Home closings in GTA pushed back due to labour dispute

Vaughan, March 22, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Continued illegal activity by Local 183 of the Labourers International Union of North America has disrupted construction work on much-needed new housing in the GTA and already resulted in closing dates being delayed for several thousand buyers. Unfortunately, buyers are now paying the price for Local 183 seeking to expand at the expense of another union.

“Bricklaying and stucco work has stopped on many sites and construction on units on some sites is grinding to a halt,” says Richard Lyall, president of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON). “This situation will only get worse and is happening because Local 183 is failing to abide by a decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) and is going after stucco workers who are represented by another union, Local 1891 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.”

Local 183 is preventing bricklayers from working for builders if the builders use a stucco contractor that is not bound to a Local 183 agreement. It is a blatant attempt to interfere with stucco and exterior insulation finish systems (EIFS) contractors who are represented by the rival trade union. Builders have no obligation to use a Local 183 stucco contractor to complete their houses.

On March 4, the OLRB ordered Local 183 to cease and desist from such activities but the union has not complied, leaving many homebuyers in limbo.

The union’s actions have forced delays in housing work at a time when builders are trying to deal with COVID-19 and make up for lost time. Thousands of families are now being punished through absolutely no fault of their own and are being prevented from taking possession of their new homes. 

The labour disruption is putting tremendous stress on homebuyers. Recently, one buyer felt the need to request a closing before the house was even completed, just to ensure that they’d have shelter. The dispute has also caused some homebuilders to consider putting their future plans on hold.

Other homeowners have expressed disbelief and frustration with the timing of these actions. The pandemic has already turned their world upside down and this dispute is the last thing anyone needs as we battle COVID-19.

“No one wins in this situation,” notes Lyall. “The homebuilders are handcuffed, the buyer is left in limbo, and construction workers lose jobs.”

The construction industry is a critical component of Ontario’s economic recovery and home building is an essential service because shelter is a need. It is patently unfair for Local 183 to prevent bricklayers and stucco contractors from different unions working side-by-side.

Background on RESCON: RESCON is the province’s leading association of residential builders committed to providing leadership and fostering innovation in the industry.

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