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Boycott of Carmen's and Global Spectrum facilities

HAMILTON – The Hamilton and District Labour Council has launched a boycott of Carmen's and its hotel on the mountain, the Hamilton Convention Centre, FirstOntario Centre, and Hamilton Place to support the members of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 772 who, in effect, have been "locked out" by Carmen's from performing work at the Convention Centre. Delegates overwhelmingly approved the recommendation from the Executive Council on March 20, 2014.

Labour Council strongly urges its affiliated unions to show support for these workers by not booking meetings or events at any of the facilities under boycott, cancelling or moving meetings or events already planned, refusing to buy tickets or attend events at any of the facilities and asking their members to do likewise. It is anticipated that national and provincial officers of the member unions of the Canadian Labour Congress and the Ontario Federation of Labour will respect this action when making decisions about meeting and convention locations. Specific tactics to support the boycott will be developed in the coming days.

Labour Council also calls upon the City of Hamilton, as owner of the downtown facilities, to enforce the terms of the Management Agreement that ceded control of the convention centre to Carmen's and put the arena and theatre auditorium in the hands of Global Spectrum.  The city must insist that the companies immediately negotiate a shared services agreement that fully accommodates IUOE's collective agreement or bring its former employees back in-house. This is a legitimate collective agreement. The workers are being hurt now, and it is likely that taxpayers will share the pain if this situation persists.  

IUOE Local 772 business manager Greg Hoath said, "While the City of Hamilton was busy patting itself on the back for privatizing HECFI, it neglected to exercise due diligence in ensuring one could not drive a truck through the loopholes in the Management Agreement obligations." He added, "Anyone recall the Water Wastewater fiasco with Philip Utilities? We hold the City of Hamilton, Global Spectrum Facilities Management and Carmen's equally responsible for the intolerable and inexcusable situation that currently exists."

"These workers are caught in the middle of a situation that rightly should have been resolved before the Management Agreement was implemented, but has festered for a year now. IUOE Local 772 has been insistent but patient in pursuing a just and workable solution to this matter", said Mary Long, president of the Hamilton and District Labour Council. "With only stonewalling and finger-pointing to show for their efforts, the time has come for broader public pressure on all parties to the Management Agreement to make it work for everyone - including the employees. It's only fair."

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