The B.C. Building Trades response to our recent Vancouver Sun column makes it clear that in their universe, it would be unions rather than companies who decide on which workers have the right skills for the job.
ICBA responded with the following letter:
B.C. Building Trades’ boss Tom Sigurdson’s argument that HD Mining shouldn’t be allowed to use temporary foreign workers is a prime example of the anti-business spin the unions have pursued in this fight – that anyone who is a miner can do the job at HD Mining’s project.
But it’s just spin. It ignores the simple fact that the specialized workers being hired to run the test have experience operating the highly specialized equipment being used. It’s a mining process not done in Canada, so claims of a vast reservoir of workers able to get on the job is incorrect at best, or intentionally misleading at its worst.
It is important to remember that the company has received federal approval for TEMPORARY positions meant to test the viability of mines. The workers have to leave once the test is complete.
Why haven’t the anti-business Building Trades raised similar concerns about the hundreds of temporary foreign workers employed on other mines across B.C.? One is left to wonder if it is because of the union status of those projects.
Ultimately what the head of the construction unions is saying is the unions rather than the investors who should decide who the company hires. Well if the big labour bosses believe there are Canadian workers to fill these positions, they should take on the risk. They could invest their large, lucrative pension funds, buy out the mine, and run the mine how they see fit.
Instead they are telling the world that that B.C. is closed for business, something that will dry up investment and jobs. That hurts workers whether they are the minority in unions or the majority who are not.
Philip Hochstein, President
Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C.