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Talks continue in almost 6-week-old elevator workers’ strike

Mediated talks will continue Thursday in the almost six-week-old elevator workers’ strike that has stalled many elevators and escalators across the GTA.

Negotiations have been ongoing since Tuesday.

Elevator workers in Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa have been off the job since May 1. About 800 of the 1,400 workers involved are from the GTA.

Local 500 strike captain Mike Keane said wait times are increasing the longer the strike drags on.

“There are management people that are qualified to repair elevators, but it’s a small percentage and they can’t get to them all,” Keane said.

Under the Labour Relations Act, trades involved in residential construction have to return to their job sites on Monday if a deal isn’t reached by Friday. However, that doesn’t cover nursing homes, hospitals and apartment towers.

Ben McIntyre of the International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 50 said safety is a concern.

“Certain checks have to be done on these elevating devices at certain periods of time. They’re not getting that done today,” McIntyre said.

It’s not yet known how many will return to work, but a spokesman for the National Elevator Escalator Association representing the four companies involved said it will be a significant number.