P.E.I. plumbers, pipe fitters and welders union striking for better wages
130 plumbers, pipe fitters and welders walk off more than 10 construction sites
P.E.I. plumbers, pipe fitters and welders walked off the job at various construction sites across the Island Monday, demanding higher wages.
Local 721, the union representing those workers, said they are without a contract after negotiations with employers broke down.
"We've got strikes Island-wide [at] various job sites. We've just all come together. We're all doing our part. We're going to be here until this is resolved," said Nathan Dougan, spokesperson for local union 721.
"We just want to get above inflation. Inflation put us here. We just want to stay competitive, stay above it, have good wages for families. You know, just things like that. We're not asking for much," he said.
Strike could be months
The union's last agreement expired at the end of February. In that agreement, the paid rate for plumbers, pipe fitters and welders is $29.82 per hour. Dougan did not specify how much of an increase the union was looking for.
Over 130 members from the union are picketing at more than 10 construction sites across P.E.I. and Dougan said members are willing to strike for as long as it takes to reach a fair agreement.
"Could be here for six months. Who knows? Hopefully it doesn't last that long but we're willing to do that," Dougan said.
"It can be very frustrating. I mean these men out here, they have families, they have children, they have bills and they're willing to stand out here for nothing so we can get what we need."
Contractors hope to reach agreement soon
The strike is a major concern for Rodney Murray, who chairs the Association of Commercial and Industrial Contractors, the group on the other side of the bargaining table.
A number of construction projects have been put on hold because of the strike, some with deadlines for this summer.
Murray said the association has offered the union a wage increase of 7.5 per cent but that "in return, [the union is] asking for prices considerably higher than we feel it should be."
He added he'd like to find a solution as soon as possible.
"We're working on a few things here to try and get people back to work," Murray said. "It's going to be a little bit of a road I think. I'm not sure."