Unifor workers at GFL Environmental will be taking a strike vote after a “no board” report from the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
A one-year contract extension with members of Local 4268 agreed to at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic expired on April 26, 2021. Since then, negotiations for a new agreement have been underway.
Unifor represents about 180 members who primarily drive and operate commercial waste/ recycling trucks and do residential pickup in Hamilton-Wentworth but also service commercial customers in Brantford-Brant county and Norfolk-Haldimand counties in Ontario.
The union argues that GFL’s “refusal to bargain fair wages and benefits for the waste and recycling truck operators deemed ‘essential’ during the pandemic is pushing Local 4268 members towards a strike”.
“When GFL customers needed curbside and commercial services during the pandemic, we were there,” said Local 4268 president Debbie Montgomery. “It’s only fair that waste and recycling truck operators are recognized in their next contract.”
“Our members are still out in the public every day and exposed. They have earned fair compensation and respect,” said unit chairman Paul McKee.
“No board” report
On July 13, 2021, the parties met with the appointed officer from Disputes/Resolutions Department of the OLRB, who subsequently issued a “no-board” report to be posted on July 19. As a result, if the company and Local 4268 cannot negotiate an agreement by the legal deadline of August 5, a work interruption could occur.
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers.