Sudbury

Sheet metal workers strike enters 8th week

Sheet metal workers in Sudbury and across Ontario continue to be on strike.

Outstanding issues include control over working schedules

Members of the Sheet Metal Workers Local 504 in Sudbury and across the province have been on strike for weeks. (Martha Dillman/CBC)

Sheet metal workers in Sudbury and across Ontario continue to be on strike.

The workers have been on the picket line for eight weeks. They work on ventilation projects in a number of sectors, including mining, pulp and paper and commercial.

Lauri Ihamaki, the president of the Sheet Metal Local 504 in Sudbury, says there are a number of outstanding issues.

He says one concern is that the contractors want more control over which workers do certain jobs.

"They want to be able to pick and choose who they deem they would like to have work for them," he said.

"We have what's called a man-power list. If a company calls and needs men, we send one man off the top of the list and then we allow the contractor to pick somebody else who they would like off the list. They want control of that."

Ihamaki says there are also concerns with wages but "the monetary issues aren't a major demand."

"The contractors are insisting they want to increase our work week," he said.

"They want make-up days without overtime. They want some of our members to start working 44 hours a week without overtime."

Lauri Ihamaki is the president of the Sheet Metal Local 504 in Sudbury. (Martha Dillman/CBC)

Ihamaki says the length of the strike is starting to have a negative impact on the workers.

"Some of them are going out and finding other means of employment," he said.

"The longer this strike ticks on, the longer they're going to have to make ends meet."

Ihamaki says talks with the Ontario Sheet Metal Contractors Association broke down last week, but have resumed this week.

CBC Sudbury has requested a comment from the association but has received no response.

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