Anti-labour Wall government takes side of construction contractors against building trade unions.
Regina (19 April 2010) - The Saskatchewan labour movement is fighting an important battle to stop the pro-business government of Premier Brad Wall from destabilizing the construction industry by wiping out a number of key provisions that now apply to building trade unions across the province.
Bill 80 is the latest in a series of anti-labour laws introduced by Wall's Saskatchewan Party government since it took power in 2007.
The bill would permit wall-to-wall certifications of a job site instead of having all unionized construction workers belong to the union associated with their trade. It will also open the door to unions not currently allowed to organize in Saskatchewan's construction sector, among other changes.
If passed, the labour movement argues, the bill will:
- Let contractors – not workers – choose the union to represent workers.
- Lead to lower wages for construction workers.
- End province-wide collective agreements and destabilize the construction industry.
- End the practice of organizing along trade-specific lines.
- Invite the pro-business and misleadingly-named Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) into Saskatchewan to negotiate employer-friendly deals in which workers will have no say.
- Allow unionized employers to shed their union certifications through “abandonment” provisions.
The unions and groups fighting the bill, led by the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL), have been organizing rallies and demonstrations across the province and urging workers and the public to sign an online petition against the legislation.
They include the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union (SGEU/NUPGE). SGEU is urging its members to sign the petition and support the campaign. To sign the petition go to this web address: Say No to Bill 80.
"The Saskatchewan Party started union busting with Bills 5 and 6," the campaign argues.
"Before the election, they said essential services legislation wasn’t necessary. After the election, they pushed it through anyway, without consulting the people of Saskatchewan. Now they are doing it again – with Bill 80."
The unions are asking:
- Why is the government putting the strength of our construction industry in jeopardy?
- Why is the government meddling in an industry that hasn’t seen a strike in 17 years, and has growth that is the envy of Canada?
- Why is the government more interested in what’s good for out-of-province construction companies than Saskatchewan-based contractors and Saskatchewan workers?
- And why is the government doing this without first talking to the men and women who work everyday in the industry?
"The construction industry isn’t broken. Tell the government not to fix it."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE
• Petition: Say No to Bill 80