CAMBRIDGE – The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) and the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) are calling on the Region of Waterloo to keep the Region open for business and fight a threat to limit who can bid on local work. The threat was created when the Carpenters District Council of Ontario filed an application to unionize select Regional employees as carpenters.
“If the Region does not continue to fight this it will cost residents millions more in inflated construction costs each year,” said PCA Federal and Ontario Director Sean Reid. “The restrictions to tendering that would result will also curtail much needed improvements to local infrastructure due to rising costs.”
Certification by the Carpenters union would subject the Region to the province-wide collective agreement which contains restrictive contracting-out clauses. The restrictions would mean that only select unionized contractors and their workers would be able to bid and work on large taxpayer-funded projects.
“One of the key issues here is fairness,” said CLAC Ontario Director Hank Beekhuis. “There should not be restrictions on the tendering of future municipal projects that could prevent 70 per cent of the contractors and workers from participating.”
Both organizations support the objections filed by the Region disputing the certification application. In particular, CLAC and PCA do not believe that a municipality should be considered to be a construction employer as defined by the Labour Relations Act.
PCA and CLAC are concerned with the potential cost and fairness implications that would result if the Carpenters District Council is successful in certifying regional employees as carpenters.
The union filed an application with the Ontario Labour Relations Board for certification of the Region of Waterloo employees allegedly performing carpentry work on December 15, 2012.
The Region of Waterloo filed its response to the certification application on time and objected to the certification.
The next step in the process is a Case Management Hearing which will take place on February 20, 2013 at the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
Construction costs could rise by up to 40% according to a report done for the City of Hamilton when they were fighting a similar certification application.
The PCA members employ over 20,000 workers nation-wide; CLAC represents over 55,000 workers across Canada.
For additional information, contact:
Sean Reid, PCA, Director Federal and Ontario 289-335-1181 ext. 1
Ian DeWaard, CLAC, Regional Director, 519-653-3002