B.C.’s master union agreement for public construction could add as much as $100 million to the cost of replacing the Pattullo Bridge, according to B.C. transportation ministry estimates. (Black Press files)

Construction companies challenge ‘illegal’ B.C. union restrictions

Lawsuit filed as government starts subway, bridge, highway work

As the B.C. government embarks on billions of dollars worth of public infrastructure construction, four contractor groups have filed a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court to challenge the NDP government’s restricting the work to 19 international building trade unions.

Premier John Horgan’s “community benefits agreements” and a new government agency to work with the selected unions are in place for several major projects, including the $2.83 billion Broadway subway extension in Vancouver.

The rules, which require all contractor employees to join the designated trade unions, also apply to the $1.4 billion Pattullo bridge replacement linking Surrey and New Westminster, and future sections of the Trans-Canada Highway four-laning from Kamloops to the Alberta border.

READ MORE: Province selects three bidders for Pattullo replacement

READ MORE: Highway 1 widening work underway near Salmon Arm

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena has acknowledged that the union rules are expected to add about seven per cent to the cost of major projects, through wages and union work restrictions. The agreements give international unions priority in exchange for agreements not to strike during construction.

“The Horgan government is exercising its authority for an illegal purpose,” said Peter Gall, the lawyer representing the coalition of contractors and excluded unions. “As a result, the constitutional rights of 85 per cent of the province’s construction workers are being violated.”

The lawsuit is backed by the Independent Contractors and Business Association, the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada, the Canada West Union and CLAC.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Check out the bells and whistles added to Westhills Stadium

Rick Stiebel/News Staff Clusters of tradespeople buzzing around busy with last-minute preparations… Continue reading

‘Listen to your body:’ Saanich woman fights to have breast implants removed

Woman struggles to find doctor to remove Allergan textured implants, recently linked to rare cancer

Police find shoes, backpack of the man found dead in Saanich

Officers credit public’s help, continue to seek information

Saanich approves new eight- and 11-storey residence buildings for UVic

Residents also supported the environmentally friendly residences

Ravens Crossing breaks ground on happy Hygge cohousing project

Speeches, music and a blessing as 80 people attend start of Danish-style development

VIDEO: Come along for the ride on Tour de Victoria

Reporter captures video footage of his Tour de Victoria ride

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Most Read