CLAC Joins Industry Stakeholders in Filing Lawsuit against BC Government: Argue Public Project Labour Monopoly Unconstitutional
Langley, BC—CLAC has joined major industry stakeholders and other independent construction unions to file a petition in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, arguing that the Building Trades Unions (BTU) only employment requirement on public projects is a fundamental breach of workers’ rights as guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“The government’s decision to force workers to join the BTU to access work on public projects is not only poor public policy, it is also unconstitutional,” says Wayne Prins, CLAC executive director.
The petition also names five workers who have joined the claim against the provincial government.
On July 16, 2018, the BC NDP announced a deal negotiated with the Allied Infrastructure and Related Construction Council (AIRCC), a conglomerate of American-based Building Trade Unions, which will force all workers on public infrastructure projects to join the BTU within 30 days of employment.
“Instead of creating an inclusive community benefits model that reflects the modern construction industry, the government chose to reward their BTU backers with a monopoly, to the detriment of the majority British Columbians,” says Prins.
On July 26, CLAC and eight other organizations sent an open letter to Premier Horgan and the NDP cabinet, urging the government to reverse its decision to apply restrictive project labour agreements to public infrastructure projects.
CLAC and their co-petitioners have asked the Supreme Court to quash the BTU only employment requirement for public works.
“Workers have the right to choose their union representation, and public projects should remain open to all British Columbians,” says Prins. “We are asking the courts to uphold fundamental freedoms as guaranteed under the Charter, and to reverse this regressive policy.”