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110 days in, Windsor Salt strike takes toll on workers

It's been 110 days since Windsor Salt workers went on strike on Feb. 17.

The impasse is taking a toll on the 250 workers who make $300 a week in strike pay.

“The longer a dispute goes the greater the benefits of the eventual deal have to be for both parties because you've lost so much,” said Rafael Gomez, director of the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources at the University of Toronto.

Some are using side gigs to make ends meet.

“Luckily some of us have that,” said John O’Keefe. “Some of us don't. Those guys that don't, unfortunately, are feeling a lot more but we’re sticking together. We’re not going anywhere.”

Bill Wark, president of Unifor Local 1959, says that face to face negotiations have not occurred since an alleged attack on an employee in April which has slowed the process.

“You do a lot of repetitive work over and over again and you can't clearly identify objects and issues that are the parties' priorities,” said Wark.

Windsor police say no one has been arrested and the investigation is continuing. The company says they are working with both police and private investigators to find the assailants.

In order to get both sides back to the bargaining table face to face, a meeting has been set up between union reps and Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton.

In the meantime, Gomez has some recommendations.

“You throw out the things you don't agree on. Put them aside. Focus on what you can agree on as a problem. Solve that first and that builds up trust and confidence,” he said.

Gomez also suggests bringing in a third party to sit at the table.

“When you have the no-exit option you're forced to eventually come up with the deal so that's what I'm hopeful happens here,” he said. Top Stories

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