Fake CBA

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Explanation:

When BC’s Community Benefits Agreement was first being considered, the only parties included in those discussions were representatives of select Build Trades Unions (BTUs) even though they represent just 15% of the construction labour force in BC. These same unions have donated over $2 million to the NDP party over the past four years.

The way to healthy policy is to include the full range of perspectives. During the previous BC Liberal government, Premier Christy Clark regularly included those same BTU representatives in policy formation, as well as the rest of the industry. At no time were BTU workers or companies excluded from working on public infrastructure projects during the previous government’s tenure. In fact, they garnered many contracts.

Now, the BTUs are getting greedy and want a monopoly. And the Horgan government is happy to give it to them. #fakeCBA

Explanation: CBAs stand for “community benefits agreements”. But what that means is not well defined. The NDP have defined it as providing training and work for local workers, women, indigenous persons and youth (apprentices).

Firstly, whenever you try to provide benefits for communities, you should consult with the community and ask them what benefits would be helpful to them. This has not happened.

For local workers, the NDP #fakeCBA does stipulate that companies working on projects under the CBA must use the newly formed British Columbia Infrastructure Benefits Inc (BCIB) to provide labour. The BCIB will employ all workers and allocate them to the companies who win the contracts. The BCIB will use a ‘concentric circle’ method of hiring: starting with the local community, then region, then province, then nation and lastly international. This is standard practice on any large projects and is not unique to CBAs. Frankly, all construction companies would love to hire locally – its cheaper because you don’t have to pay for travel and accommodation. The reality is that these projects require highly trained professionals of which there are not many in small remote towns. And while it will be great to train local workers so they become more skilled, the jobs for that skill set will only be in the local area while the project lasts. Once it ends they will have to be willing to travel to other work-sites. Any many are not willing to do that.

The NDP #fakeCBA also stipulates that 25% of the workforce must be apprentices. It is not clear how this will be measured (is it 25% of EACH trade? Or 25% of the total workforce? And is it 25% of the total over the 3-8 years of the project, or at all times? This matters – because it is a lot easier to find apprentices to do ‘labour’ work, but not as easy for the more skilled positions). Regardless, companies who use ‘progressive labour’ (non-BTU unions) regular attain apprentice levels upwards of 40%.   Why impose a restrictive CBA that gives a monopoly to select unions who only represent 15% of the labour force all to achieve something that is already being accomplished without a CBA?

Lastly, the NDP #fakeCBA has no measurable goals regarding hiring women and indigenous people. Admittedly, hard quotas rarely work. However, this is one of the major reasons the NDP claim the CBA is necessary. But if its not going to do anything different than what is already happening, why bring it in? Because its not about hiring women or indigenous people – it’s about giving a monopoly to their BTU friends.

Explanation: While the NDP #fakeCBA does technically allow any company to bid on projects, it does so only by separating the workers from the company and forcing the company to change its business model.

The #fakeCBA uses a newly formed government corporation called BC infrastructure benefits (BCIB) who will recruit and employ all the workers. When a company wins a contract, BCIB will allocate workers to the company. But the company will not employ these workers. Why would they use such a crazy model? Because the BCIB has agreements ONLY with the 19 Building Trades Unions (BTUs) and guarantees that all workers will be members of those unions and pay union dues to those unions. That way, if a company is non-union, they will not become ‘unionized’, but all the workers will be unionized and employed by BCIB.

This crazy set-up is not only costly ($5 million a year just to operated BCIB) and inefficient (whoever heard of a company doing work but not employing anyone?) BUT it also – in reality – restricts who can bid on the project.

Firstly, if you have a company, your business strategy is very much related to your employees. You organize them in a unique way to maximize efficiency and productivity. They learn to work together and learn the unique ways your company operates. They become a well oiled machine. BUT, the #fakeCBA and BCIB separates these workers form the company. At MOST, the company will be able to select HALF of their workers, and these workers will be forced to join a union they never voted or asked for.

Furthermore, there is an important distinction between how BTU workers operate verses Progressive Union workers and again verses non-union workers. BTUs operate on ‘jurisdictional boundaries’ – there are electricians, labourers, carpenters, ironworkers, etc. And if you are in one union, you cannot do the work allocated to the other unions. An electrician cannot pick up a piece of wood (that’s only for labourers), carpenters cannot string unconnected wires through walls (that’s only for electricians), etc. Of course, there are certain tasks that ONLY certified workers can do for safety reasons. But that is regulated by provincial law. The BTUs have created a separate system to ensure they protect work for their workers. This is necessarily inefficient.

In contrast, progressive unions and non-union environments have no jurisdictional issues. Unless the work being done is regulated by the province for safety reasons, anyone should be able to do it. Like moving a piece of wood.

The #fakeCBA and the BCIB enforce the BTU jurisdictional model. But a company that is not unionized by the BTU does not use the jurisdictional model. So how can it bid on the project if it is forced to use a different business model? Not well.

The devil is in the details. The result is that any company bidding on these projects is forced to use an inherently less efficient and productive model and costs will go up. The reality is that many companies will simply not bid on the projects because of the head-aches. Research shows that when fewer companies bid on a project, the cost for the project goes up.

Explanation:  The #fakeCBA uses a newly formed government corporation called BC infrastructure benefits (BCIB) who will recruit and employ all the workers.  When a company wins a contract, BCIB will allocate workers to the company.  But the company will not employ these workers.  Why would they use such a crazy model?  Because the BCIB has agreements ONLY with the 19 Building Trades Unions (BTUs) and guarantees that all workers will be members of those unions and pay union dues to those unions.  That way, if a company is non-union, they will not become ‘unionized’, but all the workers will be unionized and employed by BCIB.

This crazy set-up is not only costly ($5 million a year just to operated BCIB) and inefficient (whoever heard of a company doing work but not employing anyone?) BUT it also – in reality – restricts who can bid on the project.

Firstly, if you have a company, your business strategy is very much related to your employees.  You organize them in a unique way to maximize efficiency and productivity.  They learn to work together and learn the unique ways your company operates.  They become a well oiled machine.  BUT, the #fakeCBA and BCIB separates these workers form the company.  At MOST, the company will be able to select HALF of their workers, and these workers will be forced to join a union they never voted or asked for. 

Furthermore, there is an important distinction between how BTU workers operate verses Progressive Union workers and again verses non-union workers.  BTUs operate on ‘jurisdictional boundaries’ – there are electricians, labourers, carpenters, ironworkers, etc.  And if you are in one union, you cannot do the work allocated to the other unions.  An electrician cannot pick up a piece of wood (that’s only for labourers), carpenters cannot string unconnected wires through walls (that’s only for electricians), etc.  Of course, there are certain tasks that ONLY certified workers can do for safety reasons.  But that is regulated by provincial law.  The BTUs have created a separate system to ensure they protect work for their workers.  This is necessarily inefficient.

In contrast, progressive unions and non-union environments have no jurisdictional issues.  Unless the work being done is regulated by the province for safety reasons, anyone should be able to do it.  Like moving a piece of wood. 

The #fakeCBA and the BCIB enforce the BTU jurisdictional model. But a company that is not unionized by the BTU does not use the jurisdictional model. So how can it bid on the project if it is forced to use a different business model? Not well.

The devil is in the details. The result is that any company bidding on these projects is forced to use an inherently less efficient and productive model and costs will go up. The reality is that many companies will simply not bid on the projects because of the head-aches.  Research shows that when fewer companies bid on a project, the cost for the project goes up – by as much as 30%.  Already the NDP have admitted the Patullo Bridge will cost at least 7% more.  But don’t be fooled. It will be way higher. The budget for a recent highway project under the CBA was already increased by 35%! Welcome to the new norm.

Explanation: While the NDP #fakeCBA does technically allow any company to bid on projects, it does so only by separating the workers from the company and forcing the company to change its business model.

The #fakeCBA uses a newly formed government corporation called BC infrastructure benefits (BCIB) who will recruit and employ all the workers.  When a company wins a contract, BCIB will allocate workers to the company.  But the company will not employ these workers.  Why would they use such a crazy model?  Because the BCIB has agreements ONLY with the 19 Building Trades Unions (BTUs) and guarantees that all workers will be members of those unions and pay union dues to those unions.  That way, if a company is non-union, they will not become ‘unionized’, but all the workers will be unionized and employed by BCIB.

This crazy set-up is not only costly ($5 million a year just to operated BCIB) and inefficient (whoever heard of a company doing work but not employing anyone?) BUT it also – in reality – restricts who can bid on the project.

Firstly, if you have a company, your business strategy is very much related to your employees.  You organize them in a unique way to maximize efficiency and productivity.  They learn to work together and learn the unique ways your company operates.  They become a well oiled machine.  BUT, the #fakeCBA and BCIB separates these workers form the company.  At MOST, the company will be able to select HALF of their workers, and these workers will be forced to join a union they never voted or asked for. 

Furthermore, there is an important distinction between how BTU workers operate verses Progressive Union workers and again verses non-union workers.  BTUs operate on ‘jurisdictional boundaries’ – there are electricians, labourers, carpenters, ironworkers, etc.  And if you are in one union, you cannot do the work allocated to the other unions.  An electrician cannot pick up a piece of wood (that’s only for labourers), carpenters cannot string unconnected wires through walls (that’s only for electricians), etc.  Of course, there are certain tasks that ONLY certified workers can do for safety reasons.  But that is regulated by provincial law.  The BTUs have created a separate system to ensure they protect work for their workers.  This is necessarily inefficient.

In contrast, progressive unions and non-union environments have no jurisdictional issues.  Unless the work being done is regulated by the province for safety reasons, anyone should be able to do it.  Like moving a piece of wood. 

The #fakeCBA and the BCIB enforce the BTU jurisdictional model.  But a company that is not unionized by the BTU does not use the jurisdictional model.  So how can it bid on the project if it is forced to use a different business model?  Not well.

The devil is in the details.  The result is that any company bidding on these projects is forced to use an inherently less efficient and productive model and costs will go up.  The reality is that many companies will simply not bid on the projects because of the head-aches.  Research shows that when fewer companies bid on a project, the cost for the project goes up.

Explanation: The #fakeCBA uses a newly formed government corporation called BC infrastructure benefits (BCIB) who will recruit and employ all the workers.  When a company wins a contract, BCIB will allocate workers to the company.  But the company will not employ these workers.  Why would they use such a crazy model?  Because the BCIB has agreements ONLY with the 19 Building Trades Unions (BTUs) and guarantees that all workers will be members of those unions and pay union dues to those unions.  That way, if a company is non-union, they will not become ‘unionized’, but all the workers will be unionized and employed by BCIB.

This crazy set-up is not only costly ($5 million a year just to operated BCIB) and inefficient (whoever heard of a company doing work but not employing anyone?) BUT it also – in reality – restricts who can bid on the project.

Furthermore, there is an important distinction between how BTU workers operate verses Progressive Union workers and again verses non-union workers.  BTUs operate on ‘jurisdictional boundaries’ – there are electricians, labourers, carpenters, ironworkers, etc.  And if you are in one union, you cannot do the work allocated to the other unions.  An electrician cannot pick up a piece of wood (that’s only for labourers), carpenters cannot string unconnected wires through walls (that’s only for electricians), etc.  Of course, there are certain tasks that ONLY certified workers can do for safety reasons.  But that is regulated by provincial law.  The BTUs have created a separate system to ensure they protect work for their workers.  This is necessarily inefficient.

In contrast, progressive unions and non-union environments have no jurisdictional issues.  Unless the work being done is regulated by the province for safety reasons, anyone should be able to do it.  Like moving a piece of wood. 

Many trades-people enjoy working outside the jurisdictional model because it just makes more sense and has less frustration: its just silly to wait for someone else to come and do something like picking up a piece of wood.  These workers have a choice to form a union or to stay non-union.  But the NDP #fakeCBA uses the BCIB to force workers to join the BTUs.  Many people outside of construction don’t understand this.  They think about teachers who must join the teacher’s union if they want to teach, or similar with public service employees.  Notwithstanding the unfairness of that model – there is a distinct difference:  the existing context is that constructions workers DO have a choice.  This #fakeCBA takes that choice – that right – away.

Any new company that comes into BC to do construction work cannot unilaterally decide to unionize without a vote to ratify by the workers.  The BCIB has never been ratified by its workers.  This is a violation of workers rights, over 85% of whom have chosen to not be part of the BTU and are now being forced to join.

Explanation: The #fakeCBA uses a newly formed government corporation called BC infrastructure benefits (BCIB) who will recruit and employ all the workers.  When a company wins a contract, BCIB will allocate workers to the company.  But the company will not employ these workers.  Why would they use such a crazy model?  Because the BCIB has agreements ONLY with the 19 Building Trades Unions (BTUs) and guarantees that all workers will be members of those unions and pay union dues to those unions.  That way, if a company is non-union, they will not become ‘unionized’, but all the workers will be unionized and employed by BCIB.

This crazy set-up is not only costly ($5 million a year just to operated BCIB) and inefficient (whoever heard of a company doing work but not employing anyone?) BUT it also – in reality – restricts who can bid on the project.

Firstly, if you have a company, your business strategy is very much related to your employees.  You organize them in a unique way to maximize efficiency and productivity.  They learn to work together and learn the unique ways your company operates.  They become a well oiled machine.  BUT, the #fakeCBA and BCIB separates these workers form the company.  At MOST, the company will be able to select HALF of their workers, and these workers will be forced to join a union they never voted or asked for. 

Furthermore, there is an important distinction between how BTU workers operate verses Progressive Union workers and again verses non-union workers.  BTUs operate on ‘jurisdictional boundaries’ – there are electricians, labourers, carpenters, ironworkers, etc.  And if you are in one union, you cannot do the work allocated to the other unions.  An electrician cannot pick up a piece of wood (that’s only for labourers), carpenters cannot string unconnected wires through walls (that’s only for electricians), etc.  Of course, there are certain tasks that ONLY certified workers can do for safety reasons.  But that is regulated by provincial law.  The BTUs have created a separate system to ensure they protect work for their workers.  This is necessarily inefficient.

In contrast, progressive unions and non-union environments have no jurisdictional issues.  Unless the work being done is regulated by the province for safety reasons, anyone should be able to do it.  Like moving a piece of wood. 

The #fakeCBA and the BCIB enforce the BTU jurisdictional model.  But a company that is not unionized by the BTU does not use the jurisdictional model.  So how can it bid on the project if it is forced to use a different business model?  Not well.

The devil is in the details.  The result is that any company bidding on these projects is forced to use an inherently less efficient and productive model and costs will go up.  The reality is that many companies will simply not bid on the projects because of the head-aches.  Research shows that when fewer companies bid on a project, the cost for the project goes up.