[ En Français ]

Quebec Government Targets Unions in Misguided Effort to Redirect Blame for Corruption in Construction

Journal: Issue 3 - 2011

A stunning new monument in memory of workers who have been killed or injured on the job was unveiled on April 28th at the W. Franklin Hatheway Labour Exhibit Centre in Saint John, New Brunswick. Nearly 300 dignitaries and union representatives were on hand to dedicate the memorial on the date that marks the country’s National Day of Mourning in remembrance of those workers.

The involvement of Local 8 New Brunswick members was integral to the completion of the project. Members Armelino Rocca, Joe Mattina and Tom Tracey installed the circular brick base of the monument. Brother Tracey also served on the monument committee, for which he will he honoured with the Saint John Merit Award for outstanding contribution to the greater Saint John community on July 26th.

A granite block near the main sculpture features an etched passage that provides insight into the design of the memorial. Atop the central brick foundation, four figures lift a beam, signifying the importance of strength in unity and working together. Two of the figures are ghost-like, symbolizing those who have died on the job. A woman standing on a crate brings attention to unsafe working conditions. A man lifting a pole embodies the extraordinary physical labor that went into the building of Saint John. The beam itself, a working sundial, suggests the passage of time, often the only antidote to the pain of profound loss.

Local 8 NB President Gerald Reinders said, “We take great pride in the fact that in 1990, Canada was the first country to formally recognize a workers memorial day, and since that time, more than 80 countries have followed suit. Local 8 is equally proud to have had a role in the building of this monument, which not only reminds us of our fallen brothers and sisters, but which also motivates us to work even harder to improve health and safety conditions for all workers.”

Below is the text of a recent flyer jointly distributed by the FTQ and the CPQMC:

We will not agree to this!

Several weeks ago the Minister of Labour, Lise Theriault, published a report about the construction industry. On this occasion she indicated her intention to implement all the recommendations even before presenting it in the National Assembly. During this time, the Government has not taken any measures to stop the corruption, collusion and working under the table that has infected our industry. We denounce these reforms, which will muzzle the majority of workers and deprive them of the right to negotiate their own labour relations. We represent more than 110,000 workers in construction, 70% of the manpower in our industry.

Why oppose this bill?

What you should know. The CCQ is a joint body whose responsibilities include:

  • Applying the collective agreements and taking measures against employers who do not follow it.
  • Administration of the health and pension plans, paid for employers and employees
  • Administration of the labour force and ensuring that it is properly qualified
  • Administration of training funds for the improvement of the work force   

What the Government wants to do:

  • They will interfere in the administration of your collective agreements by controlling the CCQ. At a stroke they will dictate new rules of governance, voting and negotiation which will remove our rights
  • In modifying the joint administration which has always existed at the CCQ by the addition of four people who know nothing of construction and will be paid to sit on the CCQ Board
  • In removing the right and the means (from unions) to properly represent you
  • In continuing to require 65% of the running costs (for the CCQ) from you we keep paying but will be gagged more and more

The consequences for you:

  • The 110,000 workers represented by the CPQMC and the FTQ will have no further say in the administration of their collective agreements and their industry
  • People from outside the industry will decide for us
  • The bill for this mess will be paid by the workers
  • The CCQ which has never been a public body contrary to what the Government is telling us will become one and its mandate will spill over into labour relations at our expense
  • This smells like Government control. This dictatorship has already started with the nomination of a president at the CCQ who will make unilateral decisions surrounded by a new team without any consultation or consideration of your ability to pay for it

It is important to attend union meetings to keep informed concerning this report. The stakes are high. Enough is Enough!

620 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004
Phone: 202.783.3788
Toll free: 1.888.880.8222