Tue. Aug 16th, 2022

“We look forward to getting back to building our province’s much-needed schools, hospitals and highways, and other vital infrastructure.”

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Tower cranes will be back in action on Ottawa construction sites next week, after crane and heavy equipment operators across the province voted to ratify a new provincial collective agreement on Friday.

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The two-week strike by Local 793 of the International Union of Operating Engineers had a city-wide impact, said John DeVries, president of the Ottawa Construction Association, from light-rail construction to the LeBreton Flats library project to work on Parliament Hill.

DeVries also manages the Ottawa Construction Labor Relations Association, which represents employers.

After previously rejecting an $ 8 hourly wage increase package, the operating engineers’ union membership “voted strongly in favor of the agreement” that will deliver a $ 9 increase over three years, Local 793 announced Friday. Wages will rise $ 3 an hour annually, and travel, meal and room and board allowances will also increase.

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“Members across the province in every area voted to accept the settlement and go back to work,” Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher said in a media release that described the wage settlement as the highest so far in the current round of bargaining for any of the trades in the industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) construction sector.

When the strike began, Gallagher said members were concerned about not being able to keep up with rising costs for essentials such as fuel, work travel, parking on construction sites and groceries.

“We look forward to getting back to building our province’s much-needed schools, hospitals and highways, and other vital infrastructure,” he said Friday.

The work done by the crane and heavy equipment operators covered by the new agreement includes steel erection, foundation piling, general construction and surveying.

A new three-year agreement was also ratified Friday by the Formwork Council of Ontario, of which the operating engineers’ union is a member. The now-concluded three-week formwork strike affected high-rise residential projects in Ottawa.

“Every condo job, every rental job in Ottawa was shut down the last three weeks,” DeVries said.

A strike by the carpenters’ union in the ICI sector continues. DeVries said more negotiations were scheduled for next week.

Other trade unions in the ICI sector are at various stages of the bargaining process.

With files from Thomas Desormeaux

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