Crane and heavy equipment operators with Local 793 of the International Union of Operating Engineers withdrew their services at all major industrial, commercial and institutional construction projects throughout Ontario earlier today at 12:01 a.m.
"The members of Local 793 have given their negotiating committee an overwhelming strike mandate in order to achieve a fair collective agreement with the contractors," said Mike Gallagher, business manager of the union. "The membership rejected the contractors' last position on wages and language issues."
"Many important projects in the province will be affected by the strike," Gallagher said. "The Construction Sector Council forecasts that Ontario's economy will continue to expand for at least the next three years yet the wage offer from employers was less than three percent a year."
Gallagher added that operating engineers are highly skilled and vital to the construction industry in Ontario, and they deserve fair treatment.
In 1978, Local 793 of the International Union of Operating Engineers was designated by the Ministry of Labour as the provincial employee bargaining agency to represent employees engaged in the operation of cranes, shovels, bulldozers or similar equipment, and those primarily engaged in the repairing or maintaining of same, and employees engaged as surveyors.
Local 793 represents approximately 10,000 construction and industrial workers throughout Ontario.