Workers striking over lackluster wages from Patry

Striking workers

Last Updated on February 12, 2023 by YGK News Staff

A group of about 15 workers represented by Labourers International Union of North America (LiUNA) Local 183 are striking over what they say are unfair wage packages being paid by Jay Patry Enterprises.

The workers are part of a project set to build a 230 unit apartment building at 2274 Princess Street, just west of Sydenham Road.

For the striking members the issue is simple: they haven’t had a raise under Patry since 2019 and the developer is said to be paying markedly less than his competitors for similar or identical work.

Jason Ottey, Director of Government Relations and Communications for LiUna Local 183, says the union has been trying to negotiate a new collective agreement with Patry for years, but that he refuses to meaningfully enter discussions.

“Coming to a negotiation and then proposing a ridiculous offer and not meaningfully trying to bargain to reach a settlement is never going to produce a favourable outcome,” Ottey said.

“What we’re asking is for Patry to bring the wages of his employees up to that of his competitors.”

Ottney says agreements between the union and two other developers, IN8 and Homestead Land Holdings, are paying near parity to one another while wages and benefits under Patry have fallen far behind.

He says that pay differential only continues to become exacerbated as the two sides fail to renew a collective agreement, leading the union to feel that a strike is the best and only recourse.

Ottey says Patry is enjoying extra profits by not re-negotiating, but it comes at the expense of LiUNA’s members.

“This differential that Patry is enjoying quite frankly,” Ottey said.

“It’s obviously harming our members who in today’s high cost of living environment deserve to have an increase and deserve to be paid what other people who are performing the work in a similar area are being paid.”

Workers have been picketing in front of the job site’s entrance, next to the Jiffy Lube on Princess Street.

Ottey said while labour disputes aren’t uncommon, from his understanding the union’s relationship with Patry has been a frustrating one for quite a long time.

“Local 183 has a long history of representing workers in the residential construction market… we’re used to negotiating very complex agreements with longstanding agreements that we have with our contractors,” Ottey said.

“I do know there’s a certain level of frustration in his unwillingness to meaningfully sit down and negotiate a collective agreement that is fair and equitable to our members on site.”

Several requests for comment from Jay Patry Enterprises have gone unanswered.