The union protecting and representing metal sheet workers has forced its employees to the picket line.
Local 504 has seen rifts in its previous contract negotiations, more specifically in Southern Ontario. SaultOnline spoke with metal sheet workers who were protesting in aid of their peers from the south.
As per request, the workers we spoke with will remain nameless.
“We are out here for a lot of the language in our contract that’s being deleted, stuff we fought for for over 25 years. Some of the issues we are looking at are they are trying to get 100% name hire from Southern Ontario. They are looking at 100% mobility from Southern Ontario meaning a company can move all of its members here with no jobs for local Soo workers. They are looking at a 1:1 ratio for workers and apprentices as well, something we do not see the value in.”
The members picketing were adamant on making it clear in who the message was intended for.
“Something we want to express, we are not picketing local contractors. Our local contractors are on board with us, rather we are targeting a select few from Southern Ontario. They have left the bargaining table and have no request to return, and we have to fight for our brothers.”
Local 504 has 15,000 members, as well as a 115 year history. The Sheet Metal International Association Issued a Charter to Local 504 in June of 1957.
“We are not asking for anything major, we just don’t want to lose…our wage is fair, they’ve made us a wage offer that’s reasonable. This day and age we aren’t asking for anything big. As far as the language, it’s our biggest issue as they are trying to take away the things we have fought so hard for.”
The union says they are not asking for much when it comes to what would resolve the current issues.
“A perfect solution would to be for the language to remain the same. Another issue with what they are looking for is 44 hour work weeks before overtime, we currently have 8 hour work days followed by over time. It’s just a lot of the language in the contract, and they are going after our constitution as opposed to certain items.”
The strike now enters into its second week, with no timetable on when the skilled labourers will return to work.