Tuesday, February 01, 2005

New Union One Step Closer

Jamuary 29, 2005
CEP Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

The British Columbia Labour Relations Board has issued a decision that gives the green light to BC Carpenters long struggle for autonomy. The Board has ruled the carpenters can transfer their bargaining rights to a new bargaining council, established jointly with CEP.

“It is a big win for Canadian autonomy,” says Len Embree, President of the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters. “The Labour Board is allowing our members’ vote for freedom to be counted.”

The Construction, Maintenance and Allied Workers Union (CMAW) is now waiting for the Board to count the votes that are expected to confirm that the Council will be the bargaining agent of a large section of the carpenters’ members who work at industrial sites. Further decisions are also expected with respect to carpenters who work on construction sites.

“CMAW is the BC Council of Carpenters’ avenue to Canadian autonomy,” says Dave Coles, CEP Vice President, Western Region. “We are fighting side by side with Canadian workers for their right to run their union themselves and from within Canada.”
The LRB decision rules in favour of the BC Carpenters Union in their long struggle for autonomy from its US based parent organization, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBCJA). The cross-border dispute has intensified over the past decade as the UBCJA has increasingly interfered with Canadian members’ rights to elect their own officers and make autonomous policy decisions in the interests of Canadian workers.

“This ruling, which allows the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters to vary their certifications to the Construction, Maintenance and Allied Workers Union (CMAW), not only fortifies and preserves workers’ democratic rights, it brings Canadian Autonomy one step closer,” says Brian Zdrilic, President of CMAW.“It is an unprecedented opportunity for CMAW and its affiliates to expand their organizing efforts.

” Last year the BC Carpenters Union formed a new joint all-Canadian bargaining council in partnership with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP). The new CMAW bargaining council had applied to the LRB to certify more than 120 employers across the province. As part of the certification process members were asked, in a secret ballot vote conducted by the Ministry of Labour, whether they support their unions’ move to CMAW.