Statement from the National Elevator Escalator Association

Only one issue remains outstanding to get 1,400 striking workers back on the job

TORONTO, May 31, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario's Labour Relations Act designates the National Elevator Escalator Association (NEEA) as an employer bargaining agency.  In this role, NEEA collectively bargains with the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) for all employers performing Industrial-Commercial-Institutional (ICI) construction in Ontario.

Despite NEEA's best efforts to achieve a negotiated collective agreement with IUEC, negotiations for the renewal agreement broke off in the early morning of May 1st and the union opted to go on strike.

NEEA would like to get the 1,400 IUEC workers across the province back to work and in an effort to do so, NEEA and IUEC met with the assistance of a mediator on May 23 and 24, 2013.  While the vast majority of issues have been resolved, including a significant increase to hourly wages, up from the current elevator mechanic wage of $112,000/year to $121,000/year, we have been unable to achieve agreement on one remaining employer issue which is a reasonable modification to seniority.

In order to improve safety, training and improved product knowledge, NEEA is proposing that the industry move from industry seniority to individual company seniority.  Currently the elevator and escalator industry is the only construction trade in Ontario that allows workers to carry seniority between different employers. This practice was arbitrated into the collective agreements in Ontario, Alberta, Nova Scotia and BC in the mid-1970's.  Since then, in the provinces other than Ontario, NEEA and the union have agreed to either eliminate, grandfather or move seniority to separate collective agreements.

We are disappointed that the union has chosen to strike and withdraw services.
Although the only discussions we have had with the union since they went on strike occurred when the mediator called the parties together on May 23 and 24, NEEA continues to be available to participate in meaningful negotiations that could lead to a prompt settlement.

In the meantime, the first priority of our members, KONE, Otis, Schindler and ThyssenKrupp Elevator, continues to be the safety of the people of Ontario who rely on elevators and escalators daily.  Each of our members has implemented a contingency plan employing trained, qualified personnel to support our customers and minimize the impact of the strike on Ontarians. Our members are committed to providing elevators and escalators that remain safe and operational for our customers and the public.

Today more than 95% of all of the elevators and escalators in Ontario maintained by KONE, Otis, Schindler and ThyssenKrupp Elevator continue to be fully operational.

NEEA remains hopeful that a collective agreement can be reached and will continue to work towards that end.

SOURCE: National Elevator Escalator Association (NEEA)

For further information:

NEEA Counsel
Patrick Moran
Hicks Morley
(416)864-7308
patrick-moran@hicksmorley.com