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Bridge Beat

Apr 1, 2021

Ontario Purchasers of New Homes Delayed by LIUNA Local 183 Illegal Labour Tactics

LIUNA 183 is one of the largest, if not the largest, trade union in the residential housing industry in Ontario.  It was recently decided that representing all of the bricklayers was not enough; they eyed the growing EIFS/stucco industry in Ontario as its next target to grow its unionized base.   https://tinyurl.com/ubvejkyu

LIUNA has attempted to take over control of all stucco/EIFS employees that are either uncertified and non-unionized, or certified with their competitors, by pressuring the trades which they do have under their control, namely, the bricklayers, either directly or through affiliated unions, to withdraw their services from builders who are using non-unionized or competitive union stucco/EIFS employees.  Teamster-like tactics exercised by LIUNA are described in excruciating detail in the Ontario Labour Relations Board (“OLRB”) Decision dated March 4, 2021.  In this Decision, Ras-Con Group Inc. brought an application together with RESCON against LIUNA 183 and others for causing both illegal strikes and as well, calling for unlawful strikes and engaging in acts that they knew would result in persons engaging in an unlawful strike, all contrary to Sections 76, 79, 81 and 83 of the Labour Relations Act (Ontario) (the “Act”).

The Board found that LIUNA, through one of its senior representative, Cesar Rodrigues, had caused a number of builders who participated in the OLRB Application, to withdraw their participation in the Application and further, to notify non-unionized EIFS/stucco contractors like Ras-Con Group Inc., that their contracted services would no longer be required, in order to ensure that the bricklayers who had been withdrawn from their sites, returned to work. 

The Board did rule that although technically, no illegal strike had taken place, Sections 81 and 83 of the Act had been breached.  “I found that the Union has threatened an unlawful strike and committed acts that it ought to have know the reasonable and probable consequence of which is that other people will engage in an unlawful strike and I am prepared to so declare and order the Union cease and desist”.  (Paragraph 96 of the OLRB Decision.)

In the personal view of this writer (and not of this firm), the acts of LIUNA 183 are reprehensible from both a business perspective and a labour relations perspective.  Most of all, they indicate the total disregard by Local 183 of the impact on homeowners who are anxiously awaiting completion of their homes.  They are getting caught in a cross-fire of a power play by LIUNA to build up its ever growing base of unionized workers. 

If there ever was a time for the provincial government to step in and put an end to these type of tactics to protect the rule of law and Ontario new home buyers, this is it.  Doug Ford, are you listening?

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