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Construction union and contractors call on all political parties to end labour monopolies

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February 28, 2013 by Staff Report

The Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) and the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) are calling on all political parties to work together to pass legislation that would end construction labour monopolies.  PCA and CLAC have met with Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris, Kitchener Centre MPP John Milloy and will be meeting with the Minister of Labour Yasir Naqvi, Cambridge-North Dumfries MPP Rob Leone and Kitchener Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife to advocate for the change.

“We are meeting with elected officials from all parties to get support for a change to the existing legislation that would prevent construction monopolies within public employers that are costing taxpayers millions,” said Sean Reid, Ontario and Federal Director of PCA.  “The change we are asking for simply clarifies the existing Labour Relations Act and shuts the door on a loophole that is unfair, uncompetitive and wastes taxpayer dollars.”

A report that was issued by the think tank Cardus last week estimated that a labour monopoly in the Region of Waterloo would cost up to $78 million per year.  There are 23 contractors in the province that are capable of doing large municipal water and wastewater projects.  If a Carpenter’s labour monopoly were in place there would only be approximately 2 eligible bidders.  The lack of eligible competition in the bid process is largely credited for the cost increases forecasted by Cardus.

“This is not a union vs. non union issue – it is about the exclusive monopoly that one union wants over all major projects in the Region to the detriment of all other union and non union workers and taxpayers,” said Ian DeWaard, Regional Director of CLAC.  “We are hoping all political parties will come together in the best interest of the public and change the legislation quickly.”

The issue was brought front and centre when the Carpenters union launched a bid to organize two employees of the Region of Waterloo.  If the Carpenters are successful, the collective agreement imposed would restrict who the municipality could get to work on large public projects.  PCA and CLAC will be providing recommendations on what should be in a legislative solution to elected officials.  The legislative recommendation will be aimed at preventing future monopolies, eliminating current monopolies and preserving the constitutional rights of the workers currently unionized.

SOURCE: Progressive Contractors Association of Canada

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