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Tuesday June 5th, 2012

Posted at 1:41pm

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Excavator's from Amico sit parked and idle on the W-E Parkway route

Three hundred heavy construction equipment operators — who work with backhoes, excavators, paving machines and bulldozers on projects across Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent — may be back to work soon.

The trade union representing heavy equipment operators — Local 793 of the International Union of Operating Engineers — has reached a tentative contract settlement with the Heavy Construction Association of Windsor and members will vote on the proposal at a ratification meeting on Wednesday, June 6th.

The meeting will take place at the Serbian Centre, 6770 Tecumseh Road East in Windsor at 7pm.

IUOE Local 793 Business Manager Mike Gallagher says the union’s negotiating committee recommends that the proposed contract be accepted.

“I am pleased that our union and the employers have managed to reach a tentative settlement,” said Gallagher in a media release this afternoon. “The contract will address all outstanding issues and I am optimistic that it will be ratified.”

The operators have been on strike since May 28th and had been working without a contract since April 30th.

Both sides had agreed on almost everything for a new four-year contract, but a dispute arose when a request was made to extend the regular work week for operators doing sewer and watermain and general excavation from the current 50 hours before overtime is paid to 55 hours before overtime kicks in.

The operators work on heavy construction equipment, including excavators, backhoes and bulldozers and do road, sewer and watermain, bridge and general excavating projects.

Local 793 of the International Union of Operating Engineers represents thousands of highly-skilled crane and heavy equipment operators across Ontario.

Projects shut down as a result of the strike include planned reconstruction and streetscaping of Wyandotte Street West, much heavy construction activity on the W-E Parkway, the Provincial-Cabana intersection makeover and many construction projects on Windsor’s residential streets.

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