Ontario operators end strike by ratifying three-year collective agreement

High-rise construction in Toronto.

Members of Local 793 of the International Union of Operating Engineers have ratified a new three-year Provincial Collective Agreement with contractors.

Union members voted in favour of the agreement at ratification meetings held across the province on May 20, 2022.

The agreement affects operators who work on cranes and heavy equipment at construction sites across the province and who are involved in activities such as steel erection and mechanical installations, foundation piling, caisson boring and excavation, general construction and surveying.

The agreement runs from May 21, 2022 to April 30, 2025. It provides for a total monetary package increase of $9 an hour over three years. Wages rise by $3 an hour each year of the agreement.

Also, the agreement contains language improvements and increases to travel, room and board and meal allowances. The travel, room and board allowance will increase 19% over three years. Meanwhile, room and board allowances will now be paid daily for all schedules.

According to the union, no concessions were made on any of its proposals and the wage settlement is the highest of any of the trades in the ICI construction sector.

“Our members have spoken on the provincial strike and have accepted the employers’ last offer,” said Mike Gallagher, business manager for Local 793. “Members across the province in every area voted to accept the settlement and go back to work.”

Notably, the agreement adds a new provision to ensure that employers will provide parking or a refund to employees working within the downtown area of Toronto for up to $15 per day effective May 1, 2024.

“We appreciate all the hard work of our legal staff and business representatives, the organizers and every member who supported the strike, stood together, and held the line,” Gallagher said. “We look forward to getting back to building our province’s much-needed schools, hospitals and highways, and other vital infrastructure.”