Sunday, December 14, 2008

Season's Greetings from CMAW

"Santa has a lot more stops for his load of coal: the electricians union, the plumbers union, the international carpenters, the teamsters, the iron workers union, etc. etc., all those that hired legal council to oppose CMAW maintaining our hydro work!"

Friday, December 12, 2008

CMAW Winter 2008 Newsletter

CMAW Holds First Convention as All-Canadian Union
read the full article and download the Winter newsletter as a PDF

Construction industry drying up, and not just in the desert

read full article in the Las Vegas Sun
"Jobs in Canada gave hope to local workers, but those are vanishing, too"

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

CMAW now officially an equal member of the Allied Hydro Council

Signed, sealed and delivered!

download and read the LRB decision PDF 12-02-08 in PDF format

Friday, November 28, 2008

Catalyst Taking Downtime At All Its Mills

article: Storage and Destruction Business Magazine
The mills taking downtime are the following: Snowflake, Ariz.; Crofton, B.C.; Powell River, B.C.; Port Alberni, B.C.; and Elk Falls.

The Snowflake, Crofton and Elk Falls paper mills will each take four days of downtime, Port Alberni will take 12 days of curtailment, and the Powell River mill will be down for 13 days. The previously announced downtime at the Crofton pulp mill will be extended by 2 days to 11 days.

Friday, November 21, 2008

CMAW and CEP video

8 minute YouTube video
on the job footage, interviews, French subtitles

Thursday, November 20, 2008

UBCJA: Brotherhood Betrayed (even if it is from Fox news...)

YouTube - Brotherhood Betrayed
This video is a FOX 9 KMSP Tom Lyden investigative report which aired on 2/13/2008. Steven Baker is a Union 548 millwright from Minneapolis who was injured at work nearly 6 1/2 years ago on 10/5/2001.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Canadian union wins modernization battle

article: Kitimat Sentinel
Published: October 29, 2008 6:00 AM

The Canadian Maintenance and Allied Workers Union (CMAW) has won a ruling from the BC Labour Relations Board against the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBCJA).

The ruling will mean that Local 1081 members - those workers in the Northwest - will have a better shot at getting work on the Rio Tinto Alcan smelter modernization project.

Three years ago the CMAW split from the UBCJA, the US-based union.

Bechtel Canada, after receiving a $2.5 billion contract for the smelter modernization, entered into a “foundation agreement” with the British Columbia Regional Council of Carpenters (BCRCC), the Canadian arm of the UBCJA, which CMAW said would have excluded its members.

CMAW members wishing to work on the project would have had to rejoin the American union.

When concerns surfaced about finding enough labour without the CMAW, Bechtel’s Kitimat Modernization Employer Association drafted a memorandum of understanding to include CMAW members.

The UBCJA opposed the union’s inclusion and the matter went before the BC Labour Relations board.

“The UBCJA tried to put all the pressure they could on Bechtel down in the states so that CMAW ... would be excluded from the project,” said CMAW president Jan Noster.

But the labour board ruled in favour of CMAW’s inclusion.

In his decision, Michael Fleming, associate chairman on the labour board, said “the solution proposed by BCRCC has the effect of potentially restricting CMAW’s ability to represent its members employed by contractors with existing collective agreements with CMAW.”

The resolution has the BCRCC as signatory to the project labour agreement (PLA), signed between Bechtel and a coalition of building trades unions, including the BCRCC, and that the CMAW’s role in the modernization project will be limited to a right to “represent its members ... with respect to contractors with existing collective agreements with CMAW as of the date of the execution of the PLA.”

Noster’s goal now is to ensure Kitimat companies get the work.

“My concern now going forward is that first of all that the companies that are in Kitimat, pay taxes in Kitimat, will be here long after the job in Kitimat is over ... get a good chunk of the work,” he said.

He’s also concerned with the prospect of foreign workers coming in through a foreign temporary worker clause in the PLA.

“The UBCJA doesn’t have a member within a 1,000 kilometres of Kitimat,” said Noster. “They’re going to be on that project and they’re either going to import people from Vancouver or the United States.

“If the locals are laid off because the local contracts are excluded from the project or are unsuccessful in obtaining work for that project, and there’s a bunch of foreign temporary workers or people from outside the community building the project, that’s a huge issue.”

Noster also said this could be a chance to give young people the chance to enter into apprenticeships on the project, what he calls a once in a lifetime opportunity.

That would help develop more skilled workers, he maintained and pointed out a slow down in contracting in the 1980s had created a generational gap in skilled trades in the country.

Noster said the CMAW is committed to the PLA and just hopes work is made available to the local residents.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Catalyst workers vote to strike

article: Vancouver Sun
Twelve hundred workers at Catalyst Paper have voted 95 per cent in favour of striking at three of the company's four coastal pulp and paper mills after contract negotiations between Catalyst and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union broke down earlier this month.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oilpatch braces for downturn

article: Business Edge News Magazine
'Reductions in demand for gasoline and in crude prices are starting to gain the upper hand, and prices at the pump have dropped in recent weeks,' Desjardins Securities in a commodity commentary.

'This trend should continue if oil stays below US$100 per barrel.'

While consumers have some reason to hope for relief, weaker crude prices and strapped credit markets will pummel the oilpatch, said Derek Burleton, an economist with TD Bank.

A crude price around US$80 is break-even territory for many high-cost projects that require huge amounts of steel, construction equipment, labour and natural gas.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rio Tinto Alcan expansion projects under review for possible delay

article: The Canadian Press
Rio Tinto Alcan says its expansion projects in Canada could be delayed as the company reviews capital expenditures in light of the global financial crisis.

The London-based mining giant says it is reviewing all capital projects. Among its largest in Canada are the modernization of the Kitimat smelter in British Columbia and construction of a couple of smelters in Quebec's Saguenay region.

Rio Tinto pulls in its horns -
Now a proposed $2.5-billion expansion of Alcan's aluminum smelter in Kitimat, B.C., is one of the projects that will be re-examined with what Mr. Albanese called 'a sharp pencil.' Rio's board was slated to decide this month whether to approve the project, which would increase aluminum output by more than 40 per cent while cutting greenhouse gas emissions by about 40 per cent.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Winnipeg Centre MP decries use of foreign trades on portions of airport expansion project

read full article: Journal of Commerce
Ottawa-based Reemaco Inc. was hired by Ellis Don to hire qualified workers to construct a new air terminal at the James Armstrong Richardson International Airport in Winnipeg.

Reemaco hired about 22 TFWs, mostly from Lebanon, as carpenters to build a ramp.

However, an NDP member of Parliament is extremely upset and angry about the use of the foreign workers on the project.

“We were horrified to learn that local qualified trades people were not being hired and being laid off, while temporary foreign workers continue to be brought in,” said Winnipeg Centre MP Pat Martin.

“Our workers are sitting outside the fence looking in while Lebanese workers are flown in from Moscow. The labour brokers now realize that Canada is an open door and the temporary foreign workers are flooding in.”

A union rep said local workers could have filled the positions.

“Manitoban’s are being sent home and the temporary foreign workers are staying there,” said Wayne McLennan, the business agent for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.

“I have people on my out of work list lining up for work.”

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Labor Arbitrator's $10,000,000 Award Nails Chicago Carpenters' Union Vendetta Against Area Contractor

read full article: Industrial News
As Prate established at the 18 day arbitration hearing, after Prate took an active position in collective bargaining in 2001, advocating a major change in the contract wage terms, then Union President Earl Oliver, and other union business agents and officers, embarked on a course of conduct with the expressed intent of making an example of Mr. Prate and driving his forty (40) year old construction company out of business.

As the Arbitrator determined, during the years that followed, (1) the Carpenters Union repeatedly engaged in strikes and picketed Prate Installations; (2) Union business agents consistently harassed Prate's Carpenters Union member employees at job sites in Northern Illinois; and (3) the Union allowed other union signatories to pay their employees on a so-called "piecework basis", despite the bargaining agreement's requirement that employees be paid by the hour for each hour worked. The favored contractors, to Prate Installation's detriment, reaped a significant competitive and financial advantage by this Union allowance.

After several years of trying to persuade the Union to stop this discriminatory conduct, Prate Installations filed a grievance with the Carpenters' Union requesting that under the "Most Favored Nations" provision of the bargaining agreement, to which Prate Installations and other contractors were bound, the Union extend these same more favorable terms to Prate Installations. The Union refused Prate's request and agreed with Prate Installations to have the dispute resolved by Arbitrator James Martin.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Labour crunch time

read full article: New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal
The single-largest challenge in dealing with the growing skilled labour shortage in New Brunswick may be figuring out exactly how big of a problem it really is.

Industry, government, academic institutes, union leaders and experts all agree that the sheer number of the employees that could be required to build a $7 billion second oil refinery in Saint John, a $4 billion second nuclear reactor along with a $1.6 billion potash mine expansion will outpace the number of skilled workers currently available in New Brunswick.

But what is far less clear is by how far the requirement for thousands of new workers will outpace the province's current ability to train new boilermakers, pipefitters, crane operators, carpenters and other tradespeople.

'The labour resource is going to be the largest issue moving forward on these projects, bar none,' said Energy Minister Jack Keir.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Union Representing B.C. Workers Hails Ruling In Rio Tinto Alcan Project

By Kris Schumacher, Resource Investor

A union that represents carpenters and contractors is hailing a ruling by the provincial Labour Relations Board to have workers from northern B.C. included in the $2.5-billion Rio Tinto Alcan smelter project in Kitimat.

PRINCE RUPERT, B.C. (CP) -- The Canadian Maintenance and Allied Workers was involved in a dispute over the matter with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.

In March, the contract was awarded to Bechtel Canada, which entered into a new labour agreement with the American-headquartered International Building Trades Unions.

The deal excluded the Prince Rupert workers.

During the summer, Bechtel grew concerned about possible labour instability and an inadequate supply of qualified carpenters without Canadian Maintenance and Allied members being included in the expansion project.

Bechtel then drafted an agreement to welcome Canadian Maintenance and Allied union members.

But the International Building Trades Union opposed the inclusion of the Canadian union on the project and the issue went to the B.C. Labour Relations Board to be resolved.

Ken Lippett, business manager for CMAW carpenter locals in the Prince Rupert area, said that was another attempt by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America to derail the movement of Canadian workers to Canadian construction sites.

"Before finally leaving three years ago, we struggled with the UBCJA, its arrogance and constant interference in our local union's affairs," Lippett said.

"It just never ceases to amaze us that the greatest threat to our community comes from an American-based organization that calls itself a union," he said.

"It further amazes us that the federal and provincial governments allow these so-called unions to treat Canadians as a commodity like lumber and nails."

Lippett said that if the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America had been successful, union members wishing to work on the project would have had to rejoin the American union that they voted to leave three years ago.

In its Aug. 15 ruling, the Labour Relations Board said the Rio Tinto Alcan project is of significant importance to the local economy and area citizens.

In his written decision, the board's chairman of adjudication said it was "not prepared to accept the (International Building Trades Union) claim that CMAW should have no right to represent its members on the project."

Fleming said the solution to resolving the dispute "should enhance labour relations stability on the project as well as predictability, and certainly contribute to the success of the project."

Since the decision, Prince Rupert contractors and carpenters have been working on the Rio Tinto Alcan project

© Canadian Press

Monday, September 15, 2008

Carpenters Union Defines Business Unionism

LA REVUE GAUCHE - Left Analysis And Comment by Eugene Plawiuk
Faced with corporatist labour management counsultants from CLAC who promote collaboration with Merit Shops (non-union open shops in construction trades) the Carpenters Union are promoting themselves as the alternative.

Contrary to the article below this is not new at all its the return of Gomperism...the Carpenters Union see's its business partners as 'clients' and see's its role as a partner in capitalism, selling labour to the highest bidder. So long Class War.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Carpenters build for construction boom

read full article: The Edmonton Journal
While the priority is to train Alberta's young people, scaffolders are in such short supply the union has brought in 2,500 workers from across Canada, as well as the U.S. and the U.K.

Already, 450 Americans are at various northern Alberta sites and that will rise to 1,000 in the next few weeks.

The union has a working relationship with its Irish counterparts to bring people over on temporary worker permits, and Piper soon will be going on a recruiting trip to England.

The new partnership and training philosophy came from the union's Washington, D.C-based international president Douglas McCarron, who believes it has to be run like a business for the best interests of the industry as a whole.

The Edmonton centre is a smaller version of one built in Las Vegas by McCarron, here today for the official opening.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

CMAW members and communities win again in battle against UBCJA

Last month CMAW won another battle in its ongoing fight to protect jobs and BC communities from American pressure, says it's President Jan Noster.

Over the summer a dispute arose between CMAW and the UBCJA (the International) relating to the upcoming Rio-Tinto Alcan smelter in Kitimat, B.C.

In March Rio Tinto Alcan awarded a $2.5 billion smelter expansion contract to Bechtel Canada who then entered into a new Project Labour Agreement with American-headquartered International BUiling Trades Unions that excluded Kitimat area carpenters and contractors.

"Kitimat area construction workers and contractors have been through a lot of tough times, says Noster, "and the Americans were threatening to swoop in and take away local work. We had to fight to protect local hire rules for local members and contractors."

As the summer progressed, Bechtel's bargaining representatives also became concerned about the potential for labour relations instability and potential problems relating to the adequacy of the supply of qualified carpenters if CMAW were to be excluded entirely from the mega-project.

In an effort to address those concerns, Bechtel drafted a Memorandum of Understanding which included CMAW and would welcome CMAW members employed by CMAW carpenter contractors.

"Very clearly, this was yet another attempt by the UBCJA to derail the movement of Canadian workers to Canadian construction unions.,,, if the UBCJA had been successful, our members wishing to work on the project would have had to rejoin the American Union that they voted to leave 3 years ago, the UBCJA and the BC Building Trades have shown their contempt for the people of Northern BC by their willingness to bring their dirty politics to our workplaces and our communities" said Ken Lippett, Business Manager for CMAW carpenter locals in the area. CMAW Local 1081 has been active in the area since 1951 and has deep roots in Kitimat and neighboring first nations community Kitimaat Village.

The International opposed Bechtel's inclusion of CMAW on the Project and the issue went straight to the BC Labour Relations Board for resolution.

But the International did not get want they wanted from the LRB, agree Noster and Lippett. In an important decision (BCLRB B125/2008, click here to view), the LRB ruled that the Project is of obvious significant importance to the local economy and local citizens.

Even if the International were right in its claim that it should be the exclusion carpenters union, the LRB said in the decision, "stability concerns would still arise because International has no existing collective bargaining relationships with local carpenter contractors."

On the other hand, the LRB recognized, CMAW has existing bargaining relationships with local contractors and has made it clear "it expects those contractors who work on the Project to honour their collective agreements with CMAW."

It is apparent Bechtel representatives want CMAW on the Project, says the LRB. In all the circumstances, the LRB said, it was "not prepared to accept the Internationals claim that CMAW should have no right to represent its members on the Project."

"Before finally leaving 3 years ago, we struggled with the UBCJA, its arrogance and constant interference in our Local Unions affairs" says Lippett. "It just never ceases to amaze us that the greatest threat to our community comes from an American-based organization that calls itself a union, it further amazes us that the federal and Provincial governments allow these so called UNIONS to treat Canadians as a commodity like lumber or nails".

Since the LRB decision Lippett and Noster confirm that local area contractors and members are all ready working at the project and are "committed to having local citizens make it another successful CMAW project."

For more information please contact Jan Noster, or 604.785.4904 .

Thursday, September 04, 2008

N.L. papermill to cut 171 jobs, minister says

read full article: CBC
Out of the 171 jobs to be cut, more than 100 will be positions from among 207 workers forming Local 63 of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union.

George McDonald, Local 63 president, said the labourers, carpenters and finishers he represents are in disbelief.

'The only way you can run that mill, by cutting that local in half, is by bringing in a private contractor to do it,' McDonald said. 'These people deserve these jobs, they gave their life to this company.'

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

'So Help Me, Jesus, This Is Dangerous Work'

book review By David Beers,
'Stay away from archives if you don't like the taste of death,' writes Gary Geddes at one point in Falsework, his masterful evocation of the heroism and tragedy surrounding the deadly effort to build the Second Narrows Bridge spanning Vancouver's Burrard Inlet. On June 17, 1958, an engineering miscalculation caused the bridge to collapse during construction, killing 18 workers and a diver sent to salvage their bodies. The finished structure was renamed Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing.

'I had to do some fast talking.' Geddes continues, 'for access to file CVA #354, containing sensitive material, including the photograph of a dead ironworker on his stomach, a fireman trying to empty his lungs of water. The first items you observe are the fireman's watch and wedding ring as he raises the victim's left shoulder. Another photo shows a group of firemen, one with his face turned away, kneeling and bent over a drowned ironworker. A perfect summer day: sunny, clear sky, no wind. How gently the rescuer places his hand on the dead man's chest.'

Friday, August 29, 2008

Landmark Labour Agreement Advances Rio Tinto Alcan Kitimat Modernization Project

read full release: PRNewswire
Rio Tinto Alcan recently awarded Bechtel a contract to complete engineering, procurement and construction management of the Kitimat Modernization Project. The Kitimat Modernization Employer Association was formed by Bechtel, contractors participating in the agreement, and a coalition of Building Trades Unions including:

- Construction and Specialized Workers' Union Local 1611 (Labourers)
- International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and
Reinforcing Ironworkers Union Local 97
- International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied
Workers Union Local 118
- International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders,
Blacksmiths, Forgers & Helpers Local Lodge 359
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local 993
- International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union Local 213
- International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craft Workers Union Local 2
- International Union of Operating Engineers Union Local 115
- International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, District Council 38
- Millwrights, Machine Erectors and Maintenance Union Local 2736
- Operative Plasters' Cement Masons Union Local 919
- Pile Drivers, Divers, Bridge, Dock and Wharf Builders Union Local 2404
- Sheet Metal Workers International Association Union Local 280
- Unite Here! British Columbia, Canada Union Local 40
- United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and
Pipefitting Industry of United States and Canada Union Local 170
- United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America- British
Columbia Regional Council of Carpenters

The Kitimat Modernisation Project will upgrade the facility using state-of-the-art AP technology and increase its aluminium production capacity while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. First metal from the modernized smelter is expected in 2011.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

City of Calgary taking asbestos scare far too lightly

TheEnergyNews: EDMONTON, July 18 /CNW/
The Alberta Federation of Labour today accused the City of Calgary of treating the discovery of asbestos-contaminated asphalt throughout its road system far too casually.

"Asbestos is one of the worst workplace killers in Canada," says AFL President Gil McGowan, "and as far as labour is concerned, no amount is safe for human exposure."

McGowan points out that under Part IV of the Occupational Health and Safety Code, there is a section detailing how to deal with asbestos contamination, including measures for both worker and public safety in circumstances where asbestos may be released.

"Calgary should not be dismissing this as something that can be dealt with by a study later in the summer," says McGowan. "Inhalation of asbestos dust and fibre can lead to asbestosis, pleural plaques, lung cancer and mesothelioma, a malignant cancer whose only known cause is exposure to asbestos."

"Calgary should be taking exactly the same precautions that the City of Toronto is taking under similar circumstances," advises McGowan, "including limiting workers' exposure during road construction with hazmat suits, keeping dust down, and ensuring that citizens know the risks and counter-measures that should be taken."

"I also think that every other municipality in the province engaging in major roadway construction and resurfacing should take immediate steps to ensure that their projects are either asbestos-free or being done with necessary safety precautions."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Temporary foreign workers flood Alberta in record numbers

read full article: Calgary Herald
Many employers say the temporary foreign worker program is the only way they can fill jobs.

'They're are a good thing for Canada and Alberta,' said Lillian Davies of Calgary Aggregate Recycling Ltd., which has hired about a dozen temporary workers from Mexico and the Philippines, and hopes to keep some in the province permanently through the province's nominee program.

'They are good workers and they're easy to get along with,' Davies said. 'You can't get Canadian help. You can't get no help. Nobody wants to work here anymore, it seems.'

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Crane operator's death warrants criminal charges, union group says

read full article: Vancouver Sun
InTransitBC, the company created to design, build and operate the rapid transit line between Vancouver and Richmond, is not currently facing penalties, she added. Freeman said that to her knowledge, no criminal charges are currently being considered.

Section 217.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada reads: "Every one who undertakes, or has the authority, to direct how another person does work or performs a task is under a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from that work or task."

InTransitBC vice-president Steve Crombie said the Building Trades Council "are not involved in this project at all and were not involved in the investigation at all. ... I don't believe they'd be up on all the issues."

WorkSafeBC found Slobodian had received between 20 and 90 minutes of training on the crane he was operating.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Crane death was preventable, report finds

read article: Vancouver Sun
A 22-year-old man who was crushed to death while operating a crane on the Canada Line had only 20 to 90 minutes of training on the machine, says a scathing WorkSafeBC inspection report.

The report on ironworker Andrew Slobodian's death was issued Wednesday to employer RSL Joint Venture and InTransitBC, the company created to design and construct the rapid transit line between Vancouver and Richmond.

The report contains a long list of health and safety violations it says contributed to Slobodian's death.

'[Slobodian] was an apprentice ironworker with little practical or theoretical knowledge of crane operations,' it says.

Carpenters' deal angers rival union

read full whine: The Hamilton Spectator
The city has a new deal with the carpenters' union that's threatening to cause labour strife.

Council approved a settlement last week that will give the union exclusive rights to the city's residential and heavy construction, such as roads and bridges.

The deal has outraged the Laborers' International Union of North America, which has traditionally completed the work.

'The city is screwed,' said Manuel Bastos, business manager for LIUNA Local 837.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Oilsands safe despite recent deaths: gov't

read full article: Fort McMurray Today
Alberta Occupational Health and Safety continues to piece together what happened Tuesday at Suncor Energy that left one worker dead and two others injured.

The accident occurred during an attempt to move a disabled heavy hauler for repairs, said Barrie Harrison, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) spokesman. The victim, an employee of Finning Canada, was run over by the hauler.

The accident also injured two men. One was treated at the scene and the other taken to Northern Lights Regional Health Centre where he was treated and released.

OHS remains on the site.

Including this latest incident, the provincial agency is involved with the investigations into four fatalities in three incidents at oilsands operations in just over one year.

The most recent is an incident at Albian Sands in April that claimed the life of a Bucyrus Canada employee after his pickup truck was run over by a heavy hauler.

The earliest investigation focuses on two workers killed in a tank collapse on the Canadian Natural Resources Limited Horizons site in April 2007. This file remains in the hands of Alberta Justice.

Though the prosecutors involved work for Alberta Justice, they are seconded to Occupational Health and Safety for investigations such as the Horizon fatalities.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dead worker was crushed by dump truck

read article: Edmonton Journal
Oilsands trucks are the largest in the world. The Caterpillar 797B stands more than three storeys high and has a hauling capacity of 400 tons.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Catalyst shutting mill, 440 will lose jobs

read full article: Victoria Times Colonist
The move to shut the Elk Falls pulp operation shocked the mill's union, the Communications, Energy and Paper-Makers Union.

'We are really disappointed that Catalyst has chosen to do this,' CEP spokesman Karen Cooling said.

'We know that the industry in general is having its challenges,' said Cooling. 'But our locals are always having consultations with local management to see how things can improve.'

She said the next step for the union was consultations with the locals to see what can be done.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Lessons Of Piper Alpha

read full article: The Herald, UK
Memorial services yesterday for the 167 men who died in the fireball which engulfed the Piper Alpha platform in the North Sea marked the 20th anniversary of the world's worst offshore disaster. With one voice, however, the bereaved families and the 61 survivors say that the memorial they want is for safety to be prioritised so that there is minimal chance of such a tragedy ever occurring again.

Since the disastrous day of July 6, 1988, there have been important changes to the safety regime as a result of recommendations from Lord Cullen's inquiry. They include transferring the responsibility for offshore safety to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), encouraging greater workforce involvement and changes to the design of offshore platforms. However, a report by the HSE last November warned of serious (and illegal) shortcomings on safety, including mechanical ones such as the failure of the fire-fighting deluge water systems.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Alberta unions mount campaign to halt labour-reform Bill 26

read full article: Daily Commercial News
The Alberta government introduced Bill 26 or the Labour Relations Amendment Act 2008 in the afternoon of June 2. After more than eight straight hours of debate, Bill 26 was passed at around 3:15 a.m. on June 5.

“They jammed this by us so quickly that a lot of our members, contractors and the general public were not aware of it,” said Tim Brower, business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) 424.

The new bill requires employees in the construction sector to have worked for an employer for 30 days, before participating in a union certification vote. Even when a union earns the right to certify, employees will have 90 days to reconsider their decision to join a union.

In response to this situation, the IBEW is launching an advertising campaign that tells Albertans the law will take away pension and health benefits from workers.

“You work hard, pay your taxes and contribute to pension and health plans your family counts on,” explains the ad.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Union argues new laws prevent anyone from striking

article by Angela Hall, Regina Leader-Post via IBEW 2067 blog
A national union is lodging a formal complaint about Saskatchewan's new labour legislation with a specialized agency of the United Nations, alleging two new provincial laws violate workers' rights.

The announcement Thursday by the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is the latest volley in the controversy over the laws passed in May, which have been criticized by organized labour and generally welcomed by business associations.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Marking 50th anniversary of B.C.'s worst workplace event

article: The Province
The Ironworkers Memorial Bridge will be the scene of a ceremony tomorrow to honour the 19 people killed when the bridge collapsed exactly 50 years earlier while under construction.

Lou Lessard, a survivor of the 50-metre plunge into Burrard Inlet from what was then known as the Second Narrows Bridge, will be among the speakers honouring the victims on the milestone anniversary of B.C.'s worst industrial accident -- June 17, 1958.

The collapse of the bridge, today a crucial link in the Trans-Canada Highway, killed 18 construction workers instantly and also a diver trying tried to find survivors among the 79 workers who plunged from the bridge.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Alberta government braces for union reaction to labour code changes

article: Journal of Commerce
The Alberta government has introduced what critics are calling anti-union changes to the province's labour code.

The legislation bans strikes and lockouts for ambulance workers and prevents unions from subsidizing contract bids by unionized contractors competing with non-union firms.

The changes will also prevent union-supporting workers from joining a non-union company to kickstart the process of unionizing the firm - a practice known as salting.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

B.C. building boom far from over

read full article by Tom Fletcher, BC Local News
B.C. Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair said the construction industry and the B.C. government are suffering from their own policies as well as a demographic change.

"The last resort is temporary foreign workers," Sinclair said. "We know they're being brought in, we know they're being exploited. And frankly we shouldn't be running around the world stealing skilled trades from other countries, we should be training our own."

He said Canada lags behind other developed countries in its per-capita spending on training, and the B.C. government's decision to "blow up" the union-based apprenticeship programs is hurting the province now.

In May B.C. Economic Development Minister Colin Hansen announced the Industry Training Authority has nearly 40,000 registered apprentices and "youth participants," but more modest completion figures. In the past year carpenter certificates increased from 180 to 385, with similar increases for plumbers, electricians and auto mechanics.

Sinclair said the apprenticeship figures are inflated by including everyone who is in a trades training program.

"In my opinion, an apprentice is only a person who is indentured to an employer," he said.

Wayne Peppard, executive director of the BC Building Trades, said the most acute shortages will be engineering and industrial trades for high-tech projects like a SkyTrain extension in Surrey.

The most acute needs are for construction managers and supervisors, boilermakers, construction millwrights, crane and heavy equipment operators, insulators, ironworkers, pipefitters and welders, as well as electricians, sheet metal workers, plumbers and carpenters for large engineering projects.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Send Us Your Safety Plan NOW!

Classic Rock 101 and Worksafe BC
Every construction site has it's own stories and ideas that construction workers and their management have implemented to make the workplace safer. What are yours?

WorkSafeBC and Classic Rock 101 invite you to post your job site safety strategies here. Impress our panel of experts and your crew could earn the elusive “Bro Jake Certified” stamp.

Then - to celebrate your certification, Bro Jake will load up the Rock Machine with Rock 101 Girls and bring lunch to you and your crew! Share your safety strategy… and we’ll rock you to the foundation!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Carpenters Union Big Goes Back on Trial for Bribery

village voice>blogs>Runnin Scared
What may be the city’s longest running bribery case is back in court this week — ten years after the alleged crime was committed.

Mike Forde, executive secretary of the 25,000-member New York District Council of Carpenters was charged back in 2000 with taking a $50,000 bribe from a mobbed up contractor while dining in 1998 at a midtown Hooter’s restaurant.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

UBCJA overrides rejected contract in Alberta and signs a concessionary agreement behind closed doors.

Representative democracy at work - duh! just more reasons for Canadian autonomy. Click the images to read this typical McCarron shit: to collect air miles secretly sign a new contract and kill the double time to match the non-union and un-union CLAC-heads in the Oil Patch. The UBCJA theory is that if more Local 1325 members had voted they would have voted FOR the agreement so it wasn't really a real vote but a protest vote, so Lets' Make a Deal with the company.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Asbestos exposure will kill 300 British Columbia workers a year: survey

Asbestos exposure will kill 300 workers a year: survey - By Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun via Doctor Petersen at Mesothelioma Information
“A lot of the cases go undiagnosed. If a worker is a smoker and doesn’t indicate they’ve been exposed to asbestos, there’s no reason for the doctor to suspect it.

“This is a serious epidemic and it won’t be going away very quickly, especially if the federal government and Quebec continue [allowing] it to be mined.

“We know that many mesothelioma fatalities are not recorded in the statistics, nor are many lung cancer cases that are caused by asbestos exposure,” Peppard said. “This carnage from asbestos related fatalities is disastrous for those workers and their families.”

The 60-year-old Peppard, himself a plumber for 37 years, is now being tested for possible disease caused by his lengthy exposure to asbestos.

“I’m starting to lose my breath, so I’m a little concerned,” he said. “I’m getting tested now. I can remember pulling asbestos off boilers and pipes. I went home coughing the stuff up.”

He said asbestos is still used in B.C., including in some house siding products, and roofing and paving materials.

Monday, May 19, 2008

British Columbia Looks to Protect Young Workers

read article at: DAILYINSURER
“We provide a three-week orientation training program for all of our new workers and one of the most important aspects of the training is safety,” said Roger Lussier, operations manager with Harris Rebar – a steel reinforcing firm featured in the video. “We provide our first-year workers with bright coloured hard hats so everyone knows to take an extra look and ensure they are being safe.”

Friday, May 09, 2008

B.C.'s oilpatch is the most dangerous place to work: WorkSafeBC

read full article at Vancouver Sun
Over the five years, there were 92 serious injury claims accepted, which represent six per cent of claims in the industry, as compared to just two per cent for all industries combined.
The industry recorded 35 fatal claims between 2002 and 2006.

According to the survey, oilpatch jobs with the highest number of claims included oil and gas drilling, servicing and related labourers, truck drivers, floorman/woman for oil and gas wells, and oil & gas well drilling workers.

The three most common types of accidents are struck by object (16 per cent), overexertion (15 per cent), and falling (11 per cent).

Friday, April 25, 2008

Lights Out, McCarron

YouTube Local 513 Welcomes the International Prez

Painters union votes not to join carpenters

A New Jersey unit of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades has voted not to jump ship and seek representation with another union, the National Labor Relations Board announced Thursday.

The unit - belonging to District Council 711 in Egg Harbor Township - is made up of about 580 members working in the drywall finishing trade. They had the choice to join the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, which has headquarters in Washington, D.C., and has several locals throughout New Jersey.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Workplace fatalities still increasing

from the Canadian Labour Congress
On April 28, 2008, we mark the 24th anniversary of the National Day of Mourning for workers killed and injured on the job. The National Day of Mourning is an initiative of the Canadian Labour Congress and was started in 1984. It is now celebrated around the world from Azerbaijan to Zambia.

Unfortunately, workplace fatalities continue to grow in Canada. In fact, Canada continues to have one of the highest workplace fatality rates of any OECD country and it is simply unacceptable. In 2006, the Association of Worker's Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) reported 976 workplace fatalities in Canada compared to 805 workplace fatalities in 1996 — an 18 percent increase in a ten-year period.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Day of Mourning • April 28
This year, the Day of Mourning ceremony will be held on Monday, April 28, 10 a.m., at the Workers' Memorial in Vancouver's Hastings Park. Families, workers, employers, and other interested parties are invited to attend.
Invitation to the Day of Mourning ceremony (PDF 626kb)
Map to Workers' Memorial in Hastings Park (PDF 477kb)
2008 Day of Mourning poster (PDF 2.69mb)
Toolbox meeting guide (PDF 212kb)
Day of Mourning ceremonies around the province (PDF 35kb)

Workers Memorial Day April 28

Day of Mourning posters by d@ve2300

8 Boot Hill captions - #0 is blank - add your own text - each in small and large size

click for poster index

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Slaughter on the job our silent shame

article: Calgary Herald
More surprising, though, is the number of older workers killed in accidents -- and I really do mean older.

In September 2007, a government report says, "an 80-year-old shop hand was fatally injured. The worker (working by himself) was wiring a light box from a ladder, when he fell and struck his head on the concrete floor."

In January, "a 68-year-old male worker, employed as a logger, was crushed between a feller buncher and a transport trailer as the buncher was being unloaded from the trailer."

And in March, "A 67-year-old driver was securing load straps when one of the straps became trapped and stuck on top of the load.

"The worker climbed onto the load. He was found later by another worker on the ground beside the vehicle, unconscious."

Age could have been a figure in all these cases; those are tough jobs for older men. But one has to admire a shop hand of 80 who goes up a ladder, or a 68-year-old working as a logger.
Alberta on-job deaths up 24% - Calgary Herald
Poor training of new workers blamed for rise

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Carpenter union secures big raise

Bozeman Montana Local News
A trade union that represents more than 100 carpenters in this part of the state has ratified a contract that will bring an additional $4 an hour to members in wages and benefits over the next three years.

The contract represents the most substantial increases in wages and benefits seen by the union in 12 years, union representative Mary Alice McMurray said. It was secured by two locals of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and will be recognized by a handful of contractors in Helena, Bozeman and surrounding areas

Beginning in May, union members’ wages will rise from $16.70 to $18 an hour. By May 2010, members of the carpenter union will be earning $20.50 an hour, McMurray said.

Monday, April 14, 2008

History of worker safety on display

read full article: Victoria Times Colonist
Last year there were six young workers killed on the job, a drop from the 12 deaths reported in both 2005 and 2006.

The construction sector had the most fatalities last year with 24.

The transportation sector reported 17.

The Steelworkers hall, 351 Brae Rd. in Duncan, will be open to the public from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. April 28 with a Day of Mourning ceremony set for 11 a.m.

CLC/CTC Day of Mourning Statement 2008

Thursday, April 03, 2008

LRB to CHC-AHC: "give it up Bucko"

BCLRB No. B39/2008 (leave for Reconsideration of BCLRB No. B276/2007)

7 Although AHC's application for leave and reconsideration makes a bare assertion that the original Decision is contrary to principles of natural justice and values expressed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it fails to provide any submissions in regard to those two assertions. In our view, therefore, it cannot be said that either of those issues are properly raised in AHC's application.

8 AHC's application raises inconsistency with Code principles as its ground for review, and provides submissions in that regard. However, for the reasons given, we find those submissions, and the supporting submissions of CHC, do not raise a serious question as to the correctness of the Original Decision. Accordingly, leave is denied and the application is dismissed.





Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Go clean, green and cheap to power B.C.

letter: Vancouver Sun March 31
"Not only did B.C. have the best collection of hydroelectric dam building engineers in the world, we also had a building trades workforce skilled in the building of these dams; after Portage Mountain, Site One, Mica, Revelstoke, Seven Mile, High Arrow and Duncan, they could have built Site C with their eyes closed."

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Laborers rejoin AFL-CIO building trades

read full article: Las Vegas Business Press
Yet the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters -- arguably Las Vegas' largest, most influential construction union -- remains unaffiliated both locally and nationally. The Carpenters represent about 9,700 craftsmen in Southern Nevada. The International Union of Operating Engineers, meanwhile, left the BCTD two years ago, but still remain a part of the Southern Nevada Building and Construction Trades Council.

The Laborers, Locals 872 and 702, represent about 6,200 craftsmen in the Las Vegas Valley. The union performed about 5.5 million man-hours of work last year. Its members are now involved on such projects as the $240 million Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge, the $890 million Las Vegas Convention Center remodeling and the recently awarded $447 million Lake Mead Raw Water Intake No. 3. Laborers perform everything from underground, conduit, tunneling, and mining to concrete, demolition, landscaping, and dust control.
OSHA goes easy - After meeting with employer only, it often reverses findings, cuts fines - Las Vegas Sun

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Union calls SLCP-SELI Joint Venture’s Canada Line foreign-worker lay-offs “a set up”

read article: Journal of Commerce
The union claims the workers were given both the carrot and the stick, by being given no place to live and getting the option to go home early with pay.

“After the employer made assurances to the Tribunal to make sure they (the foreign workers) are available, they are told they must go on the night of March 3,” Blakley explained.

“The next hearing date was March 10. On top of this they were told we will pay you until March 13th even if you go home.”

The union said they believe the lay-offs and the departure of witnesses before the scheduled hearing dates affected the manner in which evidence was given before the Tribunal.

Monday, March 17, 2008

CMAW local 506 wins right to join poly party at Vancouver Shipyards

read the full CMAW release
"This is a big win for us," noted CMAW President Jan Noster. The full decision can be read at the BC Labour Relations Board's web site at$2008.pdf

Sunday, March 16, 2008

British Columbia Construction Association casts net overseas in bid for skilled workers

article: Journal of Commerce
Since the BCCA launched the EU-Step program in October 2006, Brodersen has helped to bring 130 skilled workers to B.C. and is currently working on another 20.

Most of these workers are carpenters, roofers, bricklayers, ironworkers, glaziers and electricians. About a third of these workers gain their permanent residency, under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Thursday, March 13, 2008

CMAW Owner's Manual

download the organizing brochure as a pdf
That’s the thinking behind an “owner’s manual” for you as a member of CMAW, the Construction, Maintenance and Allied Workers Union.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Canada Line Tunnellers Axed

read full article:
Premier Gordon Campbell was on hand "to congratulate all of the workers for their hard work and dedication, and for completing this critical phase of the Canada Line without a single lost-time injury or accident."

But just after the ceremony, tunnelling subcontractor SLCP-SELI Joint Venture group told 12 workers they would receive lay off notices on Monday, and reportedly gave each a bonus payment of $20 and memorial medal. The laid off workers were all told, according to their union, that they would need to be on a plane back to Costa Rica by next week, even though more than a month of work remains disassembling the tunnel boring machine and preparing it for shipment to a new project in Russia.

"Of course we were punished for supporting the union," said Martin Serrano, a 28-year-old Costa Rican grout pump operator who was among the dozen handed pink slips.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Census shows dramatically aging Canadian workforce as labour shortages loom

read article: CTV British Columbia
Dan Kelly, Western Canadian vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, says several firms there are tolerating corporate theft rather than fire staff they cannot easily replace.

"They're so desperate to hang onto any staff they can," he said. "They can't afford to get rid of them."

Companies which spent the last three years clamouring for the best workers - or any workers - to fill jobs as the economy booms, now find some of those who pledged their loyalty to the oilsands of Fort McMurray have marched over to Vancouver for top-dollar construction jobs ahead of the 2010 Olympics.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Is this trigger happy dude the same Elroy Karius who is a Local 1370 CAST contractor?

"Neighbours furious over cow shooting" - Kelowna Daily Courier
What sounds like an old wild-west range war heated up in Joe Rich Saturday with one rancher shooting a heifer in what the other rancher calls “one of the most despicable acts of animal cruelty I‘ve ever seen.”

The rancher doing the shooting is Elroy Karius.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Catalyst Paper Port Alberni deal not sitting well with CEP

Vancouver Sun
The locals agreed to the workplace changes in exchange for Catalyst restarting an idled paper machine and investing $12 million in upgrading a groundwood pulp machine. The alternative was that the 185 workers would be out of work permanently.

About 100 will return when the mill starts up May 1.

Boucher said the company had begun taking measurements to have the machine removed when the workers voted, putting undue pressure on them to accept terms demanded by Catalyst.

'The pulp and paper locals, the rest of them in B.C., have told these two locals to stay out of caucus,' Boucher said. 'We consider that they broke away in doing this deal.'

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Douglas J. McCarron relationship map
so you click on Council of Competitiveness>Charles M. Vest>In-Q-Tel>Central Intelligence Agency...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Deal with Catalyst splits union

read full article by Gordon Hamilton, Vancouver Sun
The contentious issue that split the union at Port Alberni is shifting. Workers have agreed to a fifth shift that will cut overtime significantly and limit when they can take vacations.

Boucher said it could take, for example, seven years before a worker got Christmas off under the new agreement.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What is needed to stop killing and maiming our forest workers

Article by Stephen Hunt, United Steelworkers
Big companies have to take responsibility for the fact that 'the safety infrastructure that once existed ... has eroded with the shift to contracting out;' today 'there is no coordinated safety system of prevention, inspection and supervision extending through the largest companies down to ... contractors and independent operators.'

These are all problems to which Steelworkers have alerted employers, government and the public. The auditor-general's recommendations represent an opportunity to rectify them.
We urge government and industry to adopt them immediately -- if for no other reason than that on the day before the report was released another Vancouver Island forest worker died on the job.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Toppling crane kills Canada Line worker

article: Vancouver Sun
'A guy who came to work this morning and expected to go home tonight isn't going home."

Crane operator's death highlights delays in B.C. certification program

Friday, January 18, 2008

CLAC attack

article by STUART NEATBY in The Dominion
"Few subjects inspire more ire within the Canadian labour movement than the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC)."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

40 carpenters get jobs in Canada

Jamaica Observer, Jamaica
MORE than 40 carpenters will leave the island for Canada today after gaining employment from construction companies in that North American country.

The carpenters were selected for jobs after four years of negotiation by the National Workers Union (NWU) and members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBCJA) - a Canadian-based workers' union.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

British Columbia Labour Relations Board clears way for CMAW carpenters

Journal of Commerce
The British Columbia Labour Relations Board has ordered the Allied Hydro Council to look to CMAW for dispatch of carpenters for work on the Revelstoke 5 project. This victory is the latest in a series of skirmishes with the International Carpenters Union, which has been attempting to block CMAW local 2300 carpenters from working on the site.

The ruling, which was released Friday by Ritu N. Mahil on behalf of the board, noted that CMAW Local 2300 was the only constituent union of the Allied Hydro Council which represents carpenters.

The board had earlier decided that CMAW could replace the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters on the council.

Thursday, January 03, 2008