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October 25, 2018

Mainland Nova Scotia crane operators and heavy-equipment operators go on strike

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About 85 crane operators and 25 heavy equipment -operators on mainland Nova Scotia went on strike on Wednesday.

The heavy-equipment operators’ new contract appears to be nearly a done deal without any lingering issues. But because they’re part of the same union as crane operators, these workers also have to go on strike, said Joey MacLellan, president and business manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers’ Local 721.

“We’re not asking for any more than anybody else. We don’t want any more than anybody else. We’re not better than anybody else. We just want the same and to be treated fairly,” he said in Dartmouth.

“This is a monetary issue.”

The negotiations began more than a year ago. MacLellan said trade unions often bargain at the same time, and his is one of the few trade unions without a new contract.

An ironworkers’ union accepted a contract with yearly raises of about 1.5 per cent. That’s what the crane operators want, MacLellan said, but the Nova Scotia Construction Labour Relations Association (NSCLRA) is only offering what amounts to about a one per cent raise.

“We don’t negotiate collective agreements through the press. That’s something we don’t do. What I can say is that we have made an offer to the operating engineers that is consistent with the offers and settlements made with the majority of the other unions in the mainland building trades,” said NSCLRA president Bob Shepherd.

“We feel it’s a fair offer.”

No other offer is planned at this time, he added.

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