Letter To The Editor: Oppressive CBA regimes need to be scrapped and replaced

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Journal of Commerce | Paul de Jong | June 12, 2020

To the Editor;

Re: Investing in infrastructure must mean investing in Canadians, June 9, 2020.

The goal of Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) should be to “better the lives of all Canadians.”

But if British Columbia is anything to go by, CBA-inclusive language can also be used to mask a vastly different reality.

Under the title of CBA, B.C.’s infrastructure work is the exclusive domain of a select group of Building Trades Unions (BTUs), which all workers are forced to join – and companies must abide by – if they want to work. 

These unions represent just 15 per cent of the province’s skilled construction workforce. This means that the 85 per cent of the province’s skilled workers, and the contractors employing them, who do not want to buy into this coercive and anti-competitive arrangement are excluded from work their taxes pay for.

Robert Kucheran’s stated goals of “equity, fairness, good wages, high standards of safety and training for workers – local and underrepresented” are worthy, but nothing more than rhetoric unless unfair and oppressive CBA regimes like Premier John Horgan’s are scrapped and replaced.

Paul de Jong,

President of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA)