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, jannoster@yahoo.ca 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, TheTyee.ca
'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.'