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ONR workers back on the job after illegal lockout

ONR workers feel vindication after small Labour Board victory
Unifor Local 103 members on the picket line on Remembrance Day. Photo by Chris Dawson.

The Ontario Northland Workers who were locked out on the morning of Remembrance Day will be back to work on Friday. 

That’s because the union filed a complaint to the Canada Industrial Relations Board which ruled that the lockout was in fact illegal and the 195 workers represented by Unifor Local 103 will be back to work on Friday.  

Some union members believed the Remembrance day lockout was a strategic date as the ONTC knew all Labour Board offices would be closed on the Federal Government holiday Wednesday.   

The ONTC gave a 72-hour lockout notice to its workers in Agreement 12, so while they were locked out, the workers were still receiving pay until the official lockout date of Saturday.  

“The ONTC and the union are scheduled to meet on Friday and if an agreement isn’t found then the lockout will officially begin on Saturday, November 14th,” said Brian Stevens, Unifor National Rail Director in an interview Thursday night.   

“And this here is kind of a sense of vindication that their strategically aggressive approach was exposed for what it was, they had every intention of locking out our members and to do it in an underhanded way.

“Throughout the last six to seven months our opinion has been the employer has been taking an excessively aggressive approach to bargaining and what they were saying at the bargaining table was not reflected in what they were saying in the general public.”

Steven says the unusually timed mid week lockout wasted time that both sides could have used to try to get to a resolution. 

Like most of the Unifor workers, Stevens is concerned the ONTC plan is to just keep ONR management staff and then contract the rest of the work out. 

“We have not been irresponsible in this round of bargaining, it’s the employer who has strategically trying to set this thing up in order to get like an MTO arrangement and that’s precisely what they want to do is to have contract workers available from a tent city to come in and do work and go back home and have no legacy costs at all,” said Stevens.    

The ONTC and Unifor are still currently scheduled to meet on Friday morning. 

The Federal Conciliation and Mediation Officer who have been assigned to bargaining since June, will also be present.


Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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