Twenty CLAC Local 68 members descended on the BC Legislature on October 30 to hold the NDP’s feet to the fire over restrictive BTU-only hiring clauses in its community benefits agreement (CBA). They joined with members and representatives of other organizations that are also being shut out of future provincial infrastructure projects.
During a rowdy session of the legislature, one member of the opposition Liberal Party confronted Premier John Horgan over a comment he recently made referring to CLAC as “those turkeys.” No response was made by the premier.
Four other Liberal members confronted NDP Minister of Transportation, Claire Trevena, with the same question: “Why are you forcing a construction worker to join a union they don’t want to join?” The minister eventually became flustered with the constant barrage. But one thing became clear: she had no good rationale to defend the government’s position.
She did agree to meet with some CLAC Local 68 members in her office after the session, including Tom MacDonald, Natalie Bak, Carmen Elebracht, Tim Spencer, and Ryan Deforge. Members educated the minister on the fact that other organizations besides the BTU have apprentices and hire underrepresented groups in construction.
CLAC has requested further dialogue with the government in the hope that it will do the right thing and eliminate restrictive union language in the CBA and allow its members to work on infrastructure projects.