To the Editor: Re: Building Trades and BC Hydro clash over Site C job fairs (Aug. 8, 2016) BC Hydro spokesperson Simi Heer is right on when saying it is a priority for BC Hydro and the government to create jobs for “all British Columbians, including BC Building Trades members.”
However, BC Building Trades leader Tom Sigurdson makes two fundamental mistakes when he alleges that his unions’ 40,000 workers are not included as a source for the Site C workforce.
He first complains that BC Hydro should not have conducted northern BC job fairs, despite the fact that Sigurdson often (and correctly) says that British Columbians should have employment opportunities on Site C. But if the goal is to hire British Columbians, then they need to conduct job fairs. Indeed, this is precisely why BC Hydro is doing so.
The second mistake Sigurdson makes is presuming that the unions he represents should be the primary vehicle for employment. Job creation and job offers come from employers, not unions. Labour organizations – whether craft-based (eg. Building Trades) or all-employee unions (eg. CLAC) – have a rightful opportunity to represent workers once they are employed. The skilled construction professionals who are members of the BC Building Trades unions have a clear and open opportunity: whether to restrict their employment search to only companies affiliated with the Building Trades; or, to more broadly seek employment elsewhere, as might be offered in good quality and quantity at Site C.
BC Hydro is doing the right thing by making it the highest priority to canvass all British Columbians, regardless of union affiliation or lack thereof, as to their interests and capability to work on Site C.
Paul de Jong
President of Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA)