Pro­duce work­ers set to re­turn to bar­gain­ing


Strik­ing work­ers at the On­tario Food Ter­mi­nal are set to re­turn to the bar­gain­ing ta­ble Mon­day over their first col­lec­tive agree­ment — with job se­cu­rity, fair wages and sched­ul­ing hours of work “still a stick­ing point.”

Roughly 25 em­ploy­ees with Team­ster Lo­cal Union 419 at Ip­polito Pro­duce are af­fected by the strike which be­gan Tues­day.

“We’re with­hold­ing our labour,” said Ken Dean, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the lo­cal union. “That’s cer­tainly got their at­ten­tion.”

Ip­polito Pro­duce said in a state­ment that col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing be­tween it and the union came to an im­passe ear­lier this week.

Apart from not work­ing, the pick­ets are in­ter­mit­tently stop­ping trucks and cars as they ap­proach the ter­mi­nal, which is the main pro­duce dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre for all of Toronto.

A memo by the On­tario Food Ter­mi­nal Board de­tails the agreed-upon picket pro­to­col: at the Queensway En­trance, ev­ery fifth ve­hi­cle is stopped for two min­utes, un­less there are less than five ve­hi­cles in the lineup, at which point the pick­ets can stop ev­ery ve­hi­cle for two min­utes.

“We want to dis­rupt busi­ness, frankly,” Dean said of the tac­tic. “And by lim­it­ing ac­cess in and out of the food ter­mi­nal, (we) will ap­ply some pres­sure to the em­ployer to come to the ta­ble and they’ll look at the de­mands that we’re ask­ing for.”

Team­sters Lo­cal Union 419 han­dles con­tracts with sev­eral other com­pa­nies at the On­tario Food Ter­mi­nal as well as Ip­polito Pro­duce.

This isn’t the first time this union has fielded a strike at the food ter­mi­nal: in April last year, em­ploy­ees of Fresh Taste Pro­duce as­sem­bled to strike after they said they hadn’t had a pay raise in 14 years. With files from Bren­nan Do­herty and Jenna Moon

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