John Aman, Unifor
John Aman, Unifor

DEVLIN, ONTARIO - Gingrich Woodcraft and the Unifor union failed to negotiate a settlement during a meeting at the Ontario Labor Relations Board (OLRB) on August 24. Citing Mennonite beliefs, the Devlin, Ontario components manufacturer's owner, Leon Gingrich, closed August 17 after workers voted to unionize on August 12.

Unifor and Gingrich Woodcraft representatives will meet again on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 for a hearing by the  John Aman, director of organizing for Unifor, said the company owners' reasons for closure were not acceptable.

"I'm sure they do some business with some union outfits, so it seems to be an argument of convenience at this stage," he told CBC news, while the lawyer for  Gingrich Woodcraft said, "They feel bad that [workers] lost their jobs, but they intend to live their faith." Gingrich Woodcraft includes in some advertising its motto, "God Is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1."

Canada's Unifor union filed complaints against Gingrich Woodcraft, alleging the Devlin, Ontario wood components manufacturer is engaging in a lock out to keep its workers from forming a union. Leon Gingrich closed his firm August 17 following an August 12 voted by 69 percent of the company's 25 employees that resulted voting to unionize.

Owner Leon Gingrich said in a letter to customers that his religious beliefs require him to 'live peaceably with all men,' and not to use force to gain what we want or for what is require to succeed. Our decision in view of developments to date was to stop production of wood products at Devlin, ON, effective Aug 17, 2015. All production employment was terminated."

Unifor leader Stephen Boon, who announced the original Gingrich Woodcraft voting results August 12, told Canada's CBC News that the strike is the equivalent of a lockout. CBC reports that the Ontario Labor Relations Board will hold a hearing on the case Monday, August 24.

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