Mediation talks between Exhibition Place and locked-out workers have broken down

Mediation talks between Exhibition Place talks and IATSE Local 58 aimed at ending a months-long dispute have broken down with no plans for the parties to meet again.

‘Local 58 provided substantial concessions’ in last proposal, union president says

Members of IATSE Local 58 have been locked out of Exhibition Place since July 20. The impasse over contracting out jobs threatens to mar events scheduled in the coming months. (Paul Smith/CBC)

Mediation talks between Exhibition Place and IATSE Local 58 aimed at ending a months-long dispute have broken down with no plans for the parties to meet again.

We want to come back and . . . work on those events that people are attending at Exhibition Place.- Justin Antheunis, President of IATSE Local 58

The president of IATSE Local 58, Justin Antheunis, said Wednesday's talks ended abruptly when the venue's board of governors reneged on a promise to come to the table with a new proposal.

"The city had relayed to both us and the mediator that they were going to come with a new proposal, and when we showed up at that meeting their proposal remained the exact same with barely any movement and still with the contracting-out provisions on the table," Antheunis told CBC Toronto Thursday afternoon.

"The last thing that happened, we tabled a proposal which they ignored and still tried to talk about their proposal, and when we said that we weren't willing to move on a certain position to get a deal, they called the meeting over."

At the heart of the impasse is the issue of contracting out jobs. And as it drags on, it continues to threaten to mar events scheduled in the coming months.

Coun. Mark Grimes, chair of the board of governors of Exhibition Place, says the union is proposing interest arbitration because its bargaining strategy of disrupting the CNE has proven unsuccessful. (Cole Burston/Canadian Press)

Coun. Mark Grimes, chair of the board of governors of Exhibition Place, told CBC Toronto via email on Wednesday that mediation was not successful and no further dates are scheduled for talks.

"In light of the union's refusal to meaningfully respond to the issues that we identified, despite our continuing efforts to respond to their concerns, the parties have broken off talks at this time," Grimes said.

"The union is proposing interest arbitration because its bargaining strategy of disrupting the CNE has proven unsuccessful. The issues that are outstanding, between the parties, need to be resolved at the bargaining table."

Grimes said the lockout will continue until the union is prepared to return to bargaining with a proposal that addresses Exhibition Place's key issues in a meaningful way.

But Antheunis said Local 58 provided "substantial concessions" in its last proposal to address all of the issues that the city of Toronto was looking to address, adding that it seems that they have moved the goalpost and now want to further attack the workers at Exhibition Place.

He said the next step is for Local 58 is to keep trying to get its message out to people who are attending events at Exhibition Place and groups who are renting out facilities there that the city of Toronto has locked them out.

"We want to come back and we want to do the jobs and we want to work on those events that people are attending at Exhibition Place," Antheunis said.

"I think we realistically can get back to the bargaining table when the city agrees to bargain in good faith and talk about the issues that they said were big issues since we started negotiating in January."

About the Author

Desmond Brown

Journalist

Desmond Brown is a journalist with CBC News. He's worked with the digital unit at CBC Toronto and Hamilton. Contact him at: desmond.brown@cbc.ca

With files from Muriel Draaisma