontario.
“Nobody wants to go on strike,” said Mike Yorke, the CDCO’s President and Director of Public Affairs and Innovation, “and our Union hasn’t been on strike in the ICI sector for 34 years but our members, from one side of the province to the other, have now voted overwhelming to tell their employers that we want a fair deal.”
The CDCO maintains that the rapidly escalating cost of living necessitates greater wages and rejected the province’s latest offer for failing to oblige its demands.
“The strike is set to commence on Monday May 9 and we are hoping that the employers will return to the bargaining table to try and work out an improved offer before then,” Yorke said. “But nobody should be under any illusion that members of the Carpenters’ Union are willing to settle for anything other the fair wage increases, which construction workers and their families deserve given everything that they and their families have gone through in the last two and a half years, and everything that they and their families are facing now.”
The looming strike comes on the heels of the Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) Local 183 union, which works in the low- and high-rise construction sectors, rejecting proposed settlements after its collective bargaining agreement expired at the end of last month.
Should the carpenters strike, they will be joining on the picket lines skilled trades who work in high-rise forming, self-levelling flooring, house framing, tile installing, railing installing, and carpet and flooring installing. The Greater Toronto Area, which would be affected by the strikes, is experiencing a population boom that is far outstripping construction, and with the strikes could result in even more upward pressure on housing prices.