The association representing elevator companies is praising a decision to order striking workers back to work.
The National Elevator Escalator Association (NEEA) — which represents member companies KONE, Otis, Schindler and ThyssenKrupp Elevator — said it was “pleased” with a consent order issued by the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) that requires striking workers on residential construction and repair to return to work effective June 15.
The OLRB also directed the union — the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) — not to picket residential buildings once work recommences, NEEA said.
Residential work includes constructing, altering, decorating, repairing or demolishing in both new and existing residential buildings, such as apartment towers. Last week, NEEA began asking elevator technicians assigned to work in new and existing residential buildings in certain jurisdictions to return to their positions on June 17.
NEEA filed an application with the OLRB after it said IUEC leaders advised workers not to comply with the law.
Ontario's Labour Relations Act requires any strikes affecting construction of new residential buildings, as well as repairs at existing residential buildings, to end on June 15, 2013, for the City of Toronto, the Regions of Halton, Peel, York, Durham and the County of Simcoe.
Workers who have been on strike must return on June 17 to perform this residential work. Workers who fail to comply with the order from the OLRB would be engaging in an unlawful strike, according to NEEA. Individual workers could be subject to fines of $2,000 each, and the IUEC could be subject to a fine of $25,000, it said in a press release.
NEEA also said it was pleased to return to mediation with the union, and it remains hopeful a collective agreement can be reached.
It said it has assigned “top priority” for repairs to elevators and escalators in hospitals and nursing homes, plus buildings with only one elevator.
Workers have been on strike since May 1, 2013.
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