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‘One giant step backwards’: Manitoba stakeholders voice opposition to PLA reversal

‘One giant step backwards’: Manitoba stakeholders voice opposition to PLA reversal
@WABKINEW ON X — Premier Wab Kinew’s NDP government announced March 6 the introduction of Bill 7, the Public Sector Construction Projects (Tendering) Repeal Act, which would bring back the option to require unionized workers as a condition of a tender or project labour agreement.

WINNIPEG – Some Manitoba construction associations are warning against a change in the province’s labour agreement policy.

Premier Wab Kinew’s NDP government announced March 6 the introduction of Bill 7, the Public Sector Construction Projects (Tendering) Repeal Act, which would bring back the option to require unionized workers as a condition of a tender or project labour agreement (PLA). The previous Progressive Conservative government had previously banned PLAs.

The legislation would allow the provincial public sector, including Crown corporations and government departments, to require a labour relations model, such as a PLA, in publicly funded projects, a Manitoba Heavy Construction Association (MHCA) release said. A similar approach is already in place in British Columbia.

“Labour relations legislation to be successful must be balanced versus overly prescriptive. The back and forth between position extremes does not engender stability; it creates an atmosphere of uncertainty,” said MCHA president and CEO Chris Lorenc.

He added labour relations in Manitoba in the private sector had been “relatively speaking harmonious, not marked with outbreaks of lockouts, closures or strikes.

“That is in part because of a balanced approach to labour relations. That should be the needle for any government regardless of political stripe to want to find with any proposed legislation or regulation,” Lorenc said.

Progressive Contractors of Canada Association president Paul de Jong voiced concern the new legislation would restrict an already tight labour market.

“Shutting many highly talented and experienced local companies out of public projects because their workers don’t belong to a favoured union, is just plain wrong. This is a flawed policy and flawed thinking, that will only make Manitoba’s skilled labour shortage worse,” de Jong said.

“This labour policy takes Manitoba one giant step backwards. Discouraging competition has no upside. It drives up construction costs for taxpayers and restricts opportunities for construction workers at a time when they’re needed more than ever.”

 

Letter to the editor: Repealing an outright ban is ‘fair and open’ tendering

Recent Comments (3 comments)

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Gail McKay Image Gail McKay

Some well-intended measures yield irreversible, negative consequences….which ban gave organized crime a foothold?

Mike Waldner Image Mike Waldner

There goes the neighborhood. With unionized construction we’ll for sure see only half the work get done. I’ve seen how it works just driving by their construction sites. Very little movement if any.

Richard Image Richard

We totally agree with the Construction Association that this proposal is a horrific step backwards and into a crevice. I have personal experience in this situation and found a lack of skill works in a PAL situation from the long past.

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