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NEWS RELEASE: Union Monopoly Costs Taxpayers Millions – And It’s Only The First Contract

VANCOUVER – The NDP Government’s first construction contract under their union monopoly deal will cost taxpayers $22.5 million more than expected, and is another reason why the NDP should kill its so-called Community Benefit Agreement scheme, says the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA).

On Thursday, the NDP Government announced that the Illecillewaet project near Revelstoke, which will widen Highway 1 to four lanes for two kilometres, had been awarded to a building trades union-organized company. The contract came in at $85.2 million – $22.3 million more than originally budgeted, and work hasn’t even started yet.

“The NDP’s sweetheart deal with their building trade union allies has driven the cost of this project up by a third, and they’re not even in the ground yet,” said Chris Gardner, ICBA President. “It’s no surprise – there were far fewer bidders than expected as many roadbuilding companies are avoiding the NDP’s forced labour model. It’s a backroom deal of the worst kind.”

Under John Horgan’s new law, within 30 days of employment on the job site, any non-union worker or a worker from another affiliation is forced to join an NDP-approved union for work specific to the project. The new policy gives the building trades unions a monopoly on several government-funded construction projects, reducing efficiencies and driving up costs to taxpayers.

“By giftwrapping a monopoly to their union allies, the NDP government is overspending on labour on this, on other Highway 1 work, the Pattullo Bridge replacement, and the Broadway subway,” said Gardner. “This means there will be less money for other construction priorities around B.C.”

ICBA, other construction and business associations, progressive unions, and open-shop companies have joined forces in a court challenge of the NDP’s CBA scheme.

“The NDP should not be allowed to cut out 85 per cent of construction workers in this province, simply because they do not belong to a union that gave them campaign donations,” said Gardner. “This building trades union-only monopoly on major taxpayer-funded projects is offensive. Forcing workers to join a building trades union and to become an employee of a new crown corporation is a sop to the unions who happened to have donated $2.5 million to the NDP over the past few elections. It should be stopped immediately.”

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