BC’s construction trade unions negotiate contract extension to bring continued stability to BC’s burgeoning industrial construction sector

Mar. 10, 2015

BC’s building trade unions have negotiated an extension to their collective agreements which will bring continued labour peace to the construction industry across the province.

The 35,000 members of BC’s 16 construction trade unions are now voting on the contract extension. The votes will be tallied by each union at the end of March.

“We’re pleased that we have been able to negotiate this contract extension without rancor or work stoppages,” said Mark Olsen of the Labourers Union, who chairs the bargaining council for the building trades unions.

“We hope the employers will also ratify in that time frame so we can bring continued stability to the construction industry free from strikes or lockouts.”

Olsen noted that union collective agreements set the standard for wages, benefits and working conditions throughout the BC construction industry because workers without union representation are at the mercy of the employers and have to take what the company gives them.

Rob Tuzzi, President of the Bricklayers Union and Secretary-Treasurer of the bargaining council, noted that major construction companies involved in mega-projects such as LNG plants and the potential Site C dam look to the unions to help them recruit the thousands of workers they need.

“It’s not a case of turning up at the gate with a tool belt and a hard hat looking for a job,” said Tuzzi. “These projects require fully qualified and experienced tradespeople with Red Seal or other credentials. When they turn to the unions they know that’s what they’ll get.”

“The extension brings the current contracts to April 30, 2016. Negotiations are scheduled to begin later this Spring for multi-year contracts beyond that date,” said Olsen.

“Our province is looking at a large number of massive projects over the next decade including power dams, LNG plants and dock facilities, pipelines, mines, bridges, transportation and other infrastructure projects. They will all require fully trained and experienced men and women in the building trades,” said Olsen.

“We need to ramp up our apprenticeship, training and upgrading programs here in BC so we can put our young people, First Nations and women to work in the trades. It does us no good to rely on workers from abroad when our own people will need these jobs.”