VICTORIA, B.C. – The president of a prominent construction association is voicing his opposition to a proposed change to B.C’s labour code, stating it will disrupt construction during the busiest time of the year.
Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) president Paul de Jong says the British Columbia government’s proposed labour code changes, which would change the current three-year period between unionization drives to an annual event, during the summer, amount to ‘playing favourites’ and will destabilize the industry. The change is specific to the construction industry while other sectors retain the three-year period.
“It is mystifying to us why the Horgan government would recommend de-stabilizing measures like annual open periods,” added de Jong. “And why only for the construction industry? It appears that this is yet another initiative to privilege his selected union friends at the expense of the B.C. economy,” de Jong said.
De Jong added the change from winter to summer months for union drives, also known as ‘raids’, will affect the industry at one of its busiest annual periods.
“During the busiest time of year, progressively unionized construction companies will be forced to contend with the turmoil of aggressive union organization drives. This detracts from the tremendous amount of work that needs to be done, and for no good reason,” he said.
The PCA’s submission to the labour code’s expert advisory panel recommended open periods stay at three years and cited that position as “a more reasonable balance, allowing for adequate representation for workers and a stable, productive workforce for employers,” according to a PCA release. A similar approach was endorsed by the panel but the recommendation was not adopted by the provincial government.
The PCA, de Jong said, is calling on the B.C. government to scrap the proposed change to the code and “implement the sensible and responsible recommendations of the expert advisory panel.”