More tradespeople have walked off the job at construction sites around Ontario today after it was announced late Saturday night that the Carpenters District Council of Ontario (CDCO) would be leading a province-wide strike of carpenters in the industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) sector of the construction industry, effective at 12AM this morning. 

The announcement comes on the heels of the Labourers' International Union of North America (LiUNA) Local 183 strike that began a week earlier. While the LiUNA strike saw approximately 15,000 skilled construction workers from high-rise forming, self-levelling forming, tile, railing, carpet, and hardwood installers refuse to work until new agreements are reacher, the Carpenters' strike is now seeing a similar number of workers do the same. 

Worker on the job, image taken by Clem Onojeghuo

Composed of 17 affiliated local unions of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, the Carpenters' strike will cause even more construction delays across the province, in addition to the shut down of residential builds caused by the LiUNA strike. 

"Nobody wants to go on strike," said Mike Yorke, the CDCO's President and Director of Public Affairs and Innovation, "and our Union hasn't been on strike in the ICI sector for 34 years, but our members — from one side of the province to the other — have now voted overwhelming to tell their employers that we want a fair deal".

The members of the Carpenters' Union have voted by a huge margin to reject the employers' last offer, citing similar issues to that of LiUNA's striking workers, such as the rise in cost of living, and wanting compensation for the critical work they completed throughout the pandemic. 

Construction underway, image taken by Tolu Olubode

"Carpenters, like other construction workers, kept working on job sites to build critical infrastructure all the way through the COVID crisis," said Yorke. "Their work was seen as essential during the pandemic and because of this, and the spiralling cost of living increases, our Union and our members believe that wages now have to be increased."

The Carpenter's Union is hoping that the employers will return to the bargaining table to try and work out an improved offer for the workers, so that the strike does not have to last longer than necessary. 

Yorke made it clear that the Carpenter's will not be backing down, saying, "nobody should be under any illusion that members of the Carpenters' Union are willing to settle for anything less than the fair wage increases which construction workers and their families deserve."

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