Simple reality: No open shop contractor, including members of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCAC) and the BC Construction Association (BCCA) would support special status for any contractor based on union affiliation, especially when bidding on taxpayer-funded projects.
Not only was it disappointing that BC Hydro signed an MOU with the building trades unions (BTU) that gives added weight to those bids that include BTU contractors for work on the Site C project, but it was surprising that the leaders of the PCAC and BCCA came out in support of the MOU. In doing so, these organizations have declared to their membership that they no longer support fair, open and transparent tendering. And, BC Hydro has effectively granted preferential treatment for a set of unions ahead of fair competition.
This is a step backwards for labour relations in B.C.
40 years ago, in order to bid on a public project, the NDP mandated that contractors needed to be affiliated with the BTU. The result was significant labour unrest, project delays and cost overruns, which were passed onto taxpayers.
For the benefit of every British Columbian, over the past four decades, the construction industry has turned its back on this closed shop labour approach. It has been replaced with a more efficient and more inclusive open shop model that is based on equal treatment for all contractors, regardless of how their employees choose to be represented in the workplace.