Customer stuck in the heat amid worker lockout at Reliance Home Comfort

·2 min read
Gunther Wolf, a Reliance Home Comfort customer, is frustrated over the lack of service and lack of information regarding the current province-wide lockout.  (Jacob Barker/CBC - image credit)
Gunther Wolf, a Reliance Home Comfort customer, is frustrated over the lack of service and lack of information regarding the current province-wide lockout. (Jacob Barker/CBC - image credit)

A Reliance Home Comfort customer is fed up with a lack of service repairs from the company during a heat wave.

Gunther Wolf said he has been left without a working air conditioner for nearly three weeks and has hired a third-party repair company instead. He intends to send the bill to Reliance Home Comfort.

Wolf had ordered his air conditioner to be fixed on May 21. He said an employee had come to his house to fix it, but left early due to poor weather conditions. His air conditioner was left unfixed.

Wolf said he had made numerous appointments since, but no employees came by to fix it.

Meanwhile, the region has recently experienced a heat wave.

"Right now, it's 29.5 C. I won't tell you what the humidity is, but it's way up," said Wolf.

Province-wide lockout

The company has been in the middle of a province-wide lockout for nearly a month. On May 13, hundreds of employees were off the job due to a disagreement between the union representing employees — Unifor Local 1999 — and the company. Both were unable to reach a deal on a new collective agreement.

Wolf was not aware of the lockout until he travelled to the office to make a complaint about the services.

"Frustrating, I'm disappointed and I understand with the lockout, OK, that there are circumstances, but then tell me that."

The lockout affects 80 employees in Windsor.

Mac Goslin, a union steward for Unifor Local 1999, said the main issue is the lack of sick days for junior workers.

"The folks that I help represent here, they are committed to the fact that our second-tier workers need a fair deal," said Goslin.

Jacob Barker /CBC
Jacob Barker /CBC

According to Goslin, other customers have been in similar situations as Wolf. He's has heard of customers remaining uninformed of the lockout until they show up at the offices looking for answers.

"They're fully prepared to allow customers to sit and suffer while we sit and suffer," Goslin said.

Reliance Home Comfort released a statement saying it wants to reach a fair agreement with its employees.

"In the meantime, our customers remain our top priority," said Paul Gyarmati, the company's vice president for Western Canada.

"As such, we are leveraging our large network of professional, licensed contractors as well as business partners and team members who are committed to looking after our customers' home comfort needs."

The approaches used to meet customer demand vary from day to day, the company said.

Wolf said he was offered $100 from the company to cover his repair bill, but if the cost is any higher, he would need further approval.

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