A labour dispute has impacted 13 Reliance Home Comfort locations across the province starting Thursday.
According to Unifor, the union that represents the more than 830 employees, an agreement at the bargaining table was not met and its members were locked out as of Thursday.
“These workers serve Reliance customers with pride, but we have seen no movement on key issues from the employer this week,” said Unifor’s national president, Jerry Dias, in a news release.
Dias says the union was prepared to bargain around the clock to avoid any disruptions to customers but, “the company was not prepared to significantly move from their position, which was rejected by the membership. We can’t reach a fair collective agreement without the good faith participation of Reliance.”
According to Paul Gyarmati, vice president of Reliance Home Comfort for Western Canada, a tentative agreement was reached in March, but it was not ratified by the membership.
“This is disappointing news and we do not know why the members did not ratify the Agreement. In our view, it is a fair agreement which included significant wage increases and benefit improvements. Reliance continued to bargain with Unifor this week, but an Agreement has not been finalized,” Gyarmati said.
As for how this will impact customers, the company says it has a contingency plan in place so it can continue to serve customers.
“Reliance has the best HVAC professionals, as well as a large network of contractors and business partners committed to looking after our customers’ home comfort needs,” Gyarmati said, adding the labour disruption does not affect non-union and non-Unifor employees.
Unifor Local 1999 represents HVAC service technicians, installers, water heater installers, plumbers, electricians and administration staff at 13 locations across Ontario.