Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Canadian Autonomy - free at last

BC carpenters separate from international union - CEP news release
VANCOUVER, Nov. 1 /CNW Telbec/ - A decade long struggle by BC carpenters to break from their international union and establish a Canadian construction union has been won.

5,000 members of the Construction, Maintenance and Allied Workers Union, representing the great majority of unionized carpenters in B.C., have voted by a margin of 76% to approve the terms of a BC Labour Board report on terms of separation with the Washington based United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners.

CMAW also represents industrial shop workers and shipyard workers in the Lower Mainland and school board workers in the BC interior, and it is affiliated with the 150,000 member Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.

"This brings a long struggle for Canadian unionism in construction to a conclusion," said Jan Noster, President of the CMAW. "We have gained our freedom at great cost, but it is absolutely worth it to have a democratic union in our own hands. Construction workers need a Canadian union on an industrial model, and now they have CMAW as that union. We are celebrating today, but tomorrow we will be organizing."

"This settlement is historic for Canadian construction workers," said Dave Coles, national President of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. "BC carpenters as of today are a Canadian union with a model of all-employee organizing that we believe is the way of the future for workers in the Canadian construction industry."

"Now we can turn our attention to building our Canadian union," said outgoing president of the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters, Tony Heisterkamp.

The BCLRB recommendations that allow CMAW members to break their ties with the international union require the BC carpenters to pay the UBCJ $6 million. Both CMAW and UBCJ will have the right to represent carpenters in BC, although over 95% of carpenter certifications in BC are held by CMAW.

For further information: Dave Coles, (613) 299-5628

Monday, October 29, 2007

International settlement vote passed...

by a substantial majority, anyone got specific info?

fraternally, dave2300

wed. note: and the international has accepted the offer!

Friday, October 26, 2007

CMAW to replace BCPC in the AHC

read the full decision as a PDF download
BCLRB No. B235/2007
(Leave for Reconsideration of BCLRB No. B44/2007)

- 17 - BCLRB No. B235/2007
79 Those opposed to the application argue, in essence, that a difference of opinion and approach concerning organization and representation of employees in the unionized construction sector between CMAW and other members of the AHC has led to such “animosity” between CMAW and those members that “forcing” CMAW on the AHC risks destabilizing the poly-party, leading to industrial instability, contrary to Code principles. Those who espouse this argument admit that it is speculative, but argue that the Board should not risk, in effect, “upsetting the apple cart” that is the AHC.

80 We are sensitive to the risk of upsetting the proper and effective functioning of the AHC. We appreciate the point that such voluntarily formed poly-party entities are an important part of the labour relations landscape, particularly in the construction industry. In that context they provide a mechanism by which craft unions could deal with some of the challenges facing the sector. However, at the same time we find the risk of industrial instability said to flow from allowing the addition of CMAW to be speculative and overblown. CMAW has clearly stated that it recognizes it would be bound by the AHC constitution and bargaining structure if its application to replace BCPC is allowed.

81 We also note that CMAW actively participated with the Bargaining Council of British Columbia Building Trades Unions (“BCBCBTU”) in the last round of collective bargaining with the Construction Labour Relations Association (“CLR”) through which an industry-wide settlement was reached. BCBCBTU is a council of 15 craft unions (many of which are also members of AHC) created under Section 41 of the Code to bargain on a multi-trade, multi-employer basis. CLR represents construction contractors who have a collective bargaining relationship with one or more of those building trades unions.

82 While the other constituent members of AHC may be unhappy to have CMAW as a member of AHC, both the context of the building trades sector as well as the fact that employees have voted to have CMAW replace BCPC as a means of dealing with challenges facing the sector must be recognized: see paras. 72-77 above. In these circumstances, we are not persuaded that the differences of opinion and approach between CMAW and other members of AHC are valid reasons to bar CMAW from replacing BCPC in the AHC. Constituent members of a poly-party union are not required to like one another or to agree with one another’s views on all topics; they are required to work together in a way which is ultimately not self-defeating but rather is for the greater good – that is for the good of the employees which they collectively represent.

83 In the circumstances of this case, we are not persuaded to deny CMAW and BCPC’s application. The application reflects the wishes of employees who voted to have CMAW represent BCPC as their bargaining agent in order to deal with the challenges in the construction industry. In order not to unduly restrict the option CMAW
- 18 - BCLRB No. B235/2007
represents, we grant the application to have CMAW replace BCPC in the AHC Certification.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Trick or Treat

Vote Yes for Canadian Autonomy - your ballot must be at the Post Office by 9 AM Monday Oct. 29

and then print out a McCarron Halloween Mask - just print it and punch out his lights

or print out an even scarier one. BOO

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Big Nine a taxing subject

read full article: National Post
Everything they need to know is in the Hamilton story of how one union, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Local 18, is set to make a mess of Hamilton.

For decades, up until 2005, the City of Hamilton employed a few carpenters who were members of Local 18. In September, 2005, four such union members were on the city payroll. On Sept. 12, the union -- launching a new expansion strategy --held a "certification vote" among the four carpenters on whether to certify the union as the bargaining agent for all construction carpentry work performed by or for the city.

Two of the four workers voted in favour of certification. Under Ontario labour law, those two votes were enough to lock in the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBCJA) as the exclusive union for all city work.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

'Made in the U.S.A.' wood showing up in Canada

read article: Vancouver Sun
Canadian building products wholesaler Taiga Forest Products normally exports to the U.S., but is currently shipping nothing because of the imploding U.S. housing market, said lumber sales manager Bob Leffler.

The much smaller Metro Vancouver market, which is still robust, is suddenly appearing more attractive to U.S. sawmillers.

"We are able to bring in product from Washington state cheaper than we can from other [domestic] areas," Leffler said. "The whole thing has turned around. It's really ugly," he said, referring to the North American lumber market.

Both lumber and plywood products are showing up in Canada with a "Made in the U.S.A." label.

U.S. plywood doesn't meet Canadian standards, so it is not competing head-to-head with Canadian product. But in turning to the smaller Canadian market, U.S. producers are probably "looking for that last rock to turn over to get through these very tough times," said Jim Baskerville, regional plywood manager at Interior forest company Tolko Industries Ltd.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

CMAW Convention 2007

Jan Noster re-elected President

new officers sworn in

Sunday, October 07, 2007

CMAW Fall Newsletter Online

CMAW Fall Newsletter now online - download the PDF

Vote “YES” for Canadian autonomy!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Unions challenge labour laws

article: Edmonton Journal
Last month, carpenters were prohibited from going on strike because a sufficient number of other construction unions reached settlements with their employers. Under the Labour Relations Code, if agreements are reached with 75 per cent of the bargaining units in the construction industry, the remaining unions are forced into binding arbitration.

According to court documents, of the 1,817 ballots cast by carpenters in the strike vote, 1,543 favoured a strike, 64 voted against striking and 210 ballots were in dispute.
The union's lawsuit seeks to strike down the 75-per-cent threshold provision and other impediments to collective bargaining and striking.

"It goes to the issue of freedom of association and to bargain collectively and strike independently," said Piper. "Those rights have been taken away."

In June, the Supreme Court ruled that the Gordon Campbell government in B.C. had breached workers' rights as guaranteed by the charter when it invalidated a collective agreement that had been signed with hospital workers by the previous administration.