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!

    Saturday, May 20, 2006

    Google cache: jv driver clac cmaw coles cep suck

    Re: CLAC
    Not only does it suck there is more. This is a quote from frank Robertson in the News @ Nine. "The strike brought a understanding that says “the code clearly applies to all construction, maintenance and repair work that takes place on the mill site and based upon the 1994 LRB decision from Local 592, the work is ours to give away.’ The preceding quote is taken from a letter from CEP National Rep Dave Coles to Local 1133, dated August 17,2004. Ok, so the work is ours to give away or sell if you will, as long as the Code of Ethics language is followed." The Code of Ethics was not followed, the CLAC contractor was not held to the minimum pay required under the Code, and this allowed JV Driver to underbid the CMAW contractors. The irony of this is that when Canfor approched our sister local 603 across the river to do the same they refused and Canfor backed away. I would like to think that the protest that we here at Local 1133 had a little to do with that/


    jv driver clac cmaw coles cep suck - Google Search

    Thursday, May 18, 2006

    The Pulper May 2006

    The Pulper - CEP 1129 May 2006 Issue
    Do We Support Task Force On P&P Industry Crisis?
    We have finally received from the CEP Western Region Office a guesstimate on how much it cost each member to fund a membership-based task force on the crisis in Canada’s pulp and paper industry.

    Over the next few months, it is supposed to come up with some recommendations for how the CEP Western Region can combat the growing number of partial and total mill closures in the pulp and paper industry. (For more information, see the April issue of The Pulper.) Dates for the meetings in question have not yet been set.

    But the Western Region office has designated two staff members to help facilitate and support the task force, once it gets going.

    Also, on May 8 Western Region Vice President Dave Coles sent out a survey to all Locals seeking basic information the task force can use in its deliberations. Your Executive will be filling this survey out and returning it by the May 31 deadline.

    Monday, May 15, 2006

    PPWC letter to Dave Coles, CEP

    The Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers of Canada
    Box 370, 1616 Chaplin Street, Crofton, British Columbia V0R 1R0
    Phone: (250) 246-9272 Fax: (250) 246-1290

    May 8th, 2006

    Dave Coles, Vice President
    CEP Western Region
    540-1199 W. Pender
    Vancouver, BC V6E 2R1

    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. The Catalyst Corp. who we work for plans on using Mill Maintenance Contractor JV Drivers (Local #470) for most of their maintenance and construction needs. Although JVD has not reached that potential yet and we hope they never do, you have set the stage. What you have in fact done, is add one more possibly very large sector of the Pulp & Paper Industry workforce with what you call a Survival Agreement. By watering down another agreement, the standards of living we have worked so hard to achieve will face tremendous pressure at our next set of negotiations.

    Whether you agree or not, our opinion is that there are many other options to explore in the industry to get cost out. Erosion of our Wages and Benefits are not necessary and will not make or break this industry. Perhaps you should spend more time promoting all Unions, this is called Solidarity. You should be focusing on forest practices in BC that is where our future is. Oh yes and so much for supporting full time stable employment in the various communities that we live in.

    Lloyd Kelly, President
    P.P.W.C. Local #2


    Via Fax:
    All CEP Locals & National
    All PPWC Locals & National

    Via E-mail: PPWC Local #2 Executive

    Alberta tradespeople idle as northern project imports workers

    Plying their trades - By NEIL WAUGH, EDMONTON SUN
    Since Syncrude's massive EU-1 project is all but wrapped up, my phone has been ringing with (bleeped)-off Alberta tradesmen wondering why a reported 200 foreign temporary workers are on the OPTI/Nexen Long Lake project south of Fort McMurray - including an apparent recent airlift of electrical workers and welders.
    But it's also clear that the house of labour is deeply divided. The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union - like the Ironworkers before them - broke ranks with the Alberta Building Trades, and signed on with the controversial Horizon project to give workers 'another legitimate choice' on the big job. It's believed they are going to concentrate on the key trades of pipefitters, operating engineers and carpenters.

    Now there are reports that the carpenters are about to bolt from the fractured AFL - which bills itself as 'Alberta's largest labour organization' - after a heated council meeting last Friday.

    'They're cutting off their nose to spite their face,' McGowan said about the angry nail benders.

    Hey MacNeil, I see you plagiarize, are you also trading OT for Air Miles....?

    click for full media release: CEP Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada - WESTERN REGION
    CEP reaches deal to work at Horizon
    Union to fill hundreds of jobs on $11-billion project

    For immediate release
    May 11, 2006

    EDMONTON – The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union has inked a collective agreement with Horizon Construction Management to help build the Horizon Oil Sands project in Northern Alberta.

    “We are offering another legitimate choice for unrepresented construction workers who want to work at Horizon,” said Don MacNeil, Administrative Vice President of the CEP in Alberta. "These jobs either would have gone to the non-union sector, CLAC or they may have gone to temporary foreign workers from the US or elsewhere."

    The union is the second union in the traditional labour movement to have signed a formal agreement with Horizon Construction, which is owned by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. The Alberta Ironworkers Union also signed a deal for their work last month.

    MacNeil said the CEP will use its vast Alberta and Canada-wide union network to recruit construction workers to the project, which is saddled with a chronic Alberta trades shortage.

    “We have direct access to workers no one has,” said MacNeil, noting that the CEP's Quebec alliances will aid in recruiting laid-off trade workers from that province suffering from an economic slowdown. CEP has recently forged a protocol service agreement with unions in Quebec that will offer employment for qualified Quebec trades workers.

    McNeil said his union found the transportation conditions at Horizon appealing. The company and the union have negotiated free direct flights for workers to many locations in Alberta and Canada.


    read full article: Ironworkers reach deal to work at Horizon - By Sarah O'Donnell, The Edmonton Journal
    EDMONTON - Free direct flights to work and hundreds of guaranteed jobs have enticed an ironworkers union to break ranks with other building trade unions to help build a huge oilsands project.

    The workers gave up on longstanding demands to be paid double time for some overtime hours in order to secure work at the $11-billion Horizon construction project.

    In exchange, they will have access to direct flights from Edmonton to the Horizon site 75 kilometres north of Fort McMurray. And the deal may lead to more than 500 jobs that might have gone to non-unionized workers, said Darrell LaBoucan, business manager for Local 720 of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers.

    "Those jobs either would have (gone) to the non-union sector or they would have (gone) maybe to offshore people, maybe temporary foreign workers," he said.

    The union is the only member of the Alberta Building Trades Council to have signed a formal agreement with Horizon Construction, which is owned by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

    The trades council has historically demanded that its workers be paid double time for most overtime. The ironworkers will be paid time-and-a-half instead, most of the time.

    The ironworkers also agreed to a schedule that will allow crews to work for 10 days straight, followed by four days off. Traditional schedules see tradespeople work five eight-hour days followed by two days off, or four 10-hour days followed by three off.

    "It's always important for us that the workers who come to our site are committed to work," said Lynn Zeidler, vice-president of Horizon. "Having that agreement demonstrates the union's commitment to supply workers to the site."

    Building trades council executive director Paul Walzack said the ironworkers' decision to sign will have a "negligible" impact on his group's ongoing fight against Horizon's terms.

    "Should they see that it is to their advantage to pursue a specific piece of business, that's their option," Walzack said. "The view that the ironworkers have taken is certainly not the view of a majority of the building trades affiliates."

    Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan, whose membership includes southern Alberta ironworkers, said he was disappointed and surprised by the decision.

    "There's a very good reason why the majority of building trades unions have made protecting double-time their hill to die on," McGowan said.

    Sunday, May 14, 2006

    CEP 1123 Online: VP Coles to Attend Special Meeting ...

    CEP 1123 Online
    VP Coles to Attend Special Meeting ...
    MAY 23, 2006

    May 5, 2006
    Western Region Vice-President Dave Coles has agreed to attend a special meeting being held May 23rd in the Labour Centre in Campbell River. 1123 President Scott Doherty asked Brother Coles to come and explain the CEP 470 / JV Driver agreement to our members. Also planning on attending is the new President of CMAW - Bob Hughf. This is an important meeting - please try to attend.

    Friday, May 12, 2006

    CMAW Bulletin #2

    click for full text: CMAW Bulletin #2
    CEP 470 helps CMAW ink another agreement
    CEP 470 recently helped CMAW secure work for Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast members with the JVD Mill Services agreement that is used at Catalyst Pulp and Paper mill operations.

    CEP 470 was confident signing the JVD Mill Services agreement as CMAW already has a previous collective agreement with an associated company working in Prince George. The JV Driver Constructors Inc. agreement was signed by CMAW Past-President Brian Zdrilic in January 2005 but was also in partnership with the Pipefitters Union. The partnership with the pipefitters is a problem to both Driver and Catalyst who refuse to sign any more building trades type agreements. They want no connection to any building trades unions.

    CMAW's goal at the Catalyst operations on the Island was to organize JVD Mill Services wall-to-wall, or all-employee, with no other building trades unions involved with the agreement. CMAW used CEP 470 as the only 'clean' vehicle available to reach that goal.

    Members of CEP 470, who approved the agreement, are excited to be participating in an agreement that means well-paid, stable employment at the Catalyst mills with wage parity for carpenters. Carpenters form the leadership in CEP 470 on the Island and that local union is being used as another channel to achieve Canadian autonomy.

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    CMAW Draft Constitution: article 9.2.1 errors

    May 2, 2006
    To The Executive Board
    Re:CMAW Draft Constitution

    Please advise me at once if you find any errors or omissions.

    In Solidarity,
    Pat Haggarty
    Secretary Treasurer

    well Pat, let's cut to the chase, looking at Section 9.2 Duties of Members of CMAW Executive Board we find Section 9.2.1 President and what a piece of work it is: The President of the Construction, Maintenance and Allied Workers, as the principal executive officer, shall have full authority and responsibility to execute the policies and decisions of the Union as established under this Constitution. Should the President find that the policy of the Union has not been clearly formulated, a poll of the members of the Executive Board will be conducted, and the affirmative opinion of a majority of the Board shall have the force and effect of a decision reached in a meeting of the Construction, Maintenance and Allied Worker's Executive Board, and the results of the poll shall be entered into the minutes of the next meeting of the Board.

    Pat, lets discuss that word poll as you are using it now. The President, or you as Secretary-Treasurer acting on behalf of the President, sends out a fax to the E-Board; you send this fax at 3:00 on a Friday; it says "If you agree that all contracts from this day forward shall be the CEP Pulp Fiction agreement please check the appropriate box, sign on the dotted line and fax it back within 24 hours. If you do not fax it back in 24 hours it is assumed that you agree with the motion. Have a good day, fight the fight, Pat."

    Never mind that there is no discussion on the motion, to hell with Robert's rules of Order, nor any accurate minutes recorded as no one except you keeps the minutes and you only have to submit a laundry bill by the next meeting, which so far this year does not take place in spite of requests to honour the Constitutional requirements for E-Board meetings. And if a E-Board member wants his vote recorded in opposition, you merely respond that the concern is duly noted. No inclusion into the minutes.

    Especially notable is the negative option part where you say if you do not respond it is assumed you agree. Remember Rogers Cable found out the hard way that negative option billing is illegal in Canada. And you want to bring it to our Union? I don't think so bucko, that is such a far cry from democracy that you have turned our union into a joke. Even Kenneth Lay of Enron did not succeed at that kind of crap and he may well die in prison if the Vegas bookies are even close with the odds. Speaking of Vegas odds, Lucky Luciano made sure that Dutch Shultz did not operate as you intend to.

    When McCarron said at the last convention, ironically also in Vegas, that "This is not your fathers' union" even he had to go to convention to get carte blanche to give millions of workers dues monies to what ever presidential candidate would fly him around on Air Force One. Yet you want to use a negative response option to interpret our Constitution? What, nothing in it about stag parties or flights to Thailand, well hell, lets just fax out a negative option check box and viola' it's party time at Kingsway. Remember "Sonny" over at the former IWA? Good union man. Story has it he stashed away a cord or two of booze in the back room and now he's collecting empties for parking money. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and who ever concocted this draft constitution is as certifiable as Napoleon before he died of pox on the brain. I hear it was written by a couple of clac-addicts over at the CEP. It figures.

    In an article in Forbes magazine titled Do As We Say? there is a quote that is quite telling, and it sums up what you and the interlopers from CEP who have assimilated CMAW have done: "The Carpenters are definitely a less democratic, participatory union than they were ten years ago, and they have fought hard to make it that way."

    fraternally, dave livingston, it's my union and I'm taking it back, one post at a time, got comments? feel free.

    CEP = circular error probable

    NASA Acronyms - C
    CEP = circular error probable

    Coles Labour Association Canada

    The CMAW Bulletin #2 arrived yesterday and I see we have a new executive. The President is Bob Hughf, CEP; Secretary-Tresurer Pat Haggarty, Carpenters; First Vice-President Bill Duck, Carpenters; Recording Secretary Mike Fenton, CEP. The first CMAW convention is set for the first week of June.

    So how did a CEP executive become the President of CMAW? No CMAW Constitution, no CMAW Convention, no CMAW election, yet the interim CMAW President, a millwright, gets turfed by nefarious means and surprise!! some CEP suit named Bob Hughf is now running the show. CEP seems to have hijacked the BC Carpenters Union vote for Canadian Autonomy and the creation of CMAW and made us a sub-Clac Labour Ready hiring hall.

    The JVDriver *Pulp Fiction* Survival Agreement was designed to save the pulp mills on the backs of the workers. Double time was given away with a sub-standard agreement in order to put food on the table of the starving shareholders of Catalyst ne: Norske. Now with the rise of the Canadian dollar all that savings is gone due to the global economy that everyone except Dave Coles is aware of. Now with our dollar heading towards par with the greenback, what's next, Coles? Have you got the next agreement ready, the one where time and a half becomes three-quarter time at 22 days straight. Or the hiring hall system that Martyn Piper tried to set up for the UBCJA in Alberta where members bid cash money for a dispatch? Hell, you did what even the Grinch could not do, you removed Christmas as a holiday. Nice work, take a bow and kindly resign now and take that suit Hughf with you.

    signed, dave livingston, fully autonomous and still holding control of my bargaining rights, here in the Kootenays at Local 2300

    Monday, May 08, 2006

    Port Alice pins future on reopening troubled mill

    Port Alice pins future on reopening troubled mill - By Steve Mertl, Canadian Press
    Renamed Neucel, the new Vancouver-based company renegotiated a concessionary labour contract with the mill's union, the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers Local 514.
    Some skeptics remain, principally among 250 or so unionized workers who made contract concessions, and suppliers left holding LaPointe's unpaid invoices.

    Saturday, May 06, 2006

    Bro. Coles Raked Over CEP’s ‘Sub-CLAC’ Contractors

    The Pulper April 2006 Bulletin of CEP Local 1129 in pdf format
    Wage Caucus Delegates Irate
    Bro. Coles Raked Over CEP’s ‘Sub-CLAC’ Contractors
    Delegates from CEP Locals representing members at Catalyst Paper mills spearheaded an irate denunciation of CEP Western Region Vice President Dave Coles at a March 27-29 CEP Pulp and Paper Wage Caucus meeting in Vancouver.

    Their anger, and the anger of other delegates, was sparked by a recent Collective Agreement reached between an outside contractor named JV Driver and CEP Local 470. Brother Coles helped negotiate the agreement. According to some delegates he was also instrumental in introducing Catalyst management to JV Driver management.

    The discussion occupied an hour or more on each of the meeting’s first two days.

    Local 470 is 18 months old and is related to the Construction, Maintenance and Allied Workers (CMAW). CMAW is the name taken by Canadian members of the carpenters’ union who broke away from their US-based international in 2004 and affiliated with the CEP. Several wage and benefit provisions in the Contract between Local 470 and JV Driver mean the contractor’s employees are working under a “sub-CLAC agreement,” in the words of one delegate. (The Christian Labour Association of Canada is a “rat union” which the legitimate Union movement in western Canada has been fighting against for over 10 years.)

    As of early this year, JV Driver is now the “preferred contractor” at Catalyst mills in Campbell River, Crofton, Port Alberni, and Powell River, all of which have CEP-represented workforces. The “preferred” designation means Catalyst will contract virtually all of its outside contracting work to JV Driver, which will either do the work with its own crews or sub-contract to other contractors.

    One brother from Port Alberni reported that his members were even being told that mill tradesmen might have to work under the direction of JV Driver foremen and might have to submit to taking competency tests required by the contractor.

    JV Driver has also done work at the Weyerhauser mill in Kamloops, and several brothers expressed fears that the contractor will now be seeking work at other CEP-represented mills in the province. “Coming to a mill near you,” quipped one.

    Delegates from the four Catalyst mills cited wage levels in the JV Driver contract which are significantly below those paid to members of the mill locals. A labourer, for instance, makes only $15 per hour. But there are similar gaps for apprentices, truck drivers, and other categories of workers.

    “So, why should Catalyst hire people into the bargaining unit,” said one delegate, “when they can pay a lot less by having JV Driver hire them?”

    To make matters worse the JV Driver contract has what is known as an “enabling clause.” This race-to-the-bottom clause states, “The wage rates and other provisions set out may be amended by mutual agreement for specific projects in order to enable the employer to compete with non-union or other competition...” Most of the delegates’ ire centred around two aspects of this development.

    First, they are “pissed off” that these negotiations were carried out without anyone talking to the CEP locals in the affected mills. Second, they are livid that the CEP 470 deal under-cuts the protections most CEP Contracts contain around the use of low-wage-low-benefit contractors whose members are non-union or members of rat unions.

    Our Code of Ethics forces non-union and rat union contractors to pay their tradesmen at least the journeyman’s rate in our Contract and the rest of their workers at least the base rate paid to mill workers. But the Code of Ethics does not cover contractors whose employees are represented by a union like the CEP.

    In his defense, Brother Coles argued that the JV Driver Contract wasn’t really that bad. In this he was supported by at least one CEP National Rep.

    “We’re not seeing Catalyst contract out more work,” said Brother Coles. “Just the opposite: they’re contracting in work that would have been contracted out.” He maintained that the JV Driver trades rates were “higher than the mill’s.” Many of the wage and benefit figures in the JV Driver contract (although not the labourer’s wage) were similar to those in many construction union collective agreements, said the VP.

    Brother Coles also said he did not interpret the language cited above as an “enabling clause.”

    Brother Bob Hughf, the national rep, pointed out that the Code of Ethics sets minimum wage rates, but does not provide for any minimum health and welfare benefits. Non-union workers coming into mills under the code have to pay their own premiums in most cases, he said, whereas the Local 470 contract provides benefits as part of the compensation package.

    Brother Hughf recounted the developments leading up to the JV Driver contract. When Catalyst chose the company as its “preferred contractor,” he said, this set off a lot of fears:
    • that the mill workforce would be reduced to skeleton crews,
    • that Catalyst would save work for shutdowns and contract out as much as possible,
    • that there would be roving contractor crews moving from mill to mill,
    • that a non-union JV Driver would take work from “legitimate unions,” and
    • that use of the contractor would encourage blurring
    the demarcation lines between different trades.

    CEP has received assurances from CMAW President Len Embury as well as from JV Driver President Bill Elkington, said Brother Hughf, that neither aims to take work away from CEP mill crews. Catalyst management has also said similar things, he reported.

    Furthermore, the contract provides for JV Driver hiring permanently laid off mill workers who are CEP members, said Brother Hughf.

    But delegates were not calmed by the remarks of Brothers Coles and Hughf.

    On the specific question of JV Driver’s trades rates being higher than mill rates, delegates pointed out that this was only when safety incentive “awards” were taken into account.

    The CEP 470 Contract provides 50-cent pay boosts following every eight-week period in which an individual has no lost time accidents or medical aid visits. A further 50 cents is paid to an individual if his crew has had no lost time accidents or medical aid visits.

    By the time the discussion was over (or at least on pause for the time being), delegates had passed two motions.

    The first instructed CEP staff that they were not to meet with employer representatives without Local representatives present.

    The second demanded that the Wage Caucus be provided with a detailed breakdown on the costs related to CEP’s association with CMAW—including legal fees, time spent by staff, lost time wages, etc.—and information on what CEP funds these expenditures were allocated from.

    Friday, May 05, 2006

    Alberta Court rejects CLAC’s attempt to circumvent the Open Period

    Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers
    Although the bottom line in this judicial review decision resulted in the dismissal of Local 1325’s application for judicial review, in fact Local 1325 was successful in persuading the Court that the analysis by which the ALRB had permitted the Employer and CLAC to eliminate the statutory open period by use of a project agreement was patently unreasonable.

    The ALRB has historically held that an open period can be closed by means of the negotiation of a new collective agreement and the early termination of an old agreement, but only if the new agreement is accepted by employees by way of a reasonable ratification procedure. CLAC and J. V. Driver had imported this device into the construction industry and there was an established pattern of truncation or elimination of open periods by new agreements ratified by a relatively small workforce. In the fall of 2000 a new tactic was employed – a project agreement was entered into with a duration that was inconsistent with the existing provincial agreement, which would not expire for another fifteen months. The Board had held that the project agreement (negotiated before any employees were employed on the project) was ratified through what it called “hiring hall ratification” – in essence as soon as a CLAC member went to work on the project pursuant to a dispatch slip from CLAC they were deemed to ratify the agreement on behalf of all employees in their particular trade. The Board appeared to accept that this “ratification” was sufficient to eliminate a statutory open period.

    The Court held that the Board’s view of the efficacy of “hiring hall ratification” to eliminate an open period was patently unreasonable. The Court found that the Board’s analysis deprived construction industry employees of the right to change bargaining agents, and that it “potentially locks them into a cycle in which they can protest neither the collective agreement nor the union who negotiated it for them”.

    ALRB Letter decision on JV Driver Privilege in html format
    In the summer of 2000, Mr. Elkington was preparing to negotiate with CLAC about a “project agreement” to cover its next construction site at the Weyerhauser site in Grande Prairie and he approached Mr. Ross for advice. The then current collective agreement with CLAC was not due to expire until December 31, 2001. He wanted to discuss how to set up an agreement for the project that would be a valid collective agreement and would withstand challenges and harassment from other unions.
    The Employer argues that it and CLAC shared a common interest against a common foe and in reaching an agreement that would withstand the threat of challenges or harassment by other trade unions outside their bargaining relationship. Once they reach a collective agreement, CLAC argues, the Employer and CLAC stand beside each other to vigorously defend the fruits of their efforts against a common foe, being anyone who would attack their agreement.

    Careers at JV Driver Across Western Canada

    Careers at JV Driver

    Industrial Construction - Employment Opportunities
    *Immediate and Long Term
    *Across Western Canada

    Journeyman and Apprentices Wanted Immediately
    * Pipefitter / Steamfitters
    * Structural Ironworkers
    * Reinforcing Ironworkers
    * Scaffolders
    * Carpenters
    * Cement Finishers
    * Pressure and Structural Welders
    * Mill Rights

    Wednesday, May 03, 2006

    CMAW Bulletin #1

    click for full text: CMAW Bulletin #1 - May 1, 2006

    Pulpmill agreement achieves parity with other trades
    CMAW Members:
    As a construction member in one of our BC Local Unions, you may have heard about an innovative new collective agreement for contracted work at the four Catalyst Pulp and Paper mills on Vancouver Island and at Powell River that guarantees more work for our members.

    This five-year all-employee agreement between our CMAW partner union CEP Local 470 and JVD Mill Services Inc. is for all contracted work, for all trades, at the Catalyst operations in Powell River, Port Alberni, Elk Falls (Campbell River) and Crofton.

    JVD Mill Services has signed an exclusive business arrangement with Catalyst to perform construction work normally contracted out in their mills on Vancouver Island. This new relationship between Catalyst and JVD flows from a Catalyst demand that contracting costs be reduced or some of its operations may close.

    Tuesday, May 02, 2006

    Do As We Say?

    click to read the full article: Do As We Say? - By Daniel Fisher,, May 2, 2006
    Unfortunately for their own members, unions rarely practice what they preach. While some large labor groups require officers to be elected by a majority of their members--the Teamsters adopted the practice as part of a 1991 federal consent decree to flush out corrupt leaders from the union--others allow delegates to elect officers at conventions every few years.

    'There's a real irony here,' says Harold Benson, president of the Association for Union Democracy, a Brooklyn, N.Y., group that represents union dissidents in court challenges of voting procedures. 'They want democracy, but 'not on my block.' '

    One of the most vocal proponents of shareholder democracy is the International Brotherhood of Carpenters, for example, which submits 80 to 100 proxy proposals per year, according to ISS.

    The union's director of corporate affairs, Ed Durkin, said in a March interview with the San Jose Mercury News that corporate directors need to be more accountable to shareholders. 'If they know they have to get elected, that it's not a foregone conclusion, then boards become better-functioning entities,' Durkin said.

    Yet the 520,000-member union is hardly a paragon of democracy itself, according to Alan Hyde, a labor law expert at the Rutgers University School of Law.

    Carpenters President Douglas McCarron has overseen a sweeping reorganization that shifted power from locals to large 'regional councils,' which are overseen by powerful secretary-treasurers who hire and fire union employees even at the local level, Hyde says. That gives McCarron extraordinary control over delegates, Hyde says, because they tend to be full-time union employees who work at the pleasure of the officials they elect.

    McCarron, whose pay rose 4% to $382,652 last year, is himself elected by delegates at a convention every five years. He also appoints the union's financial oversight committee.

    'The Carpenters are definitely a less democratic, participatory union than they were ten years ago, and they have fought hard to make it that way,' Hyde says.

    Monday, May 01, 2006

    Letter from John Reimann, UBCJA wildcat '99

    Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2006
    To: dave
    From: John Reimann
    Subject: Re: BC Update
    It's sad to hear these things, but it makes me recall a discussion I had with a young carpenters' union organizer up there the time I visited BC (1999 I think it was). I think his name was Josh something. Anyway, we were talking about the possibility of the BC Fed. leaving the UBC. As a union person all my work life, my first instinct was for "unity" and to stay and fight, but as we talked I could see that maybe I was wrong. The thing that seemed to me to be central was the issue of union/employer "cooperation". As you know, the UBC has the position that we have to "recapture market share". This means that we are little but an employment agency and we work with the contractors. If we can keep them happy, then they will sign union contracts and the dues money will keep flowing in. It amounts to the same thing as what the entire union leadership is talking about - competitiveness. This means, in reality, union workers competing with non-union workers for who will work cheapest. This destroys the very purpose of having a union. It means the ongoing downward cycle of wages and conditions.

    This organizer and I talked about this, and he agreed with me in principle. It seemed to me that the real principled issue was for the BC Fed to fight this company unionism approach, and if it was easier to fight it by leaving the UBC then that was fine. But this meant engaging with union carpenters elsewhere in order to wage a campaign against this approach.

    My impression is that this never happened in BC.

    So what is happening as far as the membership? What kind of active movement is going on to oppose what is happening?

    Here, not a whole lot is happening. To tell the truth, I'm not that much in touch with things since I can't go to union meetings.

    John refers to the BCFed and means the BCPC; he visited the Council and Local 2300 several years ago. He was expelled from the UBCJA for *leading* a wildcat strike at the SF airport job. Here are two archive pages I built on the history of that strike and his kangaroo trial by EST Draper, Prez McCarron et. al.