KDLC News Feb.24 2023

February 24, 2023

In this newsletter:

  1. Kingston Labourers strike Patry Enterprises
  2. Turkey and Syria Earthquake Appeal
  3. Recycling privatization
  4. Tampon Tuesday donation drive
  5. Public talk on Winnipeg General Strike
  6. News Briefs
  7. KDLC meetings, dates, contact information

1. Kingston Labourers strike Patry Enterprises

Fifteen labourers went on strike on February 8 at the 230-unit development at 2274 Princess Street. The labourers are members of LiUNA Local 183 and are employed by Kingston developer Jay Patry’s Patry Enterprises. The labourers have not had a pay increase since 2019 and are demanding wages in line with their counterparts at Patry’s competitors.

Tony Sousa, Local 183’s business agent in Kingston, reports that Patry has been unwilling to bargain seriously. YGK News cites LiUNA 183 official Jason Ottey calling Patry’s offer “ridiculous”. The union reports wages and benefits at Patry have fallen behind the union’s agreements with Homestead and IN8.

Patry has gained local notoriety with two other apartment projects. In December 2013, a large fire broke out at Patry’s 663 Princess Street “The Foundry” development. A crane operator had to be rescued by helicopter from the crane boom and suffered burns in the process. Residents from neighbouring buildings were evacuated and fire damage spread to other buildings. The Ministry of Labour laid ten charges against Patry Enterprises. Jay Patry was personally charged with obstruction of a Ministry of Labour inspector, and Nathan Patry accused of providing false information to a Ministry of Labour inspector. As a result, Patry Enterprises was fined $60,000 for failing to install proper fire safety measures. Jay Patry and Nathan Patry pleaded guilty on the obstruction charges and were fined $7,500 and $4,000, respectively.

Patry Enterprises is also involved in the controversial Tannery redevelopment proposal that was rejected by Kingston City Council in September 2022. The proposal was defeated when Council voted 8-5 against amending zoning bylaws at Patry’s request. Lack of technical detail, clarity on remediation processes, lack of consultation with Indigenous peoples, and the clearcutting of 1,600 trees were all cited as reasons for the development’s rejection. Patry Enterprises is appealing the decision at the Ontario Land Tribunal. Under the new Bill 23 rules passed by the Ontario government, new mechanisms favour the fast-tracking of development proposals over the objections of municipal governments and conservation authorities.

2. Turkey & Syria Earthquake Appeal

The devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria have left thousands dead and many more homeless. At the February 13 KDLC General Meeting, PSAC 901 member Canan Sahin spoke passionately about the grassroots humanitarian efforts, often led by unions, doctors associations and community organizations.

For a list of options for donations, please visit:

3. Recycling privatization

On February 7, Kingston City Council has agreed to lease the Kingston Area Recycling Centre for a 10-year period and selling the KARC machinery to the tenant. The decision comes as the province’s privatization of the provincial recycling system begins this year. Blue box programs and processing will be entirely privatized, ending Ontario’s 250 municipal recycling programs.

A company called Circular Materials will manage the provincial recycling system and determine the awarding of private contracts for blue box collection and processing. Circular Materials is a non-profit consortium of multinational food and grocery corporations, such as Loblaws, McDonalds, KraftHeinz, Coca-Cola and many others.

Based on similar recycling privatization systems in British Columbia and Manitoba, CUPE-Ontario has warned that Ontarians will face inferior services, higher costs to taxpayers, and lack of transparency and accountability.

4. Tampon Tuesday donation drive

When: March 1-March 31
Where: For donation drop-off locations, click here

The annual United Way KFL&A donation drive for menstruation products will span all of March. Last year, the campaign collected over 114,000 items and redistributed them to frontline agencies across Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington. The Tampon Tuesday campaign was started by union telephone workers in London, Ontario.

5. Public talk on Winnipeg General Strike

When: Saturday, April 22, 2:00-3:30pm
Isabel Turner Public Library branch, 935 Gardiners Road

Through a series of images, author and historian Michael Dupuis will take the audience through the 6-week historic strike – one which ultimately resulted in the creation of the principle of collective bargaining/union recognition and establishment of the CCF/NDP.

6. News Briefs

  • QUFA tentative agreement
    The Queen’s University Faculty Association announced a three-year tentative agreement on February 13. The tentative agreement would be retroactive to July 1 2022. The ratification vote is underway.
  • ONA info pickets in Kington and across Ontario
    Dozens of Ontario Nurses Association members and supporters braved the cold on February 23 to hold info pickets at Hotel Dieu, Kingston General and Providence Care. The pickets were part of a coordinated day of action across the province. ONA’s bargaining priorities are: “Better staffing, better wages, better care.” Many joined the protests to oppose further healthcare privatization.
  • PSAC 901 rally against high tuition, low pay
    On February 7, nearly a hundred union members gathered at Richardson Hall, Queen’s University for an inspired protest against low wages and the high cost of living. The union is demanding a meeting with Principal Deane, and has recently setup a Food Support Fund to help members.
  • Labour Force Survey, January 2023
    Statistics Canada reports employment increased again in January, defying predictions based on the Bank of Canada’s program of raising interest rates. Most of Canada’s 150,000 job gains were in Ontario (63,000). Kingston’s unemployment rate in January 2023 was 5.8 percent, up 0.2 percent since December 2022. Kingston’s rolling 3-month unemployment rate is 5.6 percent, compared to the provincial average of 5 percent. While the employment rate in Kingston declined from 1.3 points to 59.3 percent, it is up 3.2 points from the previous January in 2022. Ontario’s employment rate is 61.7 percent.
  • Wages and inflation
    According to Ontario’s Ministry of Labour data, the final quarter of 2022 saw average union wage settlements at 2.4 percent per year. This breaks down to 1.6 percent in the public sector, and 3.9 percent in the private sector. Statistics Canada reports inflation was 5.9 percent in January 2023. Inflation was 10.4 percent for food, 6.6 percent for shelter, and 5.4 percent for energy.
  • Interest rates
    The Bank of Canada has continued to raise interest rates. Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklam says the interest rate hikes are designed to “slow the economy” by driving up unemployment and making borrowing more costly. Canadian Labour Congress president Breanna Bruske has stated that the Bank of Canada is “determined to manufacture an economic recession” that will increase poverty, inequality and social unrest.
  • Federal election boundaries
    Federal election boundaries are reviewed every decade based on population changes. Proposed changes to current electoral boundaries would include City of Kingston residents north of the Highway 401 in the Kingston and the Islands riding. They are currently in Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, which will become Lanark-Frontenac. Surrounding ridings will remain basically unchanged, although Hastings-Lennox and Addington will be renamed Hastings-Lennox and Addington-Tyendinaga

7. KDLC meetings, dates, contact information

  • Next KDLC General Meeting: March 20, 7pm
    Meeting details and documents to come
  • Next KDLC News: March 10
    Please send union reports and event listings to kingstonlabourcouncil@gmail.com before March 8.
  • All official correspondence:
    Please email: kingstonlabourcouncil@gmail.com

Photo credit: Owen Fullerton, YGK News