Hamilton Venues Face Boycott

The Global Spectrum-operated  and  in Hamilton, Ontario, are facing a boycott from a local labor council in connection with an ongoing contract dispute. 

Photo: iuoe772.org
On strike

The Hamilton and District Labour Council has asked affiliated unions to boycott the venues in support of maintenance and electrical workers they claim have been locked out of their jobs, according to the Hamilton Spectator.

The conflict arose after Global Spectrum took over venue operations last year.

The labor council says Global Spectrum promised to honor existing agreements with the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 772. The company acknowledges it’s done so, but there seems to be an issue over the way workers are employed and paid.

Global Spectrum employs the workers and bills convention center operator Carmen’s when those workers perform any maintenance and electrical work at its facility.

That arrangement has fragmented the union, city labor relations director Lora Fontana told the paper.

“It’s one union that’s servicing three (separate) properties which is part of the problem,” Fontana said. “So now the problem is who’s going where, under what circumstances.”

Global Spectrum spokesman Ike Richman told Pollstar the company has remained in good standing as an employer for the IUOE members since taking over management of the venues.

“In accordance with our management agreement with the city, we employ IUOE members and assign some members to the Convention Centre, which is operated by Carmen’s, a separate company not affiliated with Global Spectrum,” he said.

Richman added the disputes specifically involve “Carmen’s and the IUOE,” which claims Carmen’s has locked out its 772 members. “At all times during the pendency of this dispute, Global Spectrum has continued to employ those union members, resulting in the security of those employee’s jobs. Global Spectrum has from the start been working, and continues to work, closely with the City and the union to bring resolution and get the 772 members back to work at the Convention Centre. In the meantime, the IUOE members continue to be fully employed at the Global Spectrum managed venues in Hamilton.”

Carmen’s, on the other hand, stated in a reply to the Ontario Labor Relations Board that sharing the workers is “untenable,” the Spectator reported.

Convention Center VP Debby Russ told the paper the city “wrote separate management agreements for First Ontario Centre/Hamilton Place (Global Spectrum) and the Hamilton Convention Centre” which are “contradictory as it relates to IUOE Local 772.” However, she also added the Convention Center is committed to finding “a practical resolution that is agreeable to Global Spectrum, IUOE Local 772 and ourselves.”