About 120 workers at Satin Flooring in North York, Ont., were locked out on Dec. 7 at 12:01 a.m.
The company was attempting to cut hourly wages from $19 to $16 and to force workers to pay up to $200 more out-of-pocket every month for benefits, said the Teamsters union.
“We’ve been trying to negotiate in good faith for six months, to work with Satin Flooring and bring creative solutions to the table,” said Fernanda Santos, president of Teamsters, Local 847.
Talks between the employer and Teamsters, Local 847 have been ongoing for six months. While the union was in a legal position to strike, it had assured the company that it was willing to remain at the bargaining table for as long as it took, said the union.
To help the company save money, the union suggested offering buyouts and compensation packages for workers, many of whom are older and open to being bridged to retirement. The company turned down the idea, opting instead to fight for lower wages and working conditions, according to Teamsters.
On top of cutting wages and benefits, the company is also seeking to cut vacations and to suspend pension contributions for three years, said the union.
“Satin Flooring is putting 120 people out of work, just in time for Christmas,” said François Laporte, president of Teamsters Canada. “Their greed and carelessness, in this season of giving and solidarity, is sickening.”
Satin Flooring was founded in 1922 and changed ownership five years ago. This is the first labour dispute since its workers joined the Teamsters about 30 years ago. The previous three-year collective agreement expired on April 30.
Teamsters represent 125,000 members in Canada in all industries. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, represents 1.4 million workers in North America.
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