News Local

ONTC locks out employees

By JENNIFER HAMILTON-MCCHARLES, The Nugget

About 195 Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) employees are on the picket line this morning after receiving notification of a lock out.

About 195 Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) employees are on the picket line this morning after receiving notification of a lock out.

About 195 Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) employees are on the picket line this morning after receiving notification of a lock out.

 The lock out took effect Saturday, however affected employees were not required to work during the 72 hour notice period.

Unifor represents 195 rail and bus mechanics, as well as employees who conduct locomotive and rail car repair, in its Agreement 12 bargaining unit.

Employees work out of North Bay, Cochrane, Englehart, Moosonee, Rouyn-Noranda, Timmins and Hearst.

“I am disappointed that an agreement has not been reached. Meaningful changes are required to improve the organization, meet our transformation goals and secure profitable business opportunities for our remanufacturing and repair division,” said Corina Moore, President and CEO of Ontario Northland.

“The previous collective agreements expired in 2013. It is time to conclude our negotiations and focus on improving the organization.”

Andy Mitchell, president of Unifor Local 103, said he received notification of a lockout at 7:20 a.m. Wednesday morning.

He was preparing to meet with the company Friday to resume talks.

“I'm unsure of this company's strategy. They are trying to pit workers against workers by dividing and upsetting them. It's a strange way to run a company.”

Mitchell said Unifor has been in the same situation in 1995 when members were locked out for 88 days.

He said affected employees will be taking up the lines this morning.

“I never thought the company would lock us out on Remembrance Day. Who thought they would want to fight.”

Mitchell said employees not affected by the lock out are still required to go to work but will obviously respect the picket lines.

“It will be gut-wrenching for them to cross the lines of their fellow members,” Mitchell said.

“We wanted to negotiate all week long. I'm not quite sure what happened overnight, why the change of direction,” he said.

According to the ONTC media release, the company's bargaining team provided its final offers to Unifor on Nov.6.

The company states they remain available to meet with Unifor and hear its position on ONTC’s final offers.

“We are hopeful that the deadline will result in a serious attempt by Unifor to reach a collective agreement,” the company stated in its media release.

“Priorities for ONTC management that have been discussed with Unifor during bargaining include trade flexibility (allowing multiple trades to work together, as required to significantly improve the efficiency of our Remanufacturing and Repair Division), changes to benefits that align with other Ontario Northland agreements and public service standards, elimination of/Changes to employment security provisions within the agreements. (Currently, the collective agreements provide for 14 years of job security for senior employees).”

Freight, motor coach, and passenger rail (Polar Bear Express) transportation services will continue to operate as scheduled.

Ontario Northland is promoting its transformation efforts, both internally and externally, and recognizes the need to reshape the organization to attract new business and ensure sustainability. The unions have a vital role in shaping a sustainable future for Ontario Northland.



Featured Businesses

Go to the Marketplace »