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IATSE Local 58 members vote in favour of ratifying contract with Exhibition Place to end four-month lockout

Toronto, November 15, 2018 / – Members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 58 voted at a general meeting this morning in favour of ratifying a proposed contract with Exhibition Place, bringing to a close an arduous and often volatile four-month lock out imposed by the city-owned venue on July 20.

The contract ratification follows almost a year of deliberations between IATSE Local 58 and Exhibition Place, which culminated in a marathon 21-hour mediated bargaining session on Tuesday, November 13.

Though IATSE Local 58 members voted to accept the contract, 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.

“This contract is a reflection of the continued attacks on workers at the hands of the city of Toronto supported by anti-union ideology coming from the province,” says Antheunis. “We may lose some work under the terms of this contract, but we will continue to fight for workers’ rights, both under this agreement and across the city.”

The main sticking point throughout deliberations has been the city’s mandate to contract out union jobs on Exhibition Place grounds, which Local 58 maintains is a union-busting exercise. Though IATSE Local 58 made several concessions, including some involving this stipulation, the Exhibition Place Board of Governors continued to reject the union’s proposals until November 13, when compromises were ultimately agreed upon.

“I don’t think either party is happy with how things worked out,” says Antheunis. “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, and look forward to working with Ex Place management to increase business while getting our members back to work.”

Justin Antheunis
IATSE Local 58



Sisters, Brothers and Friends of IATSE Local 58

Yesterday, IATSE Local 58 and the Board of Governors of Exhibition Place met for the fourth time since City Council ordered them back to the table.  In those four meetings, we have not seen the City move on their position to contract out the jobs of Local 58 members. They continue to try to give our work away, to help line the pockets of their corporate friends.  Meanwhile, Mark Grimes, the Chair of the Board of Governors, continues to attack the members directly by insulting the work that we do across the city.

Local 58 celebrates our 120th anniversary today.  We are celebrating by walking the picket line at Ex Place, the same way we have for the last 48 days and the same way we will until a deal is done and we get back to work.

We need to stay strong and united in this fight.  We need to show those on the Board of Governors and those at City Hall who oppose us that we won’t back down.  We need to show these people come election time that by taking our jobs, we are coming after theirs.

Together we will walk shoulder to shoulder until we are back at work.  Together we will fight back against those who try and hold us down.  Together we will win.

In Solidarity,

Justin Antheunis
IATSE Local 58



A Message from Justin Antheunis, President of IATSE Local 58

While we were hopeful that with the Board of Governors reaching out to have a meeting, that we may be able to make some progress, we were quickly reminded of who we are dealing with.

Right from the beginning the response from the Board of Governors, just to set dates for the meeting, was slow and felt like they were only going through the motions. We set meeting dates of Friday August 24, and Sunday August 26 to try and hammer out a deal. It turns out, we were the only side looking to get a deal done. The positions that Exhibition Place took right off the top showed that this meeting was only to pay lip service to City Council and have a meeting. By the end of the 12 hour meeting, we found out that the bargaining team did not even have a mandate to move on the contracting out clauses that put us in this situation in the first place.

We informed the City that we were ready to continue negotiating on Sunday, but that we needed to hear from them that they were given the mandate to move on these terms. By mid-Saturday, through the mediator we were told that there may not be a meeting Sunday. The city, through the mediator asked for a written response to their last proposal. We responded. We will hand you the written response when we sit down on Sunday. This was at 4:30pm. At quarter to eight, we heard back that “it was too late in the day to set meetings for Sunday, so they were not open to meeting at that time, and they would respond in due time. We have asked for further dates, and have been met with silence.

They never planned to meet today. Their plan is to try and break union morale and divide us so that we fold and they can start dismantling the unionized structure at ExPlace. The lies they spread in the media, are only there to try and tarnish us. They were not prepared for the public support we have received. They were not prepared for the unity amongst those in the Labour Movement. They were not prepared for the constant pressure on social media. They were not prepared for acts and shows to start pulling out of Exhibition Place venues. The cracks are starting to show, and they are on their side.

We will continue to fight on. United we will win this and we will get back to work at Exhibition Place. First stop on this road is Labour Day, the next is the municipal election. We must make sure that those who want to attack workers in Toronto, who want to hand over Ex Place to corporate interests are defeated come October. This may be a fight that Local 58 has never seen before. Remember however, that this is a Board of Governors who has underestimated who Local 58 is and what we are made of. By the lies from their mouths and the looks in their eyes, they know now.

In Solidarity,
Justin Antheunis
IATSE Local 58





The following are some of the social media posts about #58LockedOut made on August 25, 2018.


So this evening we had some Impact de Montréal fans who got here for tonights Toronto FC game at BMO Field, and realised…

Posted by IATSE Local 58 on Saturday, August 25, 2018


Thank you TFC- Red Action \ 117. This Toronto FC Supporters group has decided to join us in support on the picket…

Posted by IATSE Local 58 on Saturday, August 25, 2018








TORONTO, Aug. 25, 2018 /CNW/ – Despite being ordered back to the bargaining table by city council, the Exhibition Place Board of Governors is not interested in meaningful negotiations or ending the ongoing lock out of IATSE Local 58 stagehands, said Local 58 president Justin Antheunis. Following a tense 12-hour meeting with city lawyers and labour relations personnel presided over by a new mutually agreed-upon mediator, the city walked away from the table once again, stating they had a clear mandate not to consider concessions on contracting out IATSE jobs on ExPlace grounds.

“The ExPlace board of governors is just paying lip service to city council,” said Antheunis. “We came back to the table today to try and find a way to end the lock out, to get our members back to work with a fair contract, but the city isn’t interested in reaching a deal.”

The main roadblock remains Ex Place’s refusal to take contracting out IATSE work at the 192-acre site off the table. IATSE Local 58 returned to the negotiations ready to bargain, with proposals to modernize and find efficiencies in the contract, but the city refused to budge on contracting out language. Requests from the union for examples of what kind of movement would need to be seen on this issue in order to move deliberations forward were ignored.

The city’s proposals, by contrast, strongly reflected the interests of multi-billion dollar corporations such as Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, with no regard for Toronto workers or consumers.

“We are frustrated and disappointed by the fact that the mayor stated he wanted a deal that was fair for the city and the workers, but the Board of Governors does not feel the same,” says Antheunis. “[Board of Governors member] Jim Karygiannis was right when he told the Toronto Star this is nothing but a union-busting exercise.”

With a second day of negotiations scheduled for Sunday, August 26 now in jeopardy, Antheunis hopes the city will actually be ready to negotiate and end the lock out of IATSE Local 58 stagehands, who have been unable to work on ExPlace grounds since the city initiated the lock out on July 20.





Let’s hope this means the end of the Exhibition Place lock-out is in sight and IATSE Local 58 members can get back to doing the work they love on the ExPlace grounds! #58lockedout

Posted by IATSE Canada on Thursday, August 23, 2018



Please sign this petition to help stop the lock out of 400 members of Local 58 at Exhibition Place.

The Canadian National Exhibition starts on Friday, but the hardworking women and men of IATSE Local 58 are still locked…

Posted by IATSE Canada on Monday, August 13, 2018



AUGUST 13, 2018

(In the photo: Media attention on the lockout has stepped up as the CNE opening day approaches. Justin Antheunis (right) is the President of Local 58.)

Over 300 IATSE Local 58 members and supporters from other unions rallied today at City Hall for two hours.

Mayor Tory once again refused to return to the bargaining table and our proposal to go to binding arbitration was once again turned down.

There was extensive media coverage of this rally and the Friday, August 17 opening of the CNE is becoming more urgent news.

Labour dispute continues with CNE just days away – Global

Locked out stagehands rally at city hall, other unions show support – CBC

CNE workers continue to strike in labour dispute days before opening weekend – Global
(Please note: The above headline is wrong. This is not a strike, but a lockout imposed by Exhibition Place management. But we appreciate the coverage.)

Union to picket at CNE amid lockout with Exhibition Place – CITY-TV

Out-of-province workers crossing picket line to set up CNE, locked-out union says – CBC