OLRB rules against Gingrich Woodcraft

Furniture maker cited religious reasons for shutdown

Ontario’s labour board has sided with employees of a now-shuttered furniture maker, which shut down operations when workers joined a union.

Gingrich Woodcraft, a custom cabinetry factory in Devlin, Ont., closed this summer after workers signed with Unifor. Days later, the owners shut down, saying their religious creed prescribed that they “live peaceably with all men” — and in other words, did not allow them to operate a unionized environment.

After hearings on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, the Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled in favour of the employees. While details of the settlement are forthcoming, Unifor’s president Jerry Dias called the decision a “significant” one for the ex-employees.

“I am pleased to announce we’ve negotiated a settlement that includes a significant monetary compensation package for the Gingrich Woodcraft workers, and ensures excellent prospects for their re-employment,” Dias said, adding that, “This decision makes it very clear that the rights of workers to join a union are paramount.”

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