As it prepares to spend billions on public infrastructure, we are deeply troubled by the NDP government’s determination to force construction workers to join unions, to reward its political allies with public funds, and to deliver less value and higher costs to taxpayers.
All this will result from what the NDP is re-branding as ‘Community Benefit Agreements’, historically known as Project Labour Agreements.
PLAs bind contractors who win public bids to union agreements they never negotiated. They require union memberships for non-union workers, antiquated union-hall hiring, and they deliver windfalls to the favoured unions involved.
PLAs inevitably and dramatically drive up complexity and costs, and override the free choice of 85% of B.C. construction workers who abandoned the traditional building trade unions long ago. And for what? Labour peace that we already have? Employment equity and training opportunities that we know can be more effectively delivered in other ways?
While John Horgan calls it a success story, people who have actually worked under PLAs will tell you they are a miser-able failure and a massive infringement of workers’ rights. Union exclusivity in the B.C. construction industry went extinct decades ago. Today, we respect the choices workers make about workplace representation, and we expect fairness in public procurement and good value for taxpayer money.
Denying opportunity and picking favourites is no way to build a province. The fundamentally unfair and inefficient PLA approach Horgan’s been promoting needs to remain firmly in the past.
The Problem with the NDP’s Project Labour Agreements
We’ve Been Down This Road Before
The Island Highway Project under the last NDP government is a prime example of a Project Labour Agreement in action. Today’s NDP is counting on short memories when it claims the project was a success. Already an out-of-date model in the 1990s, there is no economic or social justification for PLAs in B.C. today. Read more