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Labor Disruption at Exhibition Place in Toronto

Pictured: The PrincesGates in 2005 at Exhibition Place.

Despite bargaining efforts by Exhibition Place to negotiate a “stand-down” period for the beloved, 18-day-long Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) Fair; the union representing stagehands, IATSE Local 58 refused to engage in discussions to mitigate impact on the event. Exhibition Place has advised that unless the union will come back to the table to reach an agreement, that the union will be locked out effective July 20 at 12:01 a.m.

This action follows negotiations between the Board of Governors and the union, including meetings with the assistance of a provincially appointed mediator. Exhibition Place has a full contingency plan in place and remains open for business including venue and site operations.

Exhibition-Place-Toronto-strike-Management at Toronto’s Exhibition Place locked out the technical and staging workers who provide the staging, rigging and technical support for events on the exhibition grounds as well as at BMO Field, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Coca Cola Coliseum (formerly Ricoh), Enercare Centre and the Liberty Grand on July 20. The lockout came after months of negotiating with the employer who is demanding to contract out work and cut job security protections. Exhibition Place is now using non-union labor for events at its venues, including concerts and shows, games at BMO field, and if a deal isn’t reached the lockout will also affect events planned for the Caribbean Carnival and the CNE.

According to Exhibition Place reps, they will “continue to work towards negotiating a collective agreement that is fair to their employees but also allows them to have sustainable operations and remain competitive locally, nationally and internationally.”

Canadian_National_Exhibition_2012-Held annually since 1879, and one of North America’s largest annual fairs, the CNE runs from Aug. 17-Sept. 3 and features a large carnival midway with rides (pictured left – Photo Credit: by Kotsy – own work, CC BY-SA 3.0), games and food, live entertainment, shopping areas, exhibits, agricultural displays, sports events, casino, and more–including, since 1949, the Canadian International Air Show on Labor Day weekend. Approximately 1.5 million visitors each year visit CNE at Exhibition Place, located along Toronto’s waterfront on the shores of Lake Ontario (just west of downtown Toronto).

Exhibition Place is Canada’s largest business and entertainment venue, attracting more than 5.5 million visitors a year. The 192-acre site is an integral component of Toronto and Ontario’s economy, particularly with respect to conventions, sport, festivals, recreation, culture and tourism. Located at Exhibition Place are the award-winning Enercare Centre, Canada’s largest LEED Gold exhibition and convention Centre, and the Beanfield Centre LEED Silver conference venue. Since 2004, Exhibition Place has undertaken an environmental stewardship initiative, entitled GREENSmart; which includes the promotion of sustainable development, environmental initiatives and leading edge green technologies and practices across the site. For more info, visit www.explace.on.ca.


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