ago strike

The AGO remains closed indefinitely as strike drags on

Hundreds of employees of the AGO are holding strong on the picket lines as the museum remains closed indefinitely.

Rounding out their fourth week on the picket line, members of AGO Local 535 remain on strike amid ongoing negotiations with the Art Gallery of Ontario, and it looks like they might be there for a while.

On March 26, the chapter officially went on strike, after an offer from the employer failed "to make meaningful improvements on key issues, including wage increases and protections against contracting out for precarious part-time workers," according to a news release.

After the most recent negotiation meeting between employees and the AGO, on April 17, the union remains no where closer to having their requests met.

"We hopeful that [a deal] was going to come," AGO Local 535 member Mark Thornberry tells blogTO, "we were there for almost 15 hours, and then after our last pass they got up to walk."

"So here we are! Week four's almost over and the lines are strong," he says.

According to Mark, spirits remain high among picketers, in spite of the lack of progress towards the desired resolution. And despite the financial challenges already being experienced by some members of the chapter.

"It is amazing," he tells blogTO, "the whole thing has really galvanized the membership."

"You know, people are suffering financially," he goes on to say, "but, we just had an all members meeting last night and the whole feel to it was really positive."

The future remains hazy for picketers, as no future talks have yet been scheduled. In Mark's words, "the ball is in [the AGO's] court," and, he says, it could be weeks before they take to the table again.

"My feeling is we're probably going to be out a couple more weeks," Mark tells blogTO. "I mean, it's all a guessing game, right? But we're ready to walk that road."

As of the time of publication, the AGO workers' online pledge form has garnered nearly 4,000 signatures from supporters showing solidarity to the striking chapter.

At the time of publication, the AGO has not returned blogTO's request for comment.

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