Sault and Algoma boaters – eager to get their boats in the water for the start of a new season – are waiting for unionized crane operators to resolve a province-wide strike with their employers.
A strike by the International Union Of Operating Engineers – IUOE – began May 2 and includes crane operators that would normally lift boats into the water for the season.
The boats would normally have been lowered into the water by crane operators Saturday.
“We’re sitting in limbo. We have no idea when they’re going to resolve that strike, so we’re waiting. Some boaters have expressed their disappointment,” said Richard Liskauskas, Hilton Beach Marina manager.
IUOE officials were not available for comment Friday.
About 40 boat owners at the Hilton Beach Marina are affected by the strike, said boater Brent Lanaway.
“In the last two seasons we were affected by COVID and the gathering restrictions. We thought this year was going to be good because COVID restrictions are off and then we found out there’s a work stoppage. So there’s 40 of us here, we’re disappointed but there’s generally enough work to do on a boat that it doesn’t really matter if it’s up on a cradle or in the water, there’s some cleanup to do. We’re just hoping the strike doesn’t last too long.”
“It’s unfortunate. All the boaters are hoping that negotiations will bring a settlement soon,” said boater Bob Tisdall while adding he respects the right of the workers to strike.
Approximately 30 boats were seen hanging from cradles at the Algoma Sailing Club at Bellevue Park Friday.
Algoma Sailing Club members were not available for comment.