The BC Construction Association (BCCA), on behalf of the four regional construction associations, has launched a letter-writing campaign against the Community Benefits Agreement for key infrastructure projects in B.C.

Trades people and owners of construction companies are encouraged to sign a pre-drafted letter that will be sent to B.C. Premier John Horgan explaining why this CBA is bad for workers, bad for the construction industry, and bad for B.C. taxpayers. The letters will also be copied to the sender’s local MLA.

On July 16, Horgan announced that key infrastructure projects in B.C. would be built under the new CBA, which includes quotas for apprentices, preferential hiring of women and Indigenous workers, and a stipulation that workers on the projects must be unionized. The first two projects covered by the agreement are the Pattullo Bridge replacement project and widening of the Trans-Canada Highway from Kamloops to Alberta.

Like BCCA, VRCA is opposed to this particular CBA because there has been a lack of full industry consultation. The CBA is an agreement between the provincial government and select trade unions. Only government and those unions are signatories to the agreement.

Throughout its nearly 90-year history, VRCA has championed fair, open and transparent procurement practices. This CBA is an affront to these principles. Its model is prescriptive and regressive in that it requires all individuals working under the CBA to join the prescribed union after 30 days of working on the project, and all companies working on CBA projects to secure their labour force from the new crown corporation, BC Infrastructure Benefits Inc.

The depth of VRCA’s concern, coupled with the recognition that large-scale industry collaboration will be required to ensure that industry’s voice is heard going forward, led VRCA to join a coalition of business associations and non-affiliated unions in signing an open letter to Premier Horgan requesting he abandon this CBA.

Now individual trades people and construction company owners will be able to add their names to the list of those opposed.

In the coming days, BCCA will email details about the letter-writing campaign to everyone who has signed up to receive VRCA emails. The email from BCCA will include a link where you can sign your name on a letter to the premier.

In addition, BCCA is scheduling a series of townhall meetings about this CBA for September. Watch the Connector in the coming weeks for more details.

VRCA will continue to work vigorously with the coalition and all other partners to oppose this CBA model and its further roll-out. This is a time for the industry stand together for the most basic principles of free enterprise and competitive bid processes.

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