The Editor: CBA conference reiterates how broader construction industry is left out

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Journal of Commerce | Paul de Jong | February 7, 2019

Letter To The Editor: CBA conference reiterates how broader construction industry is left out

To the Editor,

Re: CBAs take on international tone, featured in the Jan. 30, 2019 Journal of Commerce

So much for dispensing with all the hyperbole around Project Labour Agreements (PLAs).

At a recent conference on the subject, U.S. speakers who lauded the benefits of PLAs, glossed over an important distinction.

The PLAs they point to as success stories are inclusive and invite all labour models to participate.

When PLAs are designed openly and transparently, there can be real benefits and training opportunities for underrepresented groups.

But, that’s not how it is in B.C., where Premier John Horgan’s covert infrastructure rules shut out 85 per cent of the construction workforce who chose not to associate with the Building Trades Unions.

These are the same rules that force contractors to hire through a crown corporation run by Horgan’s favoured unions.

This does not instil the kind of labour harmony that the American conference speakers associate with PLAs.

It’s unfortunate that this conference and the B.C. government’s PLA share the same hallmarks.

Both purposely shut out the broader construction industry with the goal of perpetuating rather than toning down the rhetoric over restrictive PLAs.

Paul de Jong
President of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada