The Globe and Mail is reporting that an alliance of building trade unions is threatening to lure aware construction workers from the Site C project for other work sites if a labour pact isn’t reached with B.C. Hydro.
Tom Sigurdson, executive director of the B.C. and Yukon Territory Building and Construction Trades Council says the crown corporation is putting one of the province’s largest infrastructure projects at risk with labour instability by trying to attract cheap labour.
This comes as B.C. Hydro looks to change their long standing labour model to an open-shop model – rejecting the notion of common wages and seeking to curb organized labour activities.
In an interview with the Globe and Mail on Monday, B.C. Hydro’s president and chief executive officer Jessica McDonald went on record to reject the trade unions’ bid to negotiate a project-wide labour agreement. She did however back-down on previous efforts to ban unions from organizing, striking and picketing on the construction site.
The trade unions’ Allied Hydro Council is proposing a “construction partnership agreement” that would allow both union and non-union workers to build the dam – with all being paid industry-standard wages and benefits. They say this model would ensure no labour disruptions and would also provide certainty around labour cost over the life of the project.
The building trades have filed a civil suit in B.C. Supreme Court seeking to block B.C. Hydro’s open-site labour model on the grounds that it violates the federal Charter of Rights.