moneyOne of our members recently got their hands on a tender bid for construction work with the BC Nurses Union.

The biggest and boldest part of the call for bids were three giant words:


Besides being a bit of overkill in terms of typography, it’s also a contract condition that will hurt the nurses.

That’s why ICBA President Philip Hochstein sent a letter to the nurses offering free advice on how the could save money on their construction work – and plough the money that flows from taxpayers, to nurses, to the union, back in to services for their membership. Open the contract to all bidders, including the more than 80% belonging to the Open Shop.

The text of the letter is below and a link to the tender call is here.


Dear President McPherson:

RE:  Potential savings for BCNU members

A B.C. construction company recently sent me a tender call for the expansion of your head office. I just wanted to offer a suggestion that could help you save money – money that comes from the dues collected by your hard working members.

Bigger and bolder than even the headline of the letter was a Union Trades Only statement. This requirement in the tender request is cutting out the contractors and companies who do more than 80 per cent of the construction work here in B.C. They offer competitive wages and benefits to the employees. But they are able to offer organizations like the B.C. Nurses’ Union cost savings because they have flexible approaches to workplace rules.

I’d imagine your members would be happy to see savings ploughed into some of the important services you offer them, like student nurse workshops, professional development for practicing nurses, or even emergency financial support for members. And with many nurses married to open-shop construction workers and owners, the chance to bid on the contract might even help bring families closer together.

As you know, the dollars you get from dues are special. They paid by law, supported by taxpayers because they are not subject to income tax, and in the case of your union the wages they are extracted from are provided by taxpayers. I’m certain you want to spend that money as carefully as you would spend you own.

If I can be of any assistance in connecting you with the vast majority of companies who would be excluded by this tender condition, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Philip Hochstein