TORONTO, Sept. 2, 2018 /CNW/ - Despite IATSE Local 58 offering unprecedented concessions in a bid to reach a settlement in the ongoing contract dispute between the union and City of Toronto-owned Exhibition Place, the city refuses to consider any proposals that will not lead directly to the elimination of union jobs on ExPlace grounds.
The union, which represents the more than 400 skilled stage technicians locked out by Exhibition Place since July 20, met with the city's bargaining team for over 12 hours on August 30 and 13 hours on September 1, and presented proposals to address issues of concern raised by the Exhibition Place Board of Governors in relation to the contract. During that time, city negotiators responded by changing only six words in their counter proposals, resulting in the two parties being further apart on the primary issue of contracting out jobs on ExPlace grounds traditionally performed by Local 58 stagehands.
"Every proposal we made to try to get closer to a fair deal for our members while taking the city's position into account was ignored, and we were met with responses that moved the goalposts even further away," says IATSE Local 58 president Justin Antheunis. "No matter what we say, it's clear the city is only interested in doing whatever it takes to break the union and give these jobs to near-minimum-wage and out-of-town workers."
While IATSE Local 58 offered to reconvene, ironically, on Labour Day, the city requested a delay until September 4 in order to draft a new proposal. Given how little movement or willingness to engage in meaningful discussion the city has shown so far, the union doubts the new language will have any impact on the negotiations.
"They keep coming back with the same proposal worded in different ways," says Antheunis. "That's not bargaining in good faith. We're making a real effort to get something settled, but the city just keeps stringing us along with meaningless changes that do nothing but keep their employees locked out."
With no end in sight to the lockout and negotiations in peril, the city's continued refusal to bargain in good faith is putting more than just Local 58 jobs on the line, says Antheunis. "I never would have believed that the city would let the CNE fail financially, that they would stand by while other events cancelled bookings and allow their tenants to suffer huge monetary losses, all in an effort to force us out and open the door for them to pay bargain-basement rates. But that's exactly what's happening."
The next scheduled meeting between IATSE Local 58 and city negotiators is slated for 4:00p.m. Tuesday, September 4, providing the city sends a comprehensive proposal to the union before the meeting's scheduled start time.
Monday's Labour Day parade, which traditionally ends at Exhibition Place with more than 10,000 free-admission CNE wristbands being given out to participants, will instead bypass ExPlace and end at Lamport Stadium, in solidarity with the locked-out workers of IATSE Local 58.
SOURCE IATSE Local 58
For further information: Media contact: Justin Antheunis, President, Local 58, 647-241-5588, [email protected]