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Locked-out Reliance workers want better benefits

Locked-out Reliance workers picket outside its Kingston location. Kayla Karim/Global News

It’s now been a month since more than 800 Reliance Home Comfort technicians were locked out by their employer. But the workers are getting support from other unions.

The employees, members of Unifor, work at 13 Ontario locations including Kingston. They were locked out in early May in a contract dispute with the company.

The HVAC workers have been picketing at the Kingston office on Development Drive.

Picket captain Jake Miller says employees have been providing services throughout the pandemic and they are simply requesting minimal increases in employee benefits.

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“We want better cost to our benefits, benefits are very expensive,” Miller said. “We also want better pension … we want the company to contribute more than two per cent to our RRSP. Wages are fair — we aren’t asking for more money — we’re just asking for things that aren’t going to cost the company a lot of money.”

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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.

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