15,000 construction workers go on strike in Toronto, job sites shut down

High-rise construction in Toronto.

On May 1st, LiUNA Local 183, the largest local construction union in North America, issued a statement regarding the initiation of a strike by workers in various sectors of residential construction in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

LiUNA Local 183’s statement purports that going on strike was a necessary step toward fair compensation and workers’ rights, outlining its request of fair compensation for its members and citing the ongoing increases to the cost of living across Ontario. Also, the union is urging the Contractors’ Associations to return to the bargaining table with employment terms that address the costs of inflation and demands on the sector over the coming years.

Formers, framers, tile installers, carpet installers and hardwood installers are among the 15,000 workers that have rejected proposed settlements.

“LiUNA Local 183 members were deemed essential throughout the pandemic and continue to serve in one of the GTA’s fastest growing construction sectors,” said Jack Oliveira, LiUNA Local 183 Business Manager. “Our members are at the frontlines of the region’s growth and deserve fair pay and benefits for their work and service to the community.”

The wide-ranging strike impacts both ground-level and high-rise job sites across the Greater Toronto Area, with all high-rise job sites shutting down altogether.

According to LiUNA Local 183, employers in other construction sectors have offered employment terms and conditions which better reflect the current cost of living and anticipate increases in inflationary pressures over the life of the agreement.

“The residential sector is amongst the most in-demand industries for the GTA and will continue to be sought after for years to come. They deserve compensation that reflects their contributions to the industry,” added Oliveira. “Our members work hard and are critical to building housing across the GTA. We’re ready to get back to work, but the Contractors’ Associations needs to offer a fair proposal that respects our members and the work that they do.”