Ontario operators ratify three-year deal
September 1, 2016 By Keith Norbury
Unionized operators of cranes and other heavy equipment in Ontario have ratified a new three-year collective agreement with contractors, the union announced in June.
Members of local 793 of the International Union of Operating Engineers “voted overwhelmingly in favour of the agreement at ratification meetings held across the province on June 9, 2016,” said a news release from the union.
The agreement — which runs from May 1, 2016 to April 30, 2019 — affects workers involved in such activities as “steel erection and mechanical installations, foundation piling, caisson boring and excavation, general construction and surveying,” the release said.
Under the terms of the deal, workers will receive a total pay increase of $3.95 an hour over the life of the contract. The first increase, of $1.35 an hour, is retroactive to May 1. Increases of $1.30 an hour kick in May 1 of 2017 and 2018.
“We are pleased to have been able to work with our employers to reach a settlement,” the release quoted local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher. “Given our strong overall work situation, this was the right deal. We were determined to get a fair deal and we are comfortable that that was achieved.”
The union, which has 14,000 members, didn’t make any concessions in reaching the deal, which also included increases in meal, room-and-board, and travel expenses. The agreement also includes “a new provision to ensure that employers will supply employees with fall protection equipment and safety vests” as well as a provision requiring tower crane cabs to have suitable padded seats.
Gallagher gave credit to a “mature approach” and “respectful” talks on the part of both parties in reaching the agreement. In particular, he praised Ken Williams Jr., president of Pumpcrete Corporation and president of the Crane Rental Association of Ontario, for stepping in after the death of former CRAO president Ray Goodfellow.
Also under the deal, regular employees who do crane rental work and have been on a company payroll for six straight months will be “reimbursed for Ontario College of Trades annual membership fees and also for obtaining an applicable medical report for AZ licence requirements.”
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