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Volume 1 Issue 1 Winter 2007
Where do we go from here?
We must build a modern, progressive, responsive organization that non-union workers want to join and that our members proudly support. Where do we go from here? The best way to build such an organization is to first remember where we’ve been – building trade unions once commanded a monopoly of ICI construction in British Columbia.
In the early 1980s we saw the rise of the neo-conservatives and the election of the Socreds, as well as the rise of the open shop movement and the emergence of alternative construction unions like CLAC & CISIWU. And we witnessed the failure of the building trades unions to change with the times.
This led to a slow and steady decline of the power of construction unions. What was once a monopoly has been reduced to a point where today the traditional building trades have a mere 10 to 15 per cent of the ICI construction market. Make no mistake about it – carpenters, construction workers, and workers in general have suffered greatly because of this decline.
The rest of Canada, with the notable exception of southern Ontario and the province of Quebec, has been unable to shake a trend that started with Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Regan and continues with Stephen Harper and George Bush.
We have to do things much differently if we are to once again achieve the gains our members deserve and to earn the trust of a majority of construction workers. On page 2, I have identified the immediate priorities that CMAW must address. Thanks for taking the time to read the first edition of our new newsletter, and work safe!
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By mail: Construction Maintenance & Allied Workers Union
305 – 2806 Kingsway
Vancouver, B.C. V5R 5T5