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Gingrich to face board hearing

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Devlin furniture company Gingrich Woodcraft Inc. is scheduled to appear before the Ontario Labour Board on Sept. 30-Oct. 1.

The company and Unifor met Monday in an attempt to negotiate instead of heading into a board hearing as scheduled.

But they could not come to a settlement and now will proceed to the hearing.

As reported last week, Gingrich Woodcraft abruptly shut down and terminated employees less than a week after a majority of them voted to join Unifor.

It subsequently is facing complaints of unfair labour practices.

Gingrich owner Leon Gingrich has cited faith as the reason for closing.

“As Christian business owners, our personal beliefs will not allow our conscience the freedom to work with a labour union, as we are required by Scripture to ‘live peaceably with all men’ and not use force to gain what we want or for what is required to succeed,” he noted last week.

Unifor had a different take.

“It is almost inconceivable that in a country like Canada in 2015, we are dealing with an employer that is willing to take the position that the Constitution and Ontario labour laws do not apply to employees of Mennonite-operated businesses in [Rainy River District],” said Unifor national representative Stephen Boon.

“We often read about bully companies in Third World countries willing to crush union organizing drives to eliminate dissent and keep wages low,” he added.

“But these types of action are almost unheard of in a modern, democratic country like Canada.”

About two dozen workers at Gingrich Woodcraft had voted 69 percent in favour of joining Unifor back on Aug. 12.

The employees abruptly were called to a meeting the following Monday (Aug. 17) and fired without notice.

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