TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 06/17/13 -- "The National Elevator and Escalator Association's (NEEA) decision to apply a little used section of the Ontario Labour Code to return a select few elevator constructors back to work speaks volumes about the lack of sincerity of trying to get a negotiated settlement," said Ben McIntyre, chair of the negotiating committee for Locals 50 (Toronto), 90 (Hamilton) and 96 (Ottawa) of the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC).
"Our members are ready to return to work but our employers find it more profitable to keep three quarters of our members out while allowing a select few to work," McIntyre said today at a press conference held in Toronto.
The Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) decision to order some members the IUEC back to work will only benefit the Greater Toronto Area's condominium construction industry, leaving the rest of the Ontario's hospitals, apartments and nursing homes with little or no regular maintenance and service.
"The elevating companies are putting profits ahead of hard working Ontarians by forcing back workers in the lucrative Toronto condo construction sector while ignoring the rest of the province," points out McIntyre. "Instead of agreeing to arbitration that would allow workers back, the elevating companies chose only one small sector that is among the most highly profitable part of their business, thereby revealing their true motives."
Since January 2013, the IUEC has been willing, and asking, to negotiate a contract with the NEEA. In turn, the NEEA forced the IUEC into a strike on May 1, the first strike action in more than twenty-five years. The Ministry of Labour convened parties back to the table on May 24th and 25th, and the IUEC presented an offer on May 25th, which addressed a significant number of issues presented by the employer but were rejected by NEEA. The parties did return for one last round on June 11th and 12th before NEEA made a Section 150.1 application before the OLRB. Issues surrounding the strike include seniority, job security and working conditions of its members which put at risk overall safety of elevated devices in Ontario. These issues are still unresolved.
"The IUEC has been willing to work through the negotiations to ensure elevator safety is maintained, but NEEA refused," says McIntyre. "This demonstrates a callous disregard for the residents of this province, and their strong arming of the OLRB speaks to the skewed priorities toward the office towers and condos."
In response to the public's concern for elevator safety, the IUEC established a website to log elevator maintenance issues. Ontarians can go to: http://www.elevatorsafety.ca. All issues are delivered directly to the Technical Standards Safety Authority (TSSA).
"Safety concerns are the top priority of the IUEC and we want to make sure that there is an easy way for the public to report problems," said McIntyre. "We will continue to alert the public to issues that may affect them."
About the IUEC:
The International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) has proudly been building, repairing, servicing and maintaining elevating devices for 100 years in Ontario and represents 1,400 members in Ontario's industrial, commercial and residential elevator construction, service and maintenance sectors, which are responsible for approximately 50,000 elevating devices.
Business Manager, Local 50, IUEC
416-754-2424 or Cell: 416-678-5856
Marcel Wieder, President
Aurora Strategy Group Inc.
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