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Workload, wages at issue, union says, as Jamieson Laboratories workers strike

Employees of Jamieson Laboratories in Windsor hold Unifor flags on a picket line on Thursday. More than 300 Jamieson workers went on strike at midnight Feb. 1. The union said the major issues include wages, job security, and benefits. (Dale Molnar/CBC - image credit)
Employees of Jamieson Laboratories in Windsor hold Unifor flags on a picket line on Thursday. More than 300 Jamieson workers went on strike at midnight Feb. 1. The union said the major issues include wages, job security, and benefits. (Dale Molnar/CBC - image credit)

More than 300 workers at Windsor's Jamieson Laboratories are on strike.

The strike began at midnight Thursday after the employees rejected the employer's latest offer, according to Unifor Local 195, which represents the workers.

Emile Nabout, who is president of the local union, says bargaining had been taking place for about the last two weeks.

"Obviously, as everybody knows, cost of living and inflation are hitting everybody at home, so wages and benefits [are] the main issues," he said. "There's many other issues still remaining on the table, but wages and benefits is the main thing."

The 317 striking workers include those who manufacture vitamins and work in packaging and the company's warehouse.

Nabout didn't provide details about the company's latest offer, but said there is a "significant difference" between what was offered and what the union wants.

While a spokesperson declined a request for an interview, a company said spokesperson in a statement they believe the offer to be "fair and competitive" but were unable to reach an agreement.

"As a result, the union elected to strike," said Ruth Winker, the company's senior director of communications, via email. "We are committed to working with union representatives to reach an agreement as soon as possible.

"[The] Windsor community has played a vital role in the company's growth and longevity."

Jamieson union chairperson Nikola Savic said the workers on the picket line on Thursday were "pretty angry at the company."

"They're making money," he said. "Employees want to be able to make money and pay their bills."

"Everyone's having trouble to survive right now."

He said the jobs at Jamieson are good and secure, although there are issues related to workload.

"They're always asking for more out of everyone," Savic said. "Everyone's trying their best, and they're constantly asking for more but not willing to reimburse financially."

Nabout said the union is prepared to resume negotiations, but nothing had been scheduled as of Thursday afternoon.

As soon as we get a phone call from the company, we are ready to go back to the table," he said. "But the company has to have a solid offer."