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Lockout of Exhibition Place workers ends as union ratifies new contract

Workers protest outside the CNE, Aug. 17, 2018. CITYNEWS/Walter Korolewych

The union representing locked out Exhibition Place workers has voted to ratify a new contract, ending the over four-month lockout.

The International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 58 said members voted Thursday morning in favour of the proposed contract.

The contract was the result of a 21-hour mediated bargaining session on Tuesday, according to the union.

Over 400 employees were affected by the July 20 lockout. Those employees were responsible for lighting, sound, and construction at several different venues across the city including BMO field and the Enercare Centre.

The agreement comes after almost a year of deliberations between the union and their employer.

IATSE Local 58 President Justin Antheunis said although members voted in favour of the contract, they are angry with the concessions made in order to get back to work.

“This contract is a reflection of the continued attacks on workers at the hands of the city of Toronto supported by anti-union ideology coming from the province,” said Antheunis. “We may lose some work under the terms of this contract, but we will continue to fight for workers’ rights, both under this agreement and across the city.”

The four-month lockout also had a “significant negative impact” on both attendance and revenues at the Canadian National Exhibition, according to a letter sent to Mayor John Tory and city council from CEO Virginia Ludy, just days after the fair opened.

“Despite overwhelmingly positive feedback from visitors over our initial few days, we regret to report that our projected losses to-date are in the range of $1.5 million.” Ludy said.

It has not been made clear when the stagehands and technical workers will be back on job.