Replacement of the Pattullo Bridge between Surrey and New Westminster is one of the projects designated for 19 international unions affiliated with the B.C. and Yukon Building Trades Council. (Black Press Media)

LETTER: Fletcher ‘blurs reality’ on B.C. union public construction

Bridge, highway projects awarded to companies, not unions

Re: Welcome to the union ‘battle zone’ for pipeline construction (B.C. Views, May 12).

Tom Fletcher stated some information in such a way that it blurred the reality of what he was expressing as “fact.”

First, he said the John Horgan government has given large public construction contracts exclusively to the B.C. Building Trades, much to the chagrin of the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) and organizations like them. This obscures the fact that contracts are awarded to companies, not unions.

Awarding public contracts to companies that have strong unions makes good business and economic sense. Businesses have access to a professional workforce that works efficiently and safely and workers are paid a fair wage and have funds to provide for their families and participate in their communities.

READ MORE: B.C. NDP using ‘sledgehammer’ on contract employers

READ MORE: New labour rules allow construction raids every summer

Community benefits agreements do not preclude any company from bidding on a project, but rather ensure that workers and the local community, not just bosses and owners, benefit from public taxpayer-funded projects. Allowing companies associated with organizations like CLAC, who call themselves unions but bargain provisions below Employment Standards Act levels, takes wealth created by workers and moves it to the one per cent, where they do such things as speculate on real estate, driving up the cost of housing, or deposit in tax-free havens offshore.

Fletcher comments that most building trades-affiliated unions are U.S.-based and international, implying that they are somehow foreign or at least not Canadian. This is like saying that families who moved to Canada from the States generations ago are “U.S.-based.” They aren’t; they’re Canadian.

The B.C. Federation of Labour takes as their slogan a quote from J.S. Woodsworth, the first leader of the CCF: “What we desire for ourselves, we wish for all.” This article, along with others I’ve read from Fletcher, leaves me with the question: what does he wish for all?

Stephen Crozier, President, New Westminster and District Labour Council, Burnaby

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Honouring BC Family Day

Proceeds from Feb. 15 meat draw are being directed into Kiwanis Children’s Cancer Program

Columbia Basin Trust provides Hope Air with $165,000

Trust commits to Hope Air; service that provides free medical flights for those in financial need

Organic waste pick-up expected by 2022 in RDCK

But there are many unanswered questions in Nelson about cost and details

Covered stairs: should Nelson follow Trail’s example?

Nelson council is newly focused on making biking and walking easier

East Kootenay meets West at cadets’ sports weekend

Cadet program is open to all youth between the ages of 12 and 18

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Higher costs should kill Trans Mountain pipeline, federal opposition says

Most recent total was $12.6 billion, much higher than a previous $7.4-billion estimate

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they’ll meet with ministers if RCMP get out

Federal minister in charge of Indigenous relations has proposed a meeting to diffuse blockades

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5M for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Most Read