05/07/2013 10:06 EDT | Updated 07/07/2013 05:12 EDT

'Take the stairs,' say striking elevator workers

A spokesperson for striking elevator maintenance workers says managers and out-of-province workers are currently servicing elevators in Thunder Bay.

The International Union of Elevator Constructors is on strike across Ontario to press its case for a new collective agreement.

Graham Renner, shop steward for IUEC Local 102, said members are picketing at different times at various spots around the city.

“We're just kind of looking for visibility,” he said. “We're not blocking traffic or anything. We just want to let people know that we're out, and that it might be the best idea to take the stairs at this point in time.”

On Friday they picketed the construction site of the consolidated courthouse in Thunder Bay and other workers there refused to cross the line.

According to Ben McIntyre, business manager for the IUEC Local 50 in Toronto, the union's deal with the National Elevator and Escalator Association expired at the beginning of May.

With no new deal, the 14,000 elevator workers across the province went on strike

“All I can tell you is they gave us a take-it-or-leave-it offer just after 12 a.m. on May 1, and we couldn't accept that offer,” McIntyre said, adding that talks could soon be resuming.

Renner said he’s hopeful both sides get back to the table soon, “'cause we'd rather be at work than here."

The elevator association is comprised of the four major elevator companies: ThyssenKrupp, Otis, Schindler and Kone.

There are about 300 elevators in Thunder Bay.