[Story updated on November 9 at 8am]
For the second time in two years, brisk movement of perishable goods at the Ontario Food Terminal (OFT) has been slowed by a strike. The terminus is caught in the middle with one of its tenants, Ippolito Produce and 25 of their employees. The members of Teamsters Union 419 went on strike on November 7 for better wages and job security.
Ippolito Produce is one of dozens of tenants at the Ontario Food Terminal. The produce company is known for its leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.
“It’s unfortunate that I didn’t find out until 6:30 pm November 6th that the strike was indeed happening,” says Bruce Nicholas, general manager, Ontario Food Terminal. “There was little time to inform tenants and buyers. And unfortunately, a lot of commuters got stuck in traffic.”
In case of a strike, the Ontario Food Terminal has a picket protocol for access to the terminus. To date, the strikers, part of Teamsters Union 419, have respected the parameters, stopping every fifth vehicle entering the Queensway entrance from the west for two minutes.
“Collective bargaining came to an impasse on Monday (November 6),” explains Dave Shepherd, director human resources, Ippolito Produce. “At that time, the union decided to proceed with a strike mandate. Ippolito Produce is committed to working with our employees and the union to achieve a first collective agreement. We are ready and willing to get back to bargaining as soon as possible.”
On November 8, Shepherd reported: “The union has agreed to get back to the bargaining table with us on Monday November 13, 2017.”