[ En Français ]
Delegates to the IU Canadian Congress met in October 2011 in Windsor, Ontario to deliberate on issues specific to BAC Canadian Locals. Congress Co-Chairs IU President James Boland and Local 7 Canada Business Manager Oliver Swan, guided the meeting through a myriad of topics including the state of the Union overall and in Canada, updates on IPF Canada and IHF Canada, a report on the new registry system for U.S. members seeking work in Canada, jurisdictional matters, rival organizations, and the nation’s current political landscape.
Among the most pressing concern to delegates was the apparent spread of anti-union measures that have either been instituted or proposed in various provinces. A case in point is the passage of Bill 80 in the Province of Saskatchewan, which significantly and negatively impacted all building trades unions. Supporters of the measure, including non-union contractors, the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC), the Canadian Energy and Paperworkers Union, and others, are now seeking to enact similar legislation in Alberta, British Columbia, and elsewhere. Under the guise of competiveness, they are pressing hard for changes to provincial labour relation schemes that would greatly reduce the role of BAC and other building trades unions in the representation of construction workers. In addition, as reported previously in the Journal, the Quebec government continues its push to weaken building trades unions and Quebec Federation of Labour (FTQ-Construction). Thus, BAC delegates resolved to continue to fight against these attacks on their Locals and members.
Delegates also discussed ways in which their respective Locals will work to fill future demands for craftworkers in 2012. In addition to the mobility of BAC members throughout Canada, delegates were updated on the pre-registration system that would facilitate interested out-of-work U.S. members to assist in filling manpower demands in areas where the supply of Canadian members fell short.
According to Canadian Congress Co-Chair Oliver Swan, “By all accounts the meeting was a valuable experience in providing continued and improved representation for our members across Canada.”