Details remain sketchy but it has emerged the Building Union of Canada (BUC) is battling with the Brick and Allied Craft Union of Canada (BACU) to represent some unionized marble, tile and terrazzo trade workers in the ICI sector in Ontario.
Raids in Ontario’s unionized ICI sector were permitted during the open period, which ran from March 1 to April 30, when three-year collective agreements between the province’s 25 ICI trades and their unionized employers expired. The tile and terrazzo workers in the sector are currently represented by BACU.
Representatives of the BUC declined comment on their efforts to certify workers. BACU president Tony DiMaria said July 16 the attempted raids only involved a handful of workplaces, four or five he said, out of scores that remain in the BACU fold. He said an arbitrator has been appointed to weigh in on whether a council existed involving the BUC, BACU and the Carpenters’ union that precluded raids.
“BUC raided a few of our companies but we’re fighting it,” said DiMaria.
“An arbitrator is considering whether there is a valid council. It is in the courts and we are waiting for the court’s decision on how it is going to play out.”
The uncertainty in the sector, with boxes containing workers’ votes remaining sealed with the Ontario Labour Relations Board, has meant a delay in reaching a collective agreement with the Tile & Terrazzo Employer Bargaining Agency. If the arbitrator rules there is no council and thus the BUC is legally entitled to raid, votes could be counted sometime in the fall, with one of the two unions to be certified in the handful of workplaces. A collective agreement would then be finalized and ratified..
The BUC was founded in 2012 by Craig Bromell, former president of the Toronto Police Association, as a “wall-to-wall” union representing workers across trades in specific workplaces. It represents construction labourers working for The Daniels Group Inc. and last March it was announced the BUC had negotiated an agreement to represent workers employed by Structurecrete Corporation.
A month earlier, employees of Morriston Mechanical Consultants & Technicians Inc. also ratified their first collective agreement with the BUC. The firm employs electricians, plumbers, gasfitters, sheet metal workers, welders and refrigeration mechanics in the construction sector.
The ironworkers are the only other ICI trade in Ontario without a contract. They are continuing to work under the terms of their old contract. Neither worker nor contractor negotiators were available or willing to comment on the state of negotiations.