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Waterfront hotel builder penalized for using non-union workers

Burmet Northern Limited ordered to pay nearly $150,000 to painters union
Delta Marriott Hotel

THUNDER BAY — The contractor building the Delta by Marriott hotel on Thunder Bay’s waterfront is paying a steep price for employing workers or subcontractors who don’t belong to the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.

The union filed a grievance in June under the Ontario Labour Relations Act against Burmet Northern Limited.

In a decision released last week, the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) ruled that Burmet had failed to abide by the provincial collective agreement between the union and employers belonging to the Ontario Painting Contractors’ Association, the Interior Systems Contractors Association of Ontario, and the Acoustical Association of Ontario.

Burmet, the ruling stated, hired people who are not members of the bargaining unit “to perform bargaining unit work, namely painting, paperhanging and stucco.”

According to the OLRB, the company’s violations of the collective agreement were ongoing since at least April 23, 2018 at its various construction projects, including but not limited to the Delta-Marriott waterfront hotel construction site."

The other projects connected to the grievance are not identified in the ruling.

The board said the union at all times had members ready, willing and able to perform the work in question.

In the absence of a response to the grievance from Burmet, the OLRB accepted the union’s estimate that the following work had been performed in violation of the collective agreement:

  • Paperhangers - $57,254
  • Painters - $37,384
  • Stucco - $54,902

The board ordered Burmet to pay the union nearly $150,000 in total damages.

Tbnewswatch attempted to contact the company for comment, but telephone and email messages were not acknowledged. 

A representative of the Painters and Allied Trades union declined an interview, saying that the OLRB decision “speaks for itself.”

Last month, the Ontario Ministry of Labour issued 27 orders to Burmet related to workplace safety at the hotel construction site.

A ministry spokesperson said last week that Burmet has complied with all the orders.

The ministry also ordered the developer, the ReSolve Group, to appoint “a competent supervisor” for the project.