Now That the Dust Has Settled
/ Author: Kevin Kohut
/ Categories: Guide magazine /
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Now That the Dust Has Settled

Despite the use of “creative” tactics, members in BC sent a clear message to raiding unions.

By Kevin Kohut, BC Director 

In the September issue of the Guide, I wrote about a new bill in British Columbia (Bill 10), which came with the disruptive element of allowing unions in the construction sector to raid each other every year. 

Notwithstanding the obvious failure of the government to consider that workers might not want to be hounded by other unions every July and August, some of us were concerned about the impact such legislation would have on our members, stewards, and representatives—specifically with regard to their morale and mental health.

As anticipated, when open season approached, so did the organizers of various Building Trades Unions—Teamsters, Operating Engineers, Labourers—with their many promises. This year, their sights were set on CLAC members employed by three contractors: Oscar Renda Contracting of Canada Inc., Pedre Contractors Ltd., and JJM Construction Ltd. Over the span of several weeks, the organizers showed up pursuing and pestering members employed by these contractors, most of whom simply wanted to work.

“Creative” tactics ensued. A couple members told us that they were approached by organizers telling them, “We’re your union reps. You need to sign a card if you want to keep working.” 

Another worker referred to seeing a truck that appeared to be stuck just off the site. When he approached to help, the driver asked him who he works for and suddenly promised him an unrealistic increase if he were to sign a card with his union. 

Needless to say, this wore on many members, especially stewards. But when the dust had settled, members had spoken and sent a clear message: Not interested. In all three cases, none of the raiding unions had obtained enough support to even qualify for a vote before the BC Labour Relations Board. 

Because members didn’t fall for these tactics, they will be exempt from raiding for the following 22 months. Congratulations! 

The thing that was most surprising during this raid season was how energizing it was for CLAC representatives. Once they found their rhythm, the team was galvanized and were quick to respond to challenges. 

To the members, stewards, and representatives who faced these exhausting challenges this year, we couldn’t be prouder!

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