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Sheet metal workers enter fourth week of strike

Members of the Sheet Metal Workers Union on strike at the Feihe site in Kingston on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Photo by Michelle Allan.

 

Members of the Sheet Metal Workers International Association locals 47, 235, 269, 397, 473, 504, 537, and 562 representing workers in Ottawa, Windsor, Kingston, Thunder Bay, London, Sudbury, and Kitchener are entering their fourth week of striking.

The Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association (SMWIA) advocates for the rights of over 150,000 workers in the construction, manufacturing, service, railroad and shipyard industries.

The local 269 sheet metal workers stated they were on strike because the contractors were attempting to increase hours with no financial compensation, change the apprentice ratio to 1:1, take control of the hiring hall list, and institute eight-hour make-up workdays to compensate for missed time during poor weather. The strikers also said that contractors are trying to take away their right to choose our holiday time and “want to tell us when to have a holiday.”

Members of the Sheet Metal Workers Union have also stopped work on Kingston Secondary School during their ongoing strike. Photo by Lucas Mulder.

According to SMWIA, the contractors offered them 20 per cent less than the lowest trade that settled. SMWIA said that contractors were using a “divide and conquer technique of bargaining” by offering several different small increases in pay rates to workers.

“We’re just trying to maintain the status quo,” said an acting strike captain. “We just want to keep the rights we fought for.”

 

Editorial note: All names have been withheld at the request of the picketers.

 

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