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Ironworkers rep hopeful there will be a resolution to lack of local hires on long-term care build in Corner Brook

Members of the Ironworkers Local 764 maintained a presence at the site of the new long-term care facility for the second day in a row on Tuesday.
Members of the Ironworkers Local 764 maintained a presence at the site of the new long-term care facility for the second day in a row on Tuesday. - Diane Crocker

Their resolve unbroken, a group of about 20 members of the Ironworkers Local 764 returned to the site of the new long-term care facility in Corner Brook on Tuesday.

The union members first set up at the site on Monday to bring attention to the lack of local hiring by the company doing the steel work associated with the build.

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Ironworkers protesting lack of local hires at long-term care build in Corner Brook

MacDougall Steel Erectors Inc. out of P.E.I. has so far used workers from that province on the contract it has for the supply, fabrication and erection of the steel. That prompting the local ironworkers to speak out.

“We have turned some heads and we’ve got some people talking,” said Francis Simms, business agent with the union about mid-afternoon of day two of what he describes as an information line.

He said the issue at hand is not so much a union issue as it is more about local employment.

“Our goal is to have some local people employed on this particular project and that has not changed,” he said.

Simms said the group has been asked by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and the companies involved in the build to leave, but he said the area they are gathered in is not part of the actual construction site.

“We haven’t broken any laws and we certainly don’t intend to.

“We’re going to continue to do what we’re doing, orderly and peacefully.”

Earlier in the day a load of steel was brought onto the site and Simms said the group did talk with the driver but didn’t prevent him from going in to drop the trailer or to leave with an empty one.

He did confirm that MacDougall had sent the union a cease and desist letter, which he shared with members. He said the letter is common in situations like this and maintained their presence is just to hold a peaceful information line.

Even with the requests to leave, Simms said there is some talking occurring away from the line with government and the companies involved in the build and he was hopeful there would soon be a resolution.

In the meantime, the group planned to stay at the site until work shutdown for the day around 7 p.m. and to return at 5:30 a.m. today.

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