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B.C. elevator workers threaten strike as lockout notice looms

Union says contract negotiations fell apart Thursday when employers offered a lower wage than hoped

About 900 B.C. elevator workers could be off the job by Tuesday, after union negotiations fell apart last week.

The International Union of Elevator Constructors’ B.C. branch (IUEC Local 82) says discussions around their new collective agreement broke off on Thursday (Oct. 12) when four international employers tabled a wage offer significantly lower than what the union was asking for.

The employers – Otis, Schindler, KONE and TK Elevator – have since issued a lockout notice set to begin Tuesday, while the union has served a 72-hour strike notice.

IUEC Local 82 says its strike would only be for maintenance and service mechanics, while the employers’ notice would also cover elevator construction workers.

“Our union is facing concession demands from four giant multinational elevator corporations who have made $7.7 billion in profits in 2021 and our hard-working members are not going to accept anything less than a fair and reasonable contract,” said Mike Funk, business manager of IUEC Local 82, in a statement Saturday (Oct. 14).

If the lockout is imposed, the B.C. union says its workers will still ensure elevators in hospitals and long-term care homes are kept operational. Black Press Media has reached out to the union for comment on if and how it plans to ensure access to buildings for people who can’t use stairs.

Funk said Saturday they are hopeful negotiations will resume before any action is taken.

Black Press Media has reached out to Otis, Schindler, KONE and TK Elevator for comment.

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About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

Hi, I'm a provincial reporter with Black Press Media, where I've worked since 2020.
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