Drivers on Princess Street in Kingston may have noticed a new presence alongside the city’s main artery this week, as local construction labourers have begun picketing at a construction site near Sydenham Road.
In front of the former gas station – and, more importantly, the site for the development of a 230-unit building at 2274 Princess Street – members of the Labourers International Union of North America (LiUNA) are publicly striking. The issue at hand, those workers say, is their contract with the developer of the 2274 Princess Street property, Patry Inc.
“We’re the Local 183 Kingston labourers’ union, and we’re trying to renegotiate a contract with Jay Patry Industries,” said Tony Sousa, gesturing to the hulking development site on the north side of Princess Street, west of Sydenham Road. There, Patry Inc. has been working on developing a “three-to-five storey multi-unit dwelling with 230 units and surface and underground parking for up to 256 vehicles.”
“That’s why we’re out here striking: because he doesn’t really want to come to the [table],” continued Sousa, Business Agent for LiUNA Local 183 here in Kingston.
“And they offered us not very much money at the beginning, so that’s why we’re here.”
LiUNA represents 66,000 members across Ontario, Sousa said, but the striking members are those specifically working on contract for the Patry Inc. development. However, that doesn’t mean the unionized workers aren’t garnering support from their counterparts in other unions.
“We have other sister locals and trade unions that are supporting us… We had sheet metal workers here [on the picket line] the other day, supporting the guys,” Sousa shared, noting that the striking workers appreciate the noisy encouragement of passersby.
“We hear all the horns honking, so we’re getting lots of support, which is good,” he said. “We’re just looking for a fair wage, a pension for this agreement… There isn’t one right now, and [Patry’s] not agreeing to it.”
It is unclear what the contents of the contract between the LiUNA workers and Patry Inc. entail, nor how much — or how much more — the unionized workers are looking to secure. Inquiries from Kingstonist to LiUNA’s media relations did not receive any response across three days, nor did inquiries to Patry Inc., Jay Patry, or his representatives.
This is a developing story. Kingstonist will provide updated coverage if/when more information becomes available.