BC’s construction trade unions ratify a contract extension with BC’s major construction employers

Members of the 16 trade unions in BC’s construction sector have now completed voting to ratify an extension to their collective agreement, which will bring continued labour peace to the construction industry across the province.

“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, chair of the Bargaining Council of Building Trade Unions. BCBCBTU bargains for the 16 construction trade unions with Construction Labour Relations Association, which represents employers in construction.

“The employers have also ratified the agreement so we can now bring continued stability to the construction industry free from strikes or lockouts.”

This is particularly important now, he said, because the Building Trades look forward to the thousands of construction jobs opening up at BC Hydro’s Site C dam which is due to begin construction later this year, as well as a number of planned mining sites and proposed LNG plants, pipelines and marine terminals.

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, said that major construction companies involved in large projects typically 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 these companies turn to the unions for workers they know that’s what they’ll get.”

“The extension brings the current contracts to April 30, 2016 for more than 40,000 workers in the building trades unions. Negotiations are scheduled to begin later this Spring for multi-year contracts beyond that date,” 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.”

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For more information contact the Bargaining Council of BC Building Trade Unions:
Mark Olsen, President (LiUNA) at 604-951-8877
Rob Tuzzi, Secretary-Treasurer (BC Bricklayers) at 604-584-2021