Ocean Concrete workers locked out after talks stall over concessions

Members of Unifor Local 114 will be walking a dusty picket line along Bay Street for the foreseeable future, after they were locked out over the ­weekend by Ocean Concrete.

According to Unifor, which represents 23 concrete truck drivers, mixers and mechanics at the company, Ocean Concrete locked out the workers over money.

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Jim Dixon, national Unifor representative, said talks have stalled over concessions Ocean wants in the next contract.

Dixon said the employer has offered a three-year deal with no wage increase in the first year, a one per cent hike in year two and 1.5 per cent in year three. However, he said, Ocean Concrete wants rollbacks on other issues that would more than cover the cost of wage increases.

“The concession would amount to more than [the wage increase],” Dixon said, noting the two sides were at the bargaining table Tuesday, but left without setting a new date for talks.

Dixon said the ball is firmly in the employer’s court.

Ocean Concrete did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

The lockout went into effect at 6 p.m. April 30. Workers have been without a contract since January 2020.

“Our members expect them to keep up with the cost of living, and in Victoria, COVID hasn’t slowed down the cost of living going up in terms of housing,” Dixon said.

Jim Sadlemyer, a Local 114 spokesman, said the company has miscalculated in locking out the employees, a move he argued would hurt the company’s bottom line.

“Locking out Local 114 members will do nothing to shake our resolve in getting a fair contract. The only thing a lockout will do is drive customers to Ocean Concrete’s competitors,” he said.

Ocean Concrete, which started as Evans Coleman and Evans in 1912, is a subsidiary of Texas-based Lehigh Hanson.

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