iatse local 58

Lockout of Exhibition Place workers in Toronto is now over

After more than four months of picket lines, protests and failed negotiations, the lockout of more than 400 skilled technical workers at Toronto's Exhibition Place has ended.

The International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 58 voted on Thursday to ratify a new contract with the city-owned venue, according to the group's president, after a marathon 21-hour mediated bargaining session.

Members of IATSE Local 58, which represents workers with technical and staging expertise at Exhibition Place, had been locked out by the city-owned venue's board of governors since July 20.

With the launch of 2018's Canadian National Exhibition in August, their demonstrations intensified and gained much support from city residents.

Picket lines outside the CNE (and the refusal of many people to cross them) are said to have cost The Ex as much as $1.5 million this year, not to mention what was lost with the cancellations of several other high profile events at Exhibition Place in recent months.

More recently, workers and their allies were encouraging Torontonians to boycott the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

The acceptance of a new contract means the picket lines are gone, though IATSE Local 58 doesn't seem entirely thrilled with how everything turned out.

"Local 58 president Justin Antheunis acknowledges that the union is angry about the concessions they were forced to accept and they 'took it on the chin' in order to get back to work, calling the lock out and many terms of the agreement a blatant attack on workers," reads a release from the group.

"I don’t think either party is happy with how things worked out,” said Antheunis in the release. "But we continue our commitment to serving Exhibition Place with the same level of professionalism and technical skill we have for more than 100 years."

Lead photo by

Paul Flynn


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