NORTH BAY, ON, Nov. 19, 2015 /CNW/ - As the lock out of Unifor Local 103 members who work in Ontario Northland's rail and motor coach shops concludes its first week, demands for the involvement of Premier Kathleen Wynne to bring this dispute to a resolve, is becoming louder.
On Saturday November 14th, worker's frustration in the lack effort by ONTC to bargain reasonably, boiled over when it was discovered that the ONTC/Government had arranged for replacement workers to perform work the motor coach service facilities, the workers set up a blockade to keep the replacement workers out.
"While the ONTC was focused on finding ways to punish workers who stood up for their jobs, Unifor members were calling on the Wynne Government to get serious about negotiations" said Andy Mitchell, President of Unifor Local 103.
Unifor has called the move to shut down negotiations, initiate a lock out at the same time as it was hiring replacements workers as underhanded and unacceptable.
"Premier Wynne must become involved in these talks immediately and facilitate a return of the ONTC to the bargaining table. Unifor is ready and willing to bargain and reach a fair settlement" said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.
This week in the Provincial legislature, the provincial government proudly stated "We've got the best mediators in the country" (Minister Flynn, Nov 16, 2015) yet they have refused on numerous occasions to agree to mediation for Ontario Northland.
"As recent as the day prior to the lock out taking effect, Unifor offered the mediation process to assist the parties to achieve a negotiated agreement and for any matters unresolved, we would send those to bidding arbitration. The Wynne government representatives replied "Not Interested!". The question Premier Wynne must answer is, Why Not?" concluded Mitchell.
Unifor represents approximately 350 ONTC employees working in clerical, on-board service, stores, shops and Cochrane Station Inn at various locations across Northern Ontario. The lock out affects nearly 200 of those members.
For further information: Andy Mitchell is available at 705.493.3817; National Rail Director Brian Stevens is available at 416.567.8281