Saturday, December 30, 2006

workplace safety: all hat and no cattle

Courts take companies to task for poor safety record - By Eric Beauchesne, Canwest News Service
OTTAWA - Canada's worsening workplace-safety record is putting more than workers at risk, as the courts are cracking down on companies and supervisors deemed not to have done enough to protect their workers and others, legal and safety officials say.

Prosecutors are seeking, and judges are imposing, higher fines against companies and supervisors, says Toronto lawyer Peter Brady, a partner at McCarthy Tetrault, who deals with occupational health and safety issues.

''What five years ago would have been a fine of $30,000 or $40,000 is now upward of $100,000,'' Brady says. ''That kind of multiplier is being applied across the board.

''Companies have to have their due-diligence ducks in a row,'' he says.

Brady's warning follows a recent report that on average nearly five Canadians died every single working day last year because of a work-related accident or illness.

Friday, December 29, 2006

CEP accuses Catalyst of Smoke & Mirrors

CEP fights concessions... -
I will conclude with a quote from our CEP Western Region Vice President, Don MacNeil that sums it up quite nicely. “We are sure wondering what game Catalyst is playing.” “They talk about investing money to improve operations and increase profits but for some reason they are still demanding concessions from our members in Port Alberni rather than just simply going ahead with this lucrative investment. If they think for one minute that they are going to get concessions from our members just to improve profits for shareholders, they have another thing coming.”
I could talk about the rise in contracting out, a direct result of the evil plot that parachuted JVD in our mills under the guise of survival, and yet without much consideration for cost control and quality workmanship.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Alberta's gain Nova Scotia town's loss

Edmonton Journal
In the past six years, nearly half-a-million Canadians have migrated to Alberta from all corners of the country, leaving empty homes and worried communities in their wake.

And nowhere is the impact of the exodus more apparent than in southwest Nova Scotia, where residents of Clare say anywhere from 300 to 800 people -- roughly five per cent of the municipal population -- have gone to Alberta since the spring of 2005.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Labour tug-of-war

Irving Oil is poised to launch a $7-billion expansion at its Saint John refinery, a project that needs 5,000 construction workers and 1,000 permanent staff.
It all sounds familiar.
Just what we needed.
Tough competition for labour.

A labour tug of war: Go West for the jobs - Financial Post
The latest salvo was a glossy-covered, 40-page publication distributed this month in Alberta's major cities that was supported by provincial governments and major employers in Atlantic Canada. Created by a company owned by New Brunswick's powerful Irving family and titled Come Home to a career in Atlantic Canada, the publication pits Alberta's high cost of living and stressful cities against Atlantic Canada's affordable housing and laid-back lifestyle.

'The price of seafood is significantly higher in Alberta,' the publication points out. 'Fresh cultivated mussels, for example, cost $1.69 a pound at Sobey's in Moncton, and $3.38 at Sobey's in Calgary, and Atlantic Canadians know there is nothing like these delicious tastes of home.'

Add the exorbitant cost of housing in Alberta, which is sometime triple the cost of a similar house in New Brunswick, and the cost of living in the East starts to far outweigh any salary differences.'

The publication was put together partly in response to similar brochures recently circulated in Atlantic Canada by Western Canadian provinces and employers.

Both regions of Canada are fighting for the same skilled workers to support growth.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Judge grants TWU an injunction banning union leader

Judge grants TWU an injunction banning union leader
Published: Friday, December 08, 2006
B.C. Supreme Court Judge Joel Groves today granted the Telecommunication Workers Union an injunction banning union leader Bruce Bell from acting as its president.
It is a temporary resolution to the ongoing bitter dispute that split the union following the ratification of a controversial contract with Telus Corp. a year ago.
"This is very much a Band-Aid solution," Groves said, but added that it was necessary to allow the TWU to function.
Groves' ruling upholds an August decision by the union's internal decision-making body, the TWU trial board, removing Bell as president.
He rejected the appeal decision of Canadian Labour Congress ombudsman John Shields, which reinstated Bell, and denied the now-former president his application for an injunction to stop the union from interfering in his role.
Groves did, however, rule that the Bell is still entitled to remain a TWU member in good standing so that he may vie for the president's job again in union elections to be held at its convention next March.
© Vancouver Sun 2006

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Court lets Telus union fire its president -- but rules he must remain a member

Vancouver Sun Dec. 9 - subscription required
B.C. Supreme Court Judge Joel Groves on Friday granted the Telecommunication Workers Union an injunction upholding its decision to fire Bruce Bell as its president.

archived articles -
Telecommunications Workers Union Awarded an Injunction - Canada NewsWire
BURNABY, BC, Dec. 8 /CNW/ - Today, the BC Supreme Court granted an Interim Interlocutory Injunction restraining Bruce Bell from representing himself to any person as the President of the Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU), or for seeking to exercise any powers of the President of the TWU.

The TWU deemed the application for an injunction necessary as it was evident that Bruce Bell refused to recognize Executive Council's authority or to follow their direction. Executive Council are responsible for running the Union and for the day to day servicing of the membership.

"We are pleased that Justice Groves has granted this injunction. The TWU will now move forward focusing our energies and resources in the servicing of our membership. Our members expect and deserve principled leadership. This injunction ensures that checks and balances remain in place which will protect our members," explains TWU Acting President John Carpenter.

The Telecommunications Workers Union represents over 11,600 members within the Canadian communications sector for over 55 years.

For further information: TWU Acting President John Carpenter at (403) 237-6990, TWU office - Calgary; or visit the TWU website at

seems i recall a lot of folks at the BCPC convention using the now overturned injunction in TWU/Bell case as a precedent for not voting out the resident officers...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Pulp Fiction hits Powell River

Mill faces cuts - The Powell River Peak
Powell River's paper mill will look much different in the future as the company plans for a leaner operation.

Brian Baarda, Catalyst Paper Corporation vice president and Powell River mill manager, said the company is discussing with its 690 employees what the Powell River division needs to look like. "We've done a lot of benchmarking of other sites and what we've seen is that other people are able to run a site this size with fewer people," he said. "Because of the economic times facing the industry, there have been mills that have gone to their employees for changes in wages or to local governments for reduction in taxes in order to survive."

The company has not announced any layoffs for 2007, but it has said it is cancelling the 37-and-a-third-hour work week and employees will be returning to a 40-hour week, said Mike Verdiel, president of Local 76 of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers' (CEP) Union of Canada.

Workers went to a 37-hour workweek in 2001, after the kraft mill was shut down. Local 76 negotiated for the reduced hours in order to save jobs.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

No Solidarity

click for full article: | W-FIVE
Local 183 of the Labourers International Union - LIUNA for short - is the biggest union local in North America. Located in Southwestern Ontario, mostly in Toronto, it boasts 35,000 members, who work in the construction business.

At Local 183 they like to boast that if they stopped working, Toronto would immediately fall into recession. But these days, Local 183's battles aren't with the boss, they're internal, as the local is mired in a nasty fight, pitting member against member and local against the parent International.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

In Detroit: Carpenters corruption is centralized and efficient

Union Democracy Review #164
According to the Detroit News Ralph Mabry, executive secretary treasurer of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, was sentenced to two years in prison and a $50,000 fine for receiving $127,000 from contractors in discounts toward building his $803,000 home. His assistant was sentenced to a year and a day plus a $3,000 fine.

There's something special about this case. As executive secretary treasurer of this regional council, which represents 23,000 carpenters statewide, he was endowed with authoritarian power that insulated him from membership control and gave him near-dictatorial control over all local affiliates and staff members, local or regional. In justifying the reorganization of the union and combining all locals under all-powerful executive secretaries, International President Douglas McCarron argued that such a super-centralized system was imperative to end petty corruption in the union and to make the union more effective in meeting the great challenges of our epoch.

In one odd, limited but not unanticipated way, McCarron was right. Petty local corruption seems to have been replaced, at least in Michigan, by more efficient, centralized corruption at a higher level.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters versus the Dept. of Labor

Blocking Carpenters move for more bureaucratic power - by Judith Schneider, Union Democracy Review #164
After a complaint by Jeff Fearon of Chicago Local 58 and other members, the U.S. Department of Labor rejected an effort by the union to make its council structure even more rigid and even less subject to challenge from the membership. The Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters represents 47,000 members of 42 locals in 82 counties in three states. In May 2006, the department sued to void the July 2005 election of officers of the Chicago council. The key issue in dispute is a provision in the council's bylaws which requires all aspiring candidates to have previously served as council delegates for three successive years to be eligible to run for regional office. The department challenges this rule as unreasonable.

The suit also charged that not all council delegates had been elected by secret ballot. Apparently, if you were a regional officer when the delegate elections occurred, you were automatically declared a delegate from your local. The DOL sought new nominations and elections of all council delegates and all council officers.

Catalyst Buys Sylvan Warehouse

Tim Thompson - Viewpoint:
One last thing to note, I'm certain that Catalyst believes Sylvan's workers are unionized but CLAC is not a recognized union by the CLC or the BC Fed. It is one of those so-called Rat Unions that we grew so fond of during the 94-95 labour dispute. Currently, in Local 592, we have a ban on visits to Sylvan, in large part because of how some of their workers responded to CEP organizing attempts in the past.

But, by taking jobs away from the mills and giving them to Sylvan, they are probably paying less in wages and salaries and pretty much guaranteeing labour peace because the workers there really aren't represented by a union.

Doesn't everybody just love this company we work for? And they say they like us. I'm not sure we could be treated much worse if they hated us.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Rig worker pay jumps nine per cent

Edmonton Journal
Education pays especially well in Alberta oil and natural gas fields this fall.

Drilling hands who make the grade for their new occupational title as rig technicians are hitting a wage gusher.

Hourly pay jumped about nine per cent for veterans who quickly passed exams set by the province's apprenticeship system.

Increases average about five per cent for workers who have not yet completed the program begun last winter by oilfield employers, trade schools and the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Board.
"We wanted to send a message," said Don Herring, president of the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors.
"We are trying to communicate that you can make a career in this business."
No crews in the 835-rig western Canadian drilling fleet belong to unions. But the CAODC posts recommended pay standards after canvassing employers, reviewing oilfield personnel needs and checking wages offered by rival recruiters of skilled blue-collar workers such as construction firms that often have organized labour.
Base wages for top rig hands, drillers or foremen, rise $1.25 to $37.25 this fall. But they make $39.25 if they earn a $2 "rig tech premium" by passing Alberta's new apprenticeship exams.

The premium is $1.50 an hour for the two rungs below driller on the rig occupational ladder, assistant driller and derrickhand. The education bonus is $1 an hour for the first level requiring technical training, motorhand.

No premiums are available to two novice ranks, leasehands and floorhands, who do rig heavy lifting and cleaning as basic training in the trade's blend of hazardous machinery, high technology, 12-hour shifts around the clock every day of the week, remote locations and harsh weather.

But the beginners receive pay raises this fall. Pay for entry-level leasehands rises by $1 or five per cent to $21 an hour.

Annual earnings on junior to middle rungs of the drilling job ladder typically average $60,000 to $100,000. Top hands can make $150,000 or more depending on types of technology and specialized activities on their rigs, Herring said.

Alberta's rig technician program, a world first in the oil and gas industry, lays out a three-year apprenticeship of on-the-job and classroom training. But veterans are allowed to obtain journeyman tickets immediately if they prove they have the right experience and pass written exams.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Judge asked "To Bell the cat" ...

Judge to be asked who should lead Telus union - By Fiona Anderson, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, November 24, 2006
The contract dispute between Telus Corp. and its union may have ended a year ago but the bitter aftertaste remains, with union representatives scheduled to be in court today looking for a judge to decide who should be their leader.

An application started in the name of the Telecommunications Workers Union is asking the court to keep president Bruce Bell from acting or purporting to act as president of the union. Bell, on the other hand, is claiming the TWU has not authorized the action against him. Bell is also seeking an injunction to stop the disgruntled union executive members from interfering with his ability to do his job.
The court action comes a year after the union ratified a new contract after almost five years of often acrimonious negotiations and four months off the job.

The work stoppage -- called a lockout by the union and a strike by Telus -- led to divisions within the union, some of it along geographical lines. In Alberta, Telus reported that more than half of its unionized employees crossed picket lines to go to work, while B.C. workers stayed off the job. Before the new contract, workers in the two provinces were covered by separate collective agreements.

The move to oust Bell is supported by TWU's vice-president responsible for Central and Eastern Canada, John Carpenter. Carpenter has been acting as president of the union since July, when members of the TWU's executive council purported to oust Bell for dereliction of duty. Bell successfully appealed that decision to an ombudsperson appointed by the Canadian Labour Congress and was reinstated in October. In the current application before the court, the TWU alleges that the ombudsperson was biased and his decision should be overturned.
The Vancouver Sun 2006

Sunday, November 19, 2006

WCB 'rogue state'

Politicians, injured workers and their advocates are demanding the provincial government launch a public inquiry into Alberta's Workers' Compensation Board.
'The WCB is operating like a rogue state within the Alberta government. We've known for a long time about the complaints workers have had with the board, but to see so much substantiated? Its behaviour is just unconscionable.'

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Relaxed Foreign Worker Rules Will Lead to More Abuse of System, says AFL

Relaxed Foreign Worker Rules Will Lead to More Abuse of System, says AFL - Canada Newswire
The Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) responded to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Monte Solberg's announcement this morning that the federal government will be relaxing rules for the importing of temporary foreign workers by predicting it will lead to greater abuse of the system, more exploitation of foreign workers and suppression of wages in Alberta.

'In Conservative-speak, 'streamlining' is shorthand for 'let employers do what they want.' I do not trust Harper's government to protect either the foreign workers coming to Canada or to ensure Canadian workers are not pushed aside,' observes AFL President Gil McGowan."

Monday, November 13, 2006

The new web and the unions

click to read the full text by Eric Lee of LabourStart
But unions are not rushing forward to create websites that are full of content produced by their own members. The vast majority of union websites are traditional, one-to-many forms of broadcasting just like television and radio.

There are some notable exceptions. In Britain, the Trades Union Congress launched a website some time ago called At its core, the site is a giant discussion forum in which union reps (shop stewards) get to talk about whatever matters to them. It has been a phenomenal success story, studied by academics and the subject of a lot of attention. But it has not been emulated.

The typical union website – even in unions which ordinarily would see themselves as encouraging member participation – is written by officials, designed to be read by members. There is very little that members can do on these sites other than read what their leaders have to say.

It is quite ironic that websites owned by the likes of Murdoch are wide open, examples of free-ranging discussion and debate, while the websites of the trade union movement are closed, tightly regulated, censored and controlled.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

JVD - Catalyst: An Obscene Love Story...

CEP 1123 Online
Finally, the cat is out of the bag. those of us who thought that the JVD debacle on the recovery cyclone job during the July mill down was going to turn the most obscene love story in our labour history into a bad dream are dead wrong.

They're BAAACK..... 1000 man-days for demolition work in the mill (Mostly #3 PB and precipitator). Our forceful push-back at the CIC table got us the following answer: This is $1,000,000 that is being pushed down from Vancouver head office. There is no option like improvements that would increase reliability, or production, or quality. You get this or you get nothing, while the head office is telling JVD yes dear, you sort of disappointed me on the first try, but here is a million dollar blue pill.

The way that the Kraft Mill has turned itself around is a credit to all the people involved. Some reports would have you believe that it was a gathering of great minds that made it possible. Ideas and great plans are realized by OUR HANDS.?

JVD gets a million, you get a golf shirt.?
Wear it with pride.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

CMAW brass could learn from USW:

Instead of blaming this blog for the International twisting Dave Coles' nose over the Pulp Fiction agreements in the Nov/Dec '06 issue of The Carpenter, the Divine Right could wake up to the fact that there is no official website, no hard copy newsletter since August (having terminated On the Level) no CMAW mail out since June 16th (and what a biased potboiler that was), and no internet presence to communicate with the members since the last update on June 28th.

The BC Carpenters Union had a court mandated convention in October, but the only obvious source of information on that seems to be this weblog or horrors! The Carpenter Mag!! What about the second injunction that resulted from the outcome of the convention? Nothing has been sent to the members on that either.

Furthermore, there is no other forum or vehicle for members to voice their questions, concerns and opinions and no information at all is exchanged except among the Top Dawgs as they circle and sniff. I have offered suggestions and extended invites to Jan "The Anointed" Nosterdamus on how to help further the interests of our union via the internet - even to making available a domain name (again - but that's another story eh Coles the Younger?) - I hope the Janster responds with more than the suggestion of possibly a mail-out before years' end and an adjective-laced directive to kill this blog.

Read the article below to see how the Steelworkers do it.
fraternally, dave livingston

USW: What Is Rapid Response
Grassroots: Rapid Response is the Steelworkers' nonpartisan grassroots education, communication, and action program that involves every member.

Communication: Rapid Response allows for almost instant personal communication with every USW member on any given subject.

Education: Rapid Response provides the necessary structure to inform every USW member about pending legislation concerning labor and work-related issues. All information identifies the issue, its effect on workers and their families, and the sponsors and supporters.  It also asks for a specific response.

Action: Rapid Response Action Calls provide USW members with a way to respond to the education provided. Rapid Response also provides the necessary structure to activate the USW membership to provide for real change in our ability to influence the legislative process. This system provides the necessary infrastructure to generate tremendous action on any given issue.

Change: Rapid Response provides the tools to generate necessary changes in the legislative process to ensure that labor survives and flourishes far into the future.

Opportunity: Finally, Rapid Response provides opportunity for all USW members to have a strong voice and an active part in the legislative activities that affect their daily lives. This program allows USW members to fight back on a daily basis on issues that affect them, their families, and their communities.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

IUOE Local 115 members remain united

IUOE Local 115 members remain united - Local 115, International Union of Operating Engineers June newsletter
We have seen some interesting developments on the labour front. The Carpenters Local 1598 tried to raid both our union and the Labourers Local 1611 at Farmer Construction Ltd. in Victoria. When the dust settled and the ballots were counted, the results were 31:2 in favor of staying with us and the Labourers. Congratulations to all those Operators and Labourers who definitely sent a clear message of “Leave us Alone!” to the Carpenters. It is amazing how much damage has been caused in the past few years by the fight between the Carpenters’ international union and provincial council. I cannot see how this has benefited anybody in the building trades either.

In another incident, the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers Union Local 470 (with ties to the provincial Carpenters) signed a Pulp and Paper Survival Agreement with JVD Mill Services Inc. A brand new local signed a brand new agreement with a brand new company to do all the maintenance work which was traditionally done by building trades affiliates. Amazingly, this collective agreement, covering Catalyst’s four mills on Vancouver Island and in Powell River, also prevents the Carpenters from working at these mills. However, we believe our members will still get work there under our collective agreements due to the fact that our contractors own the cranes, vacuum trucks and excavators.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Remote workers: Plug them in to keep them loyal

Remote workers: Plug them in to keep them loyal - By DAN MCLEAN, Globe and Mail, Canada
What might make these employees stay?

That's the challenge facing petroleum companies like Syncrude Canada, Suncor Energy, Canadian Natural Resources, Petro-Canada, Nexen and a host of others as they seek to recruit workers to massive oil sands projects in remote northern Alberta. These multibillion-dollar petroleum-drilling operations attract employees who are a well-paid, but transient group. That's a problem, since employee turnover can cost companies as much as 10 per cent of revenue.

Technology is being used to stem the exodus by supporting communication services that improve the quality of life at work camps through a range of personal entertainment offerings, such as telephone, Internet and pay television.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

CAW sending group to Ottawa to lobby MPs to pass anti-strike breaker legislation: Bill C-257

Help support this lobby by telling your MP to support Bill C-257
Bill C-257 was introduced as a private member's bill by Bloc Québécois MP Carole Lavallee, which if passed, would prevent the use of replacement workers in the event of a labour strike or lockout.  Ms. Lavallee introduced a similar anti-strike breaker bill [Bill C-263], which was defeated by just 12 votes on April 7, 2005.  This is the tenth attempt by the Bloc to win anti-strike breaking provisions for workers who are governed under the Canada Labour Code.  As was the case the last time, the NDP is expected to join the Bloc and vote solidly in favour of Bill C-257.  Labour legislation should treat workers and employers fairly in the event of a strike or lock-out.  Both sides must pay an economic consequence in such situations.

The CAW is sending a group to Ottawa to lobby Conservative and Liberal MPs days before the Bill is tabled and will sit in the House of Commons during the vote.  Bill C-257 will be voted on in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening, October 25, 2006.  As support for this legislation has increased slowly over the years, it is hoped that this time out anti-strike breaker legislation will pass and be enshrined in the Canada Labour Code.

It is anticipated that Prime Minister Harper may try to bind his Cabinet and Parliamentary Secretaries to oppose the Bill, similarly as was done in 2005 by Liberal PM Paul Martin.

Please help support this lobby:  Click on the "ACTION" box and send your MP a fax/email telling them to vote in favour of Bill C257.  

Tell your Member of Parliament to vote Yes to prohibiting the use of scab labour: Bill C-257 -

Subject: RE: Bill C-257 - Stop Scab Labour
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2006 11:30:33 -0400
From: "Atamanenko, Alex - M.P."

October 23, 2006
Dear Mr. Livingston

Thank you very much for your e-mail in which you have expressed your concerns regarding Bill C-257 An Act to Amend the Canada Labour Code (replacement workers).

The NDP are long time supporters of workers rights to a fair and just collective bargaining process. I and my colleagues believe we need strong, clear anti-scab legislation to make this happen, and this Bill is a good step forward. I fully support passing this Bill, and making it even stronger when it comes to Committee for debate.

The NDP also has introduced a Bill dealing with anti-scab legislation, Bill C-295, and are working closely with the labour movement, and the Canadian Labour Congress to get this legislation through.

Please be assured that I will continue to work with my NDP colleagues to make sure this Bill moves forward.

For your information, I have taken the liberty of providing you with a copy of a speech by the NDP Labour Critic, Ms. Libby Davies, MP, on the issue of Bill C-257.

Again, thank you very much for writing. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Alex Atamanenko, MP
BC Southern Interior

Thursday, October 19, 2006

CEP Convention Update #5

Tim Thompson - Viewpoint
Vice President
38,013 votes cast. 0 spoiled ballots.
Don Boucher - 17,175 votes. Don MacNeil - 20,838 votes. Don MacNeil is elected.

Administrative Vice President (Paper Sector)
An explanation: since Don MacNeil is out of the Energy sector, the AVPs have to be from the other sectors. Wendy Sol was acclaimed in the Communications sector. Keith Barrington was eliminated from running because he is also from the energy sector. A candidate defeated in a higher office is eligible to step down and run which is what Don Boucher did.37,374 votes cast. 199 spoiled ballots.

Don Boucher - 22, 350 votes. Bob Hughf - 14,824 votes. Don Boucher is elected.

CEP Convention Update #3

Convention Update #3
In the at large nominations, the following were nominated and acclaimed:
Dave Coles - President.
Gaetan Menard - Secretary-Treasurer
Peter Murdoch - VP - Media

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

open letter to Pat Haggarty

Brother Haggarty

I would like to go on the record as saying that I was impressed with the way you handled what must have been an awkward time for yourself and some very divisive times for our union. I have been critical of events that have unfolded on your watch over the last 2 years, such as the substandard JV Screwdriver agreement, the forced march towards the CEP and the failure to take a decent CMAW constitution to the members and the lack of any elections to date for the 3 CMAW presidents that have held that position by appointment and of course the postponement and cancellation of our BCPC convention earlier this year. I can only surmise that you have had some extremely poor advice from within and without our union.

That said, I feel you acquitted yourself once again with the exemplary demeanor that I first saw when you chaired the meeting with McCarron where the lights went out at 513.

fraternally, dave livingston

From: "Pat Haggarty"
To: "'dave'"
Subject: RE: praise where it is due
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2006 13:13:11 -0700

You know, I think that was a backhanded compliment.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

CEP national convention

CEP national convention next week
VANCOUVER, B.C. - CEP Western Region Vice-President Dave Coles will open the convention on Sunday at 9:45 a.m. Delegates will debate dozens of resolutions including a call for the Canadian government to withdraw from all military operations in Afghanistan, unless sanctioned by the UN; to make trade policy more democratic; and to implement a public pharmacare program. Other resolutions call on CEP to renew efforts to save jobs through reduced working time; to build on organizing breakthroughs such as those with Metis and First Nations workers; and to help Locals become more politically active.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Results of elections at 62nd BCPC Convention

Tony Heisterkamp elected over Jan Noster for President (59 votes to 31)
Frank Nolan elected over Pat Haggarty for Secretary Treasurer (56 votes to 33)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

TALES OF PULP FICTION: CEP'd on from above

Almost 4,000 jobs lost following Sask. mill closures: report

Almost 4,000 jobs lost following Sask. mill closures: report - CBC News
The total damage from the closure of Prince Albert's pulp and paper operation was much worse than the 690 direct jobs that were lost, a government report says.
According to a report from the premier's task force on forest development, which was released on Thursday, the total impact of Weyerhaeuser closures was closer to 4,000 jobs.
In addition to the direct job losses that took place between January and April, there was another 1,380 indirect jobs connected to the Prince Albert operation that were lost.
There were more losses from the closure of Wapawekka and Big River sawmills, which had been feeding wood chips to the pulp mill — 1,883 direct and indirect jobs.
So the total is 3,953 direct and indirect jobs.

Dave Coles stamps his foot, but life goes on even in Saskatchewan

CEP wants strong message sent to Weyerhaeuser on PA mill

For Immediate Release October 6, 2006

The Saskatchewan government must be prepared to use its authority to force Weyerhaeuser to either operate or sell its forestry operations, said Dave Coles, Western Region Vice President of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.

Coles responded today to the final report of the Premier's Task Force on Forest Development delivered yesterday to Premier Lorne Calvert.

"The report has lots of good ideas but they are worthless if this company can hold a whole province to ransom," said Coles. "We know that there are forest companies prepared to make paper in Prince Albert if Weyerhaeuser won't, and we cannot accept the decision of Weyerhaeuser-Domtar to leave these forest operations idle.

"Prince Albert and northern Saskatchewan have suffered enough and waited long enough. We want Premier Calvert to put a 'use-it or lose-it' choice to this company."

The task force report makes 17 recommendations to the province to revitalize the forest industry. However in the late stages of the drafting of the report, Weyerhaeuser struck a corporate deal with Domtar to transfer management of its Saskatchewan operations to a new combined company headed by Domtar management. Negotiations with other companies to purchase the Prince Albert paper mill and other forest operations were broken off and Weyerhaeuser-Domtar management has stated that the Prince Albert mill will neither be sold nor reopened.

For information:
Dave Coles: 604-240-7284

Catalyst, unions discuss future of company's Port Alberni, B.C., pulp and paper mill

Catalyst, unions discuss future of company's Port Alberni, B.C., pulp and paper mill; fate of US$22M investment on the line - Canfor Direct ForestWeb
Catalyst is closing its groundwood pulp mill on Sept. 30, resulting in the loss of more than 60 jobs, the newspaper reported. Deinked pulp from the company's Paper Recycling Div. in Coquitlam, B.C., will offset the shortfall of feedstock.

The mill's two unions, the Pulp and Paper Workers Local 686 and Communications, Energy and Paperworkers of Canada (CEP) Local 592, are being asked to approve a five-year dedicated supplier agreement that would guarantee uninterrupted deliveries.

Although the supplier agreement would not assure employment at the mill, failure to reach one would lead to a reorganization of the mill's workforce in January 2007 and 'the customer order will go to another Catalyst mill,' the company said.

The supplier agreement is part of an optimization plan for the Port Alberni mill which includes cost-cutting measures. At previous meetings, Catalyst asked the unions to make changes in work practices, which the company has said it needs to assure reinvesting in the mill will reap benefits.
Catalyst Paper cancels poison pill, clears way for Third Avenue offer
In 2005, Catalyst reported a loss of $25.6 million or 12 cents a share on sales of $1.82 billion. That compared to a loss of $28.6 million or 13 cents per share on sales of $1.88 billion in 2004.

The company shut down groundwood pulp operations at its Port Alberni mill at the end of September and cut 60 jobs in a move to reduce fibre costs.

The paper maker said the groundwood pulp produced by the mill will be replaced by de-inked pulp supplied by the company's paper recycling division in Coquitlam, B.C.

U.S. shocks Canadian forest companies

Drops claim that Canadian lumber is subsidized - By Gordon Hamilton, Vancouver Sun
"The U.S. has agreed to come to the party," said B.C. lumberman David Gray, co-chair of the Free Trade Lumber Council.

Gray said because the U.S. has withdrawn its claims of subsidy and dumping, all but one of the lawsuits that have been tying up implementation of the softwood lumber agreement are now moot.

But Canada does not give up the legal precedents it achieved through five years of fighting the Americans, he said.

"This solves the litigation problem and it keeps our precedents alive. So when they screw us next time, they are going to have to do something different," Gray said.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hochstein - acid reflux ad nauseum

Unions fight 'double-breasting' - By Jim Jamieson, The Province
Gary Kroeker, business manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers and president of the B.C. & Yukon Territory Building and Construction Trades Council, said the practice -- known as 'double-breasting' -- has been going on for a decade.

'Employers who had collective bargaining arrangements with building unions have seen fit to restructure and . . . end up starting a new company with no union obligations,' he said. 'In our opinion, the powers-that-be at the Labour Relations Board haven't used balance in the decisions made with a number of companies.'

But Phil Hochstein, president of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C., said the unions like to blame others for their trouble.
'The real enemy isn't everybody else, it's their organizations. It's their non-productive work practices in their collective agreements, it's their featherbedding in their collective agreements,' he said.

Hochstein said the craft unions -- unions that represent workers with a specific skill, such as carpenters or boilermakers -- lost out while the industry and other unions were adapting over the past two decades.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

B.C. labour tensions rise over foreign workers

B.C. labour tensions rise over foreign workers - Michael Scott, Vancouver Sun
Tensions flared last month when unionized ironworkers walked off the job in Vancouver to protest what they see as the risk of Canadians being replaced by temporary foreign workers. The German construction company Bilfinger Berger has applied to bring in 345 foreign ironworkers for its Golden Ears Bridge project.

That move enraged officials of Ironworkers Local 97, who said there was no shortage of experienced ironworkers in Canada ready to work on the project.

"They're nuts," said Ironworkers business manager Perley Homes, in a statement. "Bilfinger Berger is paying lower wages and benefits than other unionized contractors to their temporary foreign workers. They're not paying fair market rates, and this is putting pressure on other contractor firms to reduce wages and benefits, and look at hiring temporary foreign workers."

Monday, October 02, 2006

Suncor Satisfied With Foreign Workers

Suncor Satisfied With Foreign Workers - By Lynda Harrison, Nickle's Energy Group, Canada
The Philippine workers -- welders, ironworkers and pipe-fitters - at the Firebag onsite camp, about 40 kilometres northeast of Suncor's original oilsands plant, are on one-year visas, with the possibility of a one-year extension.

They were hired by Suncor contractor Flint Energy Services Ltd., by way of the federal government's temporary worker program.

'There's a fairly involved process,' said Brad Bellows, a Suncor spokesman. 'We have to work through a couple of levels of government,' he said in noting 'all of the qualifications of the workers have to be certified as being equivalent to Alberta standards through Alberta Learning. It's a fairly time-consuming process.'

The foreign workers are not unionized but are paid the same prevailing wages as unionized workers, said Bellows.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

CEP Pulp and Paper Survival Agreements

Pulp and Paper Survival Agreement -  select an agreement (links go to new pages with agreements in PDF format)
Duration: January 1, 2006 - 
April 30, 2011

Collective Agreement - Alberta
JVD Mill Services Inc.
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada,
Local Union 777

Collective Agreement
Horizon Construction Management Ltd.
Communication, Energy and Paperworkers
(CEP), Local 777

Tim Thompson - Viewpoint - Post a Comment

"Forward Look Article - March" 2 Comments
The preferred contractor JVD Mill Services and the agreement with CEP local 470 CMAW, is a sellout for all mill workers, the contracting out language in the agreement allows JVD to subcontract any and all work that they choose, with anyone they choose, non-union, CLAC etc.
The JVD agreement was negotiated behind closed doors with Dave Coles selling the farm. This agreement will be the pattern bargaining that we all have to live with, all thanks to Dave Coles.This sellout agreement was negotiated with no involvement from the union and i hear the CMAW partner the BC carpenters union are pissed as well.
Who does Dave Coles think he is?" report

Main page - Operating Engineers Local 115
It is amazing how much damage has been caused in the past few years by the fight between the Carpenters' international union and provincial council. I cannot see how this has benefited anybody in the building trades either.

In another incident, the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers Union Local 470 (with ties to the provincial Carpenters) signed a Pulp and Paper Survival Agreement with JVD Mill Services Inc. A brand new local signed a brand new agreement with a brand new company to do all the maintenance work which was traditionally done by building trades affiliates. Amazingly, this collective agreement, covering Catalyst's four mills on Vancouver Island and in Powell River, also prevents the Carpenters from working at these mills.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Boom Time in Alberta: "but live in a tent"

Boom Time in Alberta - Insider Media Group, Canada
As Peter Lougheed, a former premier of Alberta stated in a recent Canadian Business article “People come to the province, find a good job, but live in a tent.” It appears that there are not even enough tents to go around. Homelessness has grown considerably throughout the province. Having affected 447 in a 1992 count, 3,436 people were tallied up as homeless last spring.    

Rising labour costs are making government dollars less effective. Money spent on transportation and infrastructure is unable to keep up with citizen’s use on current facilities and requirements for new roads. Even medically, the province is unable to keep up, as a current shortage of 1,088 physicians is expected to increase to 1,541 in 2010. 

In perhaps the most ironic aspect of this situation, the oil that caused Alberta’s economic boom is now hurting the oil companies itself. Shell Canada recently announced to unhappy investors that the company’s activities in Alberta would cost 12.8 billion dollars as apposed to the 7.3 billion dollars originally estimated due to rising labour costs.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

when you take that dispatch for straight time, who's pocketing your signing bonus?

Canadian Oil Draws World-Wide Mix of Workers - by Frank Langfitt, NPR
Companies find it difficult, however, to lure capable workers to a place where temperatures can plunge to 40 below zero. They offer employee incentives, like on-site work camps with steak dinners and satellite TV. The camp at Canadian Natural Resources has a Tim Horton's, Canada's wildly popular coffee chain.

"Some of our competition are offering signing bonuses in the order of $20,000 Canadian ($18,000 U.S.) …," says Neil Camarta, a project manager at Petro-Canada. "Some companies are offering an incentive package where, if you stay a couple of years, you get a bonus then, which may be in the range of $50,000 to $100,000."

Competition to find housing in Fort McMurray is just as fierce. The influx of workers has driven the rental vacancy rate to less than 0.3 percent. Mobile homes can run as high as $300,000.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Here Comes The Judge

ORDER No. S-063934
Pat Haggarty, Len Embree, Ken Lippett, Randy Smith,
Don Pengilly, Eugenio Zanotto, Mike Lang,
John Starkey and Bill Duck

Tony Heisterkamp and Frank Nolan

Before: The Honourable Mr. Justice D.F. TYSOE
Tuesday, the 11th Day of September, 2006

THE APPLICATION of the Defendants for a mandatory Injunction coming on for hearing at Vancouver, BC, on the 11th day of September, 2006; and on hearing G.F. Culhane, counsel for the Defendants, A.D. McDonell, QC, counsel for the plaintiffs; and on reading the material filed:

1. This court Orders that the Plaintiff members of the Executive Board of the British Columbia Provincial Council of Carpenters shall comply with the Constitution of the union by holding the annual Convention of the union at a date not later than 90 days after the 25th of July, 2006, at a hotel in Vancouver subject further, to the following conditions:

2. The Plaintiff Len Embree or his nominee shall call a meeting of the Executive Board forthwith upon service of the Order in accordance with the Constitution.

3. That all parties shall have liberty to apply.

4. The Secretary of the Union, the plaintiff Pat Haggarty or his nominee shall issue the call for a Convention in accordance with the Constitution.

5. The matters to be considered and disposed of at such Convention shall include the resolutions communicated to the Executive Board by the Statements of intent of the Local trade unions set out as Exhibit C to the Affidavit of Tony Heisterkamp filed herein.

6. Cost shall be in the Cause.


Entered Sep 12 2006 Vancouver Registry

The Injunction June 22, 2006
2006 BCSC 1033 Haggarty et al v. Heisterkamp et al

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Catalyst - eating your dinner for lunch

Island towns stare down Catalyst
Lefebure points out that the taxes represent only about one per cent of Catalyst's operating expenses, but they're the lifeblood of the communities that house the mills. Those communities, which have already endured sawmill closures, slowdowns in the fishing and mining industries and the loss of residents to more prosperous regions, say they just can't absorb the loss of millions in tax revenue.

Ken McRae, mayor of Port Alberni, said Catalyst just cut 60 jobs when it shut down the pulp facility in the mill there, and now is "suggesting if we don't want to lose more, we'd better do something."

Thursday, August 24, 2006

something rotten in the oil patch

Mould: Workers concerned about their safety - By RENATO GANDIA, Fort McMurray Today, Canada
Some camp workers staying at the Athabasca Lodge and Beaver River Lodge claim they are being left in the dark by the mould infestation in some buildings at the camps.

Mould was found months ago and PTI delayed responding to the situation, said James Mason and James Fletcher, union members who are employed with PTI.

PTI Group, which operates numerous camps in Fort McMurray and area, began addressing the mould problem in the building after Alberta Occupational Health and Safety inspected some of the rooms, the two said.

Our main concern is we don’t know what kind of health risk we have and how effective is their removal process,” said Mason, an electrician and member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

“We haven’t been told any information. In fact we are being left in the dark. We’re not being told the short-term and long-term health risk,” he said.

But Mason said he has seen PTI crews remove the walls infested with mould and some areas of the camp had been quarantined.

Still, he said, he wants to see results from the tests to find out what the health risks are.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Anonymous Speaks

Tim Thompson - Viewpoint - posted by Tim Thompson, Recording Secretary, Wage Delegate. Local 592, CEP. Port Alberni, B.C.
I am posting the recent comment from my last blog post (a long time ago) because I think it reflects the mood of the workforce at the paper mill. Personally, I am frustrated by all of this because it doesn't seem to matter to this company what we say or do or how hard we work. To me, most if not all of their integrity is gone (if they ever had any) and please, don't speak to me about business ethics. In Catalyst speak that is an oxymoron.
Anonymous Speaks: (click above for full text)
Port Alberni Punished due to corporate incompetence. Once again Port Alberni is hit with a shutdown. Obviously, the strategic direction of the company is flawed.

Monday, August 21, 2006

"King" Coles' "Pulp Fiction" agreement ain't worth the pulp it's inked on

Catalyst announces temporary shut-down of Port Alberni groundwood facility - Canada NewsWire
"Efficiency and quality programs have driven the cost of de-inked pulp down to the point where it is now part of an interim solution for our highest cost production at Port Alberni," said Ron Buchhorn, senior vice president, operations. "We know an indefinite shut-down is tough on the 60 employees and families affected by layoffs and we continue to work with our unions on options that can make production at the mill viable for the long haul."

Employees are still finding ways to streamline operations, drive out costs and work smart, all of which contributes to the $300 million in performance improvements achieved in the past three years. Even so, the factors that led to the permanent closure of our No. 3 paper machine earlier this year are still there. It will take broad stakeholder support if we are to continue to outpace competitors in meeting future customer requirements for the paper grades made at Port Alberni,' Buchhorn said."

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Man relives 'hell' in boiler

Survivor watched in horror as man baked to death - By RENATO GANDIA, Edmonton Sun, Canada
FORT MCMURRAY -- For about 40 minutes, carpenter apprentice Jeff McColl watched helplessly in unbearable heat as co-worker Michael Gauthier, 64, hanged limp in a harness inside a TransAlta boiler at the Suncor Energy site.

This was after almost two hours of being trapped inside the boiler the two were cleaning on Aug. 4.

At the same time, McColl was dealing with his own dehydration due to the heat and he was 'screaming for help.

'I was screaming for them to spray us with water from a fire hose. They never did,' McColl, 27, said from his hometown in Port Alberni, B.C.

McColl couldn't say what the temperature inside the boiler was, but 'it was the hottest I've ever been; it was hot as hell.'
for additional details see original article: Survivor's harrowing tale - Fort McMurray Today

read other articles: TransAlta boiler - Google News

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Canadian Natural - Labour Agreements

Canadian Natural - Labour Agreements
Horizon Project :: HCML :: Labour Agreements
Horizon Construction Management Ltd. (HCML) continues to work closely with various unions.
The Project collective agreement can be viewed on the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) website:
Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC)
The Construction Labour Relations of Alberta (CLRA) website contains the Pending Building Trade Collective agreement:

Construction Labour Relations of Alberta (CLRA)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Final Edition - On the Level to close

Final Edition - On the Level to close
(available as original hard copy Adobe PDF download)
After more than 42 years of continuous publication, On the Level will windup operations with this edition

The BC Provincial Council of Carpenters has decided to close down ON THE LEVEL with the July 2006 edition. Citing changes in the organization and financial difficulties caused by the withdrawal of participation by the Carpentry Workers Benefit and Pension Plans as well as some Locals, the Council has laid off the editor and decided to close the office.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Saturday, August 12, 2006

"everything failed"

Worker dead after boiler accident was one month from retirement - CBC Edmonton
He was one of two workers cleaning the inside of a boiler on Aug. 4 when a motor on the scaffolding failed, trapping the men inside.

Gauthier's family says he was overcome by heat as he dangled from his safety harness for an hour before being rescued.

"Why did it take everyone so long to get him out?" son René Gauthier asked.

"He was in an extremely hot environment for way too long and then when that came to a point where he needed to get out, there was nobody there to get him out. The machinery failed, everything failed."

Friday, August 11, 2006

A job to die for

Worker dies after being trapped while cleaning boiler - CBC News
A man is dead following a workplace accident at Suncor Energy's plant near Fort McMurray in northern Alberta.

Two workers were cleaning a boiler operated by TransAlta on Aug. 4 when a motor on the scaffolding failed, trapping the men for an unknown period, said Chris Chodan, a spokesman with Alberta's Workplace Health and Safety.
Workplace Accident Victim Identified - 630 CHED
A 64-year-old man who died after a workplace accident at Fort McMurray's Suncor plant has been identified.
Michael Gauthier of Port Alberni, B-C, was cleaning a boiler at the Poplar Creek Power Station on August 4th when the scaffolding they were on broke.
Man dies cleaning boiler - Fort McMurray Today
Alberta Occupational Health and Safety is investigating and it has ordered TransAlta -- which operates and maintains the boiler for Suncor -- to assess the hazards of cleaning it, to ensure workers are properly trained, to certify equipment and to create emergency response and rescue plans.

Clearwater Welding and Suncor were also ordered to address safety issues.

Note to "Airmiles" MacNeil:

Work in Alberta, bunk in N.W.T., mayor suggests - CBC North
Martselos said that kind of demand might prompt people to consider Fort Smith, just a 45-minute plane flight on an existing route from Fort McMurray. He made a similar pitch to the diamond mines and attracted some families to his community for those projects.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Alberta boom's cruel paradox & Klein's 'dinosaur farts'

Alberta boom's cruel paradox
THE DOWNSIDE - Homeless newcomers, kids doing dangerous jobs, packed hospitals

Drive the deteriorating serpentine two-lane corridor of Highway 63 to Fort McMurray and your car narrowly misses oncoming semi-trailers, trucks and wide-loads laden with oilfield storage tanks. It's known as a death highway with scores of accidents and fatalities. Two oilfield workers died recently when a logging truck spilled its load, piercing their oncoming minivan.

During the first quarter of 2006, there were 25,900 more people in Alberta, the highest first-quarter increase yet. In Calgary, where the population hit the one-million mark last month, 100 newcomers arrive daily.

Developers nail up 50 new homes a day but can't keep up. The average house price is $400,000 for a basic model.

Oilsands boom overwhelming Fort McMurray: mayor
Blake, the mayor of the Wood Buffalo municipality at the heart of Alberta's exploding oilsands development, said Monday the provincial government and the energy industry must start paying to mitigate the impact in the Fort McMurray area or consider putting on the brakes.

Klein pushes security of energy supply to U.S.
Several U.S. legislators agreed with Klein, and said increased oil production in the province's oil sands will mean more oil for America.

Klein slams Gore comments attacking Alta. oilsands
Klein has stirred controversy in the past by rejecting scientific data suggesting industrial pollution is one of the leading causes of global warming.

He has even said global warming trends that occurred millions of years ago may have been caused by 'dinosaur farts.'

Thursday, August 03, 2006

CMAW: it's more than just CEP Local Moon Unit 3000

Vote No to CEP affiliation! You have not had a chance to vote on CMAW officers and yet you have the third president in 2 years. You have not voted on a CMAW constitution and the piece of crap that Coles cloned isn't worth the pulp it's printed on. You have read that CMAW will be under the CEP constitution by fall yet Coles is trying to resuscitate this aborted mess he fused together out of the BC Carpenters - after throwing out the Shipbuilders - and after having Frankenburped up a mail-order bride called Local 470 to run under the "Pulp Fictionized" JV Driver forced labour camp agreement; and in lieu of a constitution he wants to lock-step us into a made-by-Coles version of McCarron's 33 By-laws instead. He tossed this hair-ball of his into a pot and serves it up as CEP Local Unit 3000, which sounds like a Frank Zappa spawn, and hopes the whole thing won't get regurgitated before the CEP Convention this fall where he has no opposition to becoming Queen for a Day of CEP la-la-land. Vote No to CEP assimilation and domination. That's my perspective on what's happening on the long march to Canadian Autonomy, what's yours?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Canadian Natural Resources Limited Announces Second Quarter 2006 Update on the Progress of the Horizon Oil Sands Project

CCNMatthews (press release), Canada
Our labour strategy, predicated on a Managed Open Site, has accessed a broad workforce including on site labour affiliations such as Alberta's traditional Building Trade Unions, the Christian Labour Association of Canada, Non-unionized contractors, Overburden Operating Engineers, and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. The fly-in / fly-out program combined with our world-class camp facilities, is successfully attracting new workers to the oil sands. In June we commenced weekly flights to cities in Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Quebec in order to access skilled Canadian workers from other regions of Canada. This dynamic and flexible contracting approach coupled with a higher degree of off-site modularization than has previously been achieved by oil sands developers, has resulted in a change to our expected labour curves as non-critical path contracts are managed for cost. As such, in early July we had in excess of 2,500 workers, supervisors and employees on site and we now expect that this number will ramp to between 5,000 and 6,000 in mid-2007.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Canadian Natural to Add Horizon Workers

Canadian Natural to Add Horizon Workers - Houston Chronicle, United States
In more cost-cutting moves, the company is making parts for the oilsands development using modular building in Edmonton and elsewhere. It is also flying skilled workers in weekly from Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland to meet labor shortages, and using a mix of union and non-union labor on the site.

In addition, Canadian Natural expects to have between 5,000 and 6,000 workers on the project by mid-2007, compared with about 2,500 today.

Fort Mac Attack

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sapping our energy

Sapping our energy - By Neil Waugh, EdmontonSun
Canadian Natural Resources Limited is now predicting its workforce at the Horizon oilsands project will “ramp to between 5,000 and 6,000” by the middle of next year.

A deal signed with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union which will see construction workers airlifted in from Quebec.

Old "King" Coles

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Screw Driver

In the "I wish I'd thought of that" department, this graphic was submitted yesterday:

with this text: "many Elk Falls employees were observed wearing this sticker on their hardhats"

On a further note, CMAW EST (or Mr. President as he is known on Kingsway) Jan Noster showing up at Local 2300's union meeting last night and volunteered to answer some rather pointed questions about the direction our union is going. When asked by this erstwhile reporter whether or not affiliating with CMAW is good for our Local considering that it is the Allied Hydro Agreement that fills out our dance card, His Nibs responded with true presidential candor: "Well, Doc, ya know, that depends on what your definition of is is." After several hours of such good-natured banter the general consensus reveals we seem to be stuck in some weird limbo between the nearly moribund (but not legally dead) BCPC, the much ballyhooed but lately reviled CMAW and what is revealed as our next incarnation as automatons in CEP 3000.

I explained to CMAW 1995 Prez Randy Smith, who was also present at our meeting, and who did not appreciate some of the comments that are posted on this weblog and assumed I gleefully preview each and say "oh boy, here's a good one, let's put it on the blog" - that no, comments do not go through me, they are automatic and while I can remove them (and do admit to being biased), I do not censor comments or edit articles other than my own. I did give him a specific example of a comment that would be removed should it appear, but hope that the majority of our members will remember the oath they took upon joining our union: "to be charitable in judgement of our brother and sister members."

CEP VP Dave "King" Coles is an exception of course, and a deserving target for revulsion and satire as he has muddied the union waters, meddled in our affairs and divided our union for his personal aggrandizement and is as bad as McCarron for denying the members a voice.

fraternally, dave livingston, CMAW Local Unit 2300, elected warden BC Carpenters Local 2300 and member CEP Canadian Freelance Union

Monday, July 17, 2006

Old Guard - Glorious Failure

Don "AirMiles" MacNeil and Dave "ill Jong" Coles celebrate their Glorious Failure of saving pulp mills on the backs of the workers.

Meanwhile Josh Coles pens the following words in his "Great Leap" Report on Organizing for the BC Carpenters Convention that was - suprprise - cancelled:

Instead we need a major policy shift and massive structural changes directly focused on addressing union retention and union recruitment.

We do need to plant seeds for the future but, more importantly, we need fresh bodies, coming into and staying with our union.

Inform members of their Local Union's attrition rate, so as to blunt their opposition to drawing in new members.

Open doors further to non-union skilled workers who may not have "tickets" but can excel with non-union contractors.

In heavily non-union areas, pay a large bonus to a member (e.g.: $500) for recruiting a new skilled member who completes a year of membership.

Develop "industry poaching" techniques outside of construction. Focusing on skilled worker layoffs - such as in the pulp and paper industry, for example - brings in high quality skilled members.

The strategy of our union engaging non-union and CLAC contractors in meaningful and value-added relationships through top-down organizing is a concept being proven in BC and Alberta today. For the past six years we have reported to Convention that we should try this approach, and this past year we took the leap with JVD Mill Services and others.

graphics and commentary by Doc Livingston, founding member CEP Canadian Freelance Union

Thursday, July 13, 2006

2006 BCSC 1033 Haggarty et al v. Heisterkamp et al

click for full text: 2006 BCSC 1033 Haggarty et al v. Heisterkamp et al
Haggarty et al. v. Heisterkamp et al.,
[17]            The test for an interlocutory injunction having been met, the question that remains to be determined is the scope of the injunction, in particular its temporal scope.
[18]            The plaintiffs ask for an injunction pending a trial of this action.  But that asks too much.  A trial of this action could easily take place as late as three years from now.  If the injunction were to endure for that length of time it would interfere with the defendants running for office again.  It would assist in the further deferrals of the annual convention, and that, legitimately, is of great concern to the defendants.  In my view it would not be right to preserve the status quo for that length of time since it would, in effect, provide the plaintiffs something to which they are not entitled under the Union's constitution.  That is not the purpose of an injunction.  Further, that would not serve the interests of the parties and most importantly the Union membership who are entitled to have their Union governed by the rules of their constitution.  The availability of summary trial is not an answer to this since the case might or might not be one appropriate for summary trial.
[19]            On the other hand, I do not have in front of me a cross application by the defendants for a mandatory injunction requiring the plaintiffs to call an annual convention.
[20]            I conclude, therefore, that the appropriate temporal scope of the injunction should be four months.  The time required to requisition and hold a convention is, I am told, three months.  Four months allows this to be done with a one month margin of safety.  It also provides sufficient time for other motions to be made to this Court, if necessary, such as one for a mandatory injunction if the convention is not called.
[21]            Accordingly, the requested injunction is granted, but it is to expire at midnight on October 22, 2006.
[22]            Costs shall be in the cause.

“E. Myers, J.”
The Honourable Mr. Justice E. Myers

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

CEP 1123 Report: "So Screw JVD and to hell with CEP 470."

1st Vice Presidents Report - June 2006
1st Vice Report

Click on the CEP Logo to Return to CEP 1123's Home Page

June 2006

I too would like to thank all those that took the time to attend the May 23rd special meeting, including Brothers Coles, and Hughf, who were here at the request of the membership to explain their actions and involvement in the "Pulp Fiction Agreement" between JVDriver and CEP 470.

The meeting began with Brother Hughf giving a thorough recount of the history leading up to the development of our Code of Ethics language including a lengthy slide presentation outlining the CEP / CMAW strategy to rid the BC Pulp & Paper sector of CLAC, after which the floor was opened for questions. Speaker after speaker, some more colourful than others, brought up legitimate concerns about the JVD agreement. Won’t our maintenance and labouring workforce slowly be replaced by less expensive contract employees? Won’t the Company stockpile work for JVD to do on shutdowns? Won’t this lead to a travelling road show?

Not to worry, said Brother Coles. "We have a commitment from Catalyst that Article 25 of the CA is unaltered and continues to be in force", the words sliding off his tongue so smoothly, it was apparent he had been practicing this sell job for quite some time. "It’s your collective agreement and it’s up to you to enforce it", he concluded.

Brother Coles assurances that having JVDriver as the "contractor of choice" would ultimately result in less contracting out rang hollow with those in attendance. "Bullshit" was the response I recall hearing most frequently. Many of the crowd still remember the Company’s lines in 1998. "Flexibility won’t mean a downsizing of the maintenance workforce, in fact it will result in less contracting out and more work being performed by our own crews". Yeah Right – how’s that working out around the province?

Personally, I started to get a little bit of satisfaction when Brother Coles finally admitted that the JVD agreement does have an enabling clause in it. "But, we will only use it to enable up" he said. "It wouldn’t make any sense for us to enable down"

Somewhere about half way through the meeting, Brother Coles realizing that there wasn’t anyone in the hall naive enough to buy any of what he’d been pushing started answering questions with "We’ll agree to disagree, and then in a few years we’ll see who’s right".

In the end people stopped asking questions. Coles & Co left town. Some members left, feeling a little better having had the opportunity to vent, but most continued to feel as they have all along, that we’ve been screwed by our own Union.

One of the only things I agreed with from their presentation was the wording on brother Hughf’s final slide which concluded – "It’s our work and our future". By that I mean - CEP1123’s work and future, not CEP 470’s or JVDrivers. Our local is the one certified to perform all the maintenance and repair work on the Elk Falls site and we will take whatever steps necessary to ensure it stays that way. So Screw JVD and to hell with CEP 470.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Dave "Pulp Fiction" Coles has become the tired old face of Canadian corporate unionism...

The Pulper - (from the June 2006 The Pulper, CEP Local 1129 in PDF format)
Campaign in Construction
Just below is the text of a bulletin received from CEP Western Region Vice President Dave Coles. He has asked that we send it along to members.

It should be noted that both of the events reported in this bulletin are causing a large amount of comment, much of it negative, among building trades unions in BC and Alberta. The Pulper doesn’t have the time or space to analyze these developments in this issue, but watch for more on this in future issues.

blog note: the text of the bulletin referred to above can also be read here

Coles Stepping Up, As Payne Steps Down?
Members to Choose CEP Convention Delegate(s)
Brother Brian Payne, who has been CEP national president for six years, has announced he will not be seeking re-election. CEP Western Region Vice President Dave Coles has thrown his hat into the ring as a candidate for the top spot. Which means that other members (traditionally all national reps) will be vying for the VP job.

blog note: the following was part of an article posted at a Local 592, CEP. Port Alberni, B.C. weblog relating to Coles' "Pulp Fiction" Survival Agreement
Tim Thompson - Viewpoint: Forward Look Article - April 2006
"The best thing that could happen would be for a better candidate to run against Dave Coles at the Constitutional Convention in the fall. Hopefully a good candidate will step forward and be successful."
and this is currently posted at CEP 1123 Online:
VP Coles Attends Special Meeting ...
Plenty of Questions - Not Many Answers...
"The sad thing is we may not have any friends left in the trade union movement if Brother Coles and Hughf keep undercutting our brothers and sisters in the union movement."
PPWC letter to Dave Coles, CEP: "Dear Brother Coles;
PPWC Local #2 Executive and Membership are absolutely in shock and awe that you and some of your supporters would stoop so low and undermine both CEP and PPWC Labour Agreements. In your quest to grow your membership you formed CEP Local #470 and signed on to a much inferior contract."

Friday, June 30, 2006

"it's hard to change a leopard's spots"

The third time's charm as they say, so the third president of CMAW in a year (with no vote of the members) is Jan Noster. Jan is shown here in a photo from the 1999 Carpenter magazine where he was the UBCJA International's Organizer of the year for Alberta.
Jan has had quite a career so far; below is a humerous excerpt from a recent Alberta LRB decision concerning Mr. Noster and the Alberta Regional Council of Carpenters:
Alberta LRB Decision November 28, 2005 GE-04860
Was their decision to deny him membership unreasonable? Put into context with the known histories of the parties, this is almost a rhetorical question. The Respondents had a legitimate concern he could have turned his talents against them in the same fashion he fought against CLAC. They had cause to be concerned he would attempt to sow dissatisfaction, perhaps leading to dissension, among the membership of Local 1325 and the Regional Council. They also had cause for concern that Mr. Noster would advocate for the separation of Local 1325 and the Regional Council from the International Union. After all, to coin another phrase used by Counsel for the Respondents, it's hard to change a leopard's spots.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

CEP 1123 Online: VP Coles Attends Special Meeting ...

CEP 1123 Online
VP Coles Attends Special Meeting ...
Plenty of Questions - Not Many Answers...
As most of you know we had a Special Meeting on May 23rd with brothers Dave Coles and Bob Hughf in attendance. We invited them and offered them an opportunity to give their explanation for the CEP 470 Agreement to our membership. We had an excellent turn out from our members and I would like to thank everyone who came and expressed their opinions of the Agreement.

Brother Hughf gave everyone an overview of some of the history of contractors and the Code of Ethics in the Pulp & Paper industry. For me it was nice to see that in some aspects both Bob and Dave at least now have a partial understanding of what the Code of Ethics means in our Collective Agreements because it was quite apparent at Wage Caucus they had no idea what the language meant. They certainly did not alleviate any of the concerns from the membership that this deal will have a negative impact on the Code of Ethics.

The feeling from the membership was quite strong that this is bad deal for everyone concerned. There was a lot of frustration over how the deal was developed and the fact that it did not involve any on the Catalyst locals input or opinions. I think it is safe to say given the reaction from all the Catalyst locals that happened intentionally. There was definitely a lot of anger over the potential impact this is going to have on our members from both the trades and labourers. It is nice to see that people are taking the time to understand the impact this could have on them and the union movement.

Both Dave and Bob explained their positions and reasons for the agreement and tried to alleviate some of our concerns and fears of the whole deal. I don’t believe they were able to achieve that as many of our members still believe that the deal is bad for both our local and the trade union movement. Dave consistently answered all of those questions with "I don’t believe that but you are entitled to your opinion and only time will tell who is right". He believes the deal is good for our local, the CEP and the union movement and that over time we will all see a benefit from this agreement. I am not so sure and I only hope we all have the chance to still be employed under decent collective agreements while watching how all this develops over the years.

The great thing about the union movement is that we don’t always have to agree with what the leadership tells us. If I know only one thing, it’s that this local will continue to fight to protect the members in local 1123 & 630 no matter what inferior agreement is signed with any union or non union group. The sad thing is we may not have any friends left in the trade union movement if Brother Coles and Hughf keep undercutting our brothers and sisters in the union movement.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

"Rump" group wins in BC Supreme Court

Judge rules Provincial Council cannot rule by adjournment.
Members democracy rights upheld.
Judge Myers decision to follow - (check comments for more info)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Shades of McCarron: vote of delegate majority called "illegal coup d’état" (as compared to a legal coup d’état?)

CMAW – United and Strong
Open letter to the membership

CMAW members,

Over the past few weeks there has been a power struggle within the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters. The Council is the last remnant of our ties to the International and was set to close so that your Canadian union CMAW could take its place. A founding convention for CMAW was scheduled for June 7th in Vancouver.

On that day, a rump group from some local unions representing a minority of the membership but having a majority of delegates in the room, adjourned the convention before it got going and re-convened on their own as the Provincial Council two days later. They are now claiming to have fired Provincial Council President Len Embree and Secretary Treasurer Pat Haggarty, even though these duly elected leaders have about a year left on their 3-year term.

This group does not say they represent CMAW – they only make claims on the Provincial Council. This illegal coup d’état of the Provincial Council does not affect CMAW or its operations and both the BCPCC and CMAW elected leadership are confident this internal scrimmage will not affect representation for our more than 5000 CMAW members and their pension and benefit plans.

Some people want power, while we want progress. It is time for us to go forward with our fight for Canadian autonomy not turn back to the past. CMAW and the BC Provincial Council belong to the members, not to a group of some 50 dissidents, none of whom are from Local 1995, our largest Local Union.

We will keep you updated.

Len Embree
Pat Haggarty

PS: Click here for the letter this group sent telling employers they are now in charge. Click here for our response.
blog note: both links open as pdf downloads

Thursday, June 15, 2006

"...I think the honourable thing to do would be to resign." - 2003 Convention Archives

BCPC Convention Opening Address by Len Embree, April 10, 2003 excerpts:

"We've got decisions to make at this Convention; the resolutions are there. Even (United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America General President) Douglas J. McCarron had to admit, under cross examination, that if this convention passes resolutions and gives the officers and the Executive Board direction, we're obligated to follow them. Out of the great man's mouth.

So, whatever this group decides, and that we take out to the members and they decide, not only will we support it, we're obligated to carry it out. If we don't do that, then I think the honourable thing to do would be to resign.

I think our membership is absolutely determined to govern their own affairs, to elect their own officers, to vote on any mergers - those are the principles we started with six or seven years ago - and we will do that with the support and help, probably, of a number of Canadian unions. And I don't see anything but success down the line.

So I welcome you to the Convention. I am looking forward to the debate. And I'm looking forward to the results of this coming year."

Tuesday, June 13, 2006



WHEREAS: The BC Provincial Council of Carpenters and their Local Unions have been in a struggle for autonomy from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters of America and the 33 mandatory bylaws; and

WHEREAS: The BC Provincial Council of Carpenters has negotiated a collective agreement with CEP Local 470 and JVD Mill Services, which severely undercuts our present collective agreement with CLRA:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the delegates to the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters' 62nd Convention demand the immediate resignation of the President of the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters.



WHEREAS: The Resident Officers of the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters do not have any authority to sign any documents without full disclosure to the entire Executive Board of the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the Resident Officers are disavowed the ability to sign any documents without full disclosure to the entire Executive Board of the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Betrayal of the Union by the Resident Officers

Resolutions Passed at the 62nd Convention BCPC Carpenters

WHEREAS: The Resident Officers have chosen not to conduct referendum ballots within the time frame allowed by the Constitution and Bylaws; and

WHEREAS: This is the first time in the history of this organization that the Resident Officers have chosen to ignore the Constitution and Bylaws that the membership of this union has voted on; and

WHEREAS: The shame the Resident Officers have brought upon the once respected offices of President and Secretary-Treasurer:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the Resident Officers of the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters be removed from office immediately.


WHEREAS: The Executive Board is responsible for the supervision of any organizing work under the jurisdiction of the Council, including supervision of any organizers employed by the council; and

WHEREAS: Those organizers who are employees of the Council have negotiated and promoted substandard agreements on behalf of other unions that are harmful to our own members; and

WHEREAS: The Resident Officers are responsible for directing the activities of the Council employees:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the Resident Officers tender their immediate resignations.


WHEREAS: The President and Financial Secretary of the Provincial Council of Carpenters have signed off on the amended Trust Document concerning the pension Plan; and

WHEREAS: The President and Financial Secretary of the Provincial Council of Carpenters neglected to inform the members of the Executive Board of the Provincial Council of Carpenters of this fact:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the delegates to the 62nd Convention of the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters demand the immediate resignation of the President and Financial Secretary of the Provincial Council of Carpenters

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Roast or Toast? A Convention editorial

Resident officers have approximately two days to decide their legacy - heroes of the struggle for Canadian autonomy or King Coles' toadies who tried to transform our union into a cult of insufficient personalities. While time and tide may have kept the Council President away, there is no defensible excuse for the actions of the Financial Secretary-Treasurer when faced with a majority of elected delegates representing a majority of locals that showed up for the BCPC Convention prepared to engage the desperate few who tried to hang on to power by manipulating the Resolutions Committee. It became clear to even the Kingsway gang that the voices of the majority was gathered to democratically unseat the pompous pilots who have been at the helm during the disastrous flirtation with the industry sub-standard JV Screwdriver agreement, also known as the Pulp Fiction Survival Agreement. Haggarty's limp-wristed attempt to illegally cancel the convention at the 11th hour while delegates were already assembled in Vancouver is a new low in corporate unionism.

It remains to be seen whether the turfed Resident Officers will do the right thing, or continue to imitate the sleaziness of McCarron's International. I strongly suggest that the Resident Officers have their resignations handed in at the office by the end of shift on Monday, June 12.

If not, then their legacy may no longer reflect the long march to Canadian autonomy, but rather be characterized by featherbedding, favouritism, partisanship and ignominy.

signed dave livingston, carpenter delegate

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Taking Back Our Union

As the assembly opened this morning, George Jalava went to the microphone and said "Brother Chair, I rise to a question of priviledge affecting the assembly."

Bill Duck as the chair recognized the member at the microphone. It was not without some serious shucking and jiving by the Chair and Haggarty but the following motion was read (several times actually):

"Brother Chair, I move that this assembly adjourn and that the Executive Board unanimously approve a Constitution which will in turn go to the entire membership for approval by a referendum vote prior to reconvening in April of 2007."

Other members attempted to make comments but Brother Duck admonished them that they were not recognized and asked for silence as the Chair and CEP usurpers attempted to evade the inevitable. A standing vote was called and by a majority vote of 53 to 45 it was decided to adjourn the assembly until a constitution was taken to the membership for a referendum vote.

This was truly democracy in action at its finest. The membership through the elected delegates took back our union to a rallying chant of "vote vote vote" reminiscent of when the lights went off on McCarron and a clear message was sent to King Coles that his undemocratic dictates were not going to fly with the Carpenters.

Haggarty was heard to call for the mics to be cut off and he made a cutting motion across his throat as he attempted to wrest control back to the CMAW/CEP pretenders to no avail. How like McCarron he appeared; he was unsuccessful as well in his blatant attempt to thwart democracy.

After the assembly left the meeting room, this question was asked: What is your reaction to observing union democracy at its finest?

"It's the first time I've felt we've had a union in 10 years." Steve Borho, delegate

"We will take our direction from the membership. They are the basis of union democracy." Paul Wilkinson, delegate

"Fu*k off, Doc" by Jan Noster, organizer

"Yahoo." Tony Heisterkamp, delegate

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

CEP'd On

click for larger image

"CMAW is currently a CEP affiliate. A new affiliation agreement is being negotiated that is expected to bring CMAW into full CEP membership this fall. This means their members will pay full per capita dues and will be governed by the CEP Constitution."

Monday, May 29, 2006

Hey Coles, you didn't mention the Double Bubble concessions in exchange for Air Miles...

How Canadian Natural Manages Costs And Unions At Horizon - Nickle’s Daily Oil Bulletin Website
*Canadian Natural persuaded the province to allow a site-wide labour agreement which would apply to all workers on its oilsands project. The Horizon leadership then finalized the specifics of that site-wide agreement with the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) and non-union contractors, while the traditional Alberta Building Trades Council has so far refused to sign a deal.

* The site-wide labour agreement does permit contractors to import foreign workers if they are unable to ensure supply from the Canadian market. To meet the anticipated needs of the oilsands, the federal and provincial governments established the Foreign Worker Program. If the need arises, Horizon's strategy of small construction packages makes it much easier to efficiently deploy and supervise work crews who don't speak English.
Enough Canadians may not be available. In April, Horizon management announced that a Chinese-Canadian joint venture, SSEC-Zachary JV, intends to bring in 225 workers this fall to erect bitumen and synthetic oil storage tanks. The vessels will be fabricated and transported to the northern site by Canadian contractors, with SSEC-Zachary handling on-site assembly.

Foreign labour or not, Canadian Natural is apparently paying competitive wages at Horizon. Given the tight market for skilled trades, the company has little choice. Lynn Zeidler, Horizon Construction Management’s vice-president in charge of construction management and labour relations for the megaproject, said some of the traditional building trades union agreements do offer more double overtime hours for long shifts. In exchange for that concession, the workforce on the Horizon Project can commute free of charge by air to and from their homes from across Canada.

Daily flights are already offered from Calgary and Edmonton, with East Coast charters slated to be in service shortly. Additional points in southern British Columbia will follow. “This benefit enables employees and their families to live on a more predictable lifestyle with significant regular time off,” Zeidler commented. Workers can also avoid the notoriously traffic-choked highway between Fort McMurray and Edmonton.

Unions have failed to present a common front on this project. Last week, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) announced that it would represent workers on the Horizon project, in part so workers who wish to be organized have an alternative to CLAC. Earlier, Edmonton Local 720 of the ironworkers union – a member of the Alberta Building Trades Council -- broke ranks and signed its own deal with Horizon Construction Management. Others are likely to follow.


Pulp and Paper Locals Seek Answers
A group of Western Region local unions has established a special committee to look into the state of the pulp and paper industry. (Story)

Something new is happening!
The largest organizing campaign in the history of CEP's Western Region is underway and our target is the construction industry. (Details)

Key Role for CEP in Oil Sands
CEP has signed a landmark agreement with the company that is building the new Horizon oil sands plant near Fort McMurray Alberta. (Story, Photos)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

"If we don't get to vote on this, turn out the lights"

From Dave Coles, Western Region Vice President
Please find attached a bulletin regarding CEP construction organizing. This bulletin is for distribution to your membership. Thank you.

The largest organizing campaign in the history of CEP’s Western Region is underway and our target is the construction industry. Our goal is to become a dominant player in construction by implementing a new approach to union organizing.

WHY CONSTRUCTION? The potential is huge, with more than 20,000 trades people working on non-union job sites across the West.
Unlike many industrial sectors in which CEP is already established, construction promises strong growth over the next 20 to 30 years, particularly in B.C. and Alberta. It is estimated that the industry will need almost 200 thousand new skilled trades workers over the next decade.
  • Construction is labour intensive and has far less potential for automation than most other industries.

  • Organizing in construction will give us increasing control over contracting-out of upgrading and maintenance at pulp and paper mills where our members already work.

  • A strong presence in construction will increase our ability to organize in other sectors.

  • WHAT’S THE PLAN? CEP has implemented a new strategy for construction organizing:
  • We will represent all trades people working on job sites. Traditionally, each trade has been represented by a different union.

  • Our “all employees” approach will offer cost savings to construction employers while maintaining and improving the wages, benefits and working conditions of trades people.

  • Organizing will be strategically targeted at mega-projects, pulp and paper maintenance contractors and general construction in B.C.

  • WHAT IS CMAW? CMAW is the Construction, Maintenance and Allied Workers bargaining council. It is a joint council of CEP Local 470 and the B.C. Carpenters Union.
  • CMAW holds more than 150 certifications with construction employers in British Columbia.

  • CMAW is currently a CEP affiliate. A new affiliation agreement is being negotiated that is expected to bring CMAW into full CEP membership this fall. This means their members will pay full per capita dues and will be governed by the CEP Constitution.

  • In addition to construction projects where it represents only carpenters, CMAW also holds a number of permanent, “all employee” certifications.

  • CMAW has provided the B.C. Carpenters Union with the ability to transfer their certifications to a Canadian union, enabling carpenters to achieve their long-standing goal of gaining autonomy from their parent international union, based in the U.S.

  • CAN WE UNIONIZE MEGAPROJECTS? Our efforts are underway and have already produced results. CEP has a major role in the construction of the Horizon oil sands project in Alberta.
  • Horizon is an $11 billion dollar development being constructed by Canadian Natural Resources Limited in the tar sands region near Fort McMurray.

  • CEP has signed a contract covering up to 700 workers in all trades who will build the extractor component at the megaproject.

  • CEP has recently brokered a deal with Horizon and the Quebec labour federation’s construction wing (FTQ) that will see hundreds of Quebec tradespeople hired on for the project.

  • By organizing workers during the project’s construction phase, CEP is better positioned to organize plant workers when Horizon goes into operation. We currently represent about two thousand workers at the Suncor oil sands plant north of Fort McMurray.

  • In addition, Edmonton-based CEP Local 777 has organized upgrading and maintenance workers with JVD Mill Services and other oil sands project work.

    Rather than leaving upgrading and maintenance construction to non-union workers, we have aggressively pursued a strategy that brings the work into CEP.
  • CEP Local 470 is now representing trades people employed by JVD Mill Services, a firm that specializes in upgrading and maintenance construction at mills owned by Catalyst Paper Corporation, where thousands of CEP members are operating the mills.

  • This gives us “wall-to-wall” jurisdiction over workers at mills in Powell River, Port Alberni, Campbell River and Crofton. Over time, it will reduce contracting-out.

  • A new, five year contract guarantees more work and employment stability for our members. It provides better wages and working conditions for tradespeople compared to their previous non-union situation.

  • Because of our efforts, more tradespeople will be able to remain in or near their home communities, rather than having to travel to Alberta or other locations to earn a decent living.

    Just as other unions are free to organize in the paper, energy and communications sectors, CEP has the right to expand in construction. We have targeted non-union workers only and it is not our intent to take members away from any other CLC affiliated union.

    Construction organizing represents a bold new step for CEP. New members with strong collective agreements will bolster our numbers, previously decimated by plant closures and downsizing in our traditional sectors. It will ensure that CEP continues to provide excellent services to its members in the coming decades. Organizing is the life blood of any union and in CEP, our future is bright!