Replacement of the Pattullo Bridge between Surrey and New Westminster is one of the projects designated for 19 international unions affiliated with the B.C. and Yukon Building Trades Council. (Black Press Media)

LETTER: Fletcher ‘blurs reality’ on B.C. union public construction

Bridge, highway projects awarded to companies, not unions

Re: Welcome to the union ‘battle zone’ for pipeline construction (B.C. Views, May 12).

Tom Fletcher stated some information in such a way that it blurred the reality of what he was expressing as “fact.”

First, he said the John Horgan government has given large public construction contracts exclusively to the B.C. Building Trades, much to the chagrin of the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) and organizations like them. This obscures the fact that contracts are awarded to companies, not unions.

Awarding public contracts to companies that have strong unions makes good business and economic sense. Businesses have access to a professional workforce that works efficiently and safely and workers are paid a fair wage and have funds to provide for their families and participate in their communities.

READ MORE: B.C. NDP using ‘sledgehammer’ on contract employers

READ MORE: New labour rules allow construction raids every summer

Community benefits agreements do not preclude any company from bidding on a project, but rather ensure that workers and the local community, not just bosses and owners, benefit from public taxpayer-funded projects. Allowing companies associated with organizations like CLAC, who call themselves unions but bargain provisions below Employment Standards Act levels, takes wealth created by workers and moves it to the one per cent, where they do such things as speculate on real estate, driving up the cost of housing, or deposit in tax-free havens offshore.

Fletcher comments that most building trades-affiliated unions are U.S.-based and international, implying that they are somehow foreign or at least not Canadian. This is like saying that families who moved to Canada from the States generations ago are “U.S.-based.” They aren’t; they’re Canadian.

The B.C. Federation of Labour takes as their slogan a quote from J.S. Woodsworth, the first leader of the CCF: “What we desire for ourselves, we wish for all.” This article, along with others I’ve read from Fletcher, leaves me with the question: what does he wish for all?

Stephen Crozier, President, New Westminster and District Labour Council, Burnaby

BC legislature

Just Posted

Helping our community during COVID-19

A high school student’s perspective

The buoys are back in town

Watershed Wanderings column by Lake Windermere Ambassadors

Invermere council okay with ‘reverse grad march’ idea

Nothing finalized and complications aplenty, but Invermere council agrees to grad march idea

101-year-old man targets 101 block fundraising walk for food bank

A centenarian in Invermere has embarked on a new adventure to raise money for the food bank.

Wings Over the Rockies encourages nature viewing during pandemic

Three local photographers and Wings supporters offer nature viewing tips.

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Join Kootenay family in virtual walk for Ronald McDonald House

“We always described it as our oasis in the middle of the desert,” Brigitte Ady shares.

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Most Read