Good day Brothers and Sisters
Over the last two days I have had a number of calls from Members working in the field regarding the Statement of Claim filed by the Boilermakers 146 and OE 955 against the Government of Alberta. I hope to clarify the situation as much as possible for the Members of Local 110.
On October 16, 2018, Local 110 was informed by the Building Trades of Alberta that the Boilermakers International, Boilermakers 146 and OE 955, filed a Statement of Claim against the Alberta Government in Court of Queen’s Bench regarding section 184 – 191 of the Alberta Labour Relations Code. These articles are focused around the bargaining process, dispute resolution process and membership strike vote process. Since this is a statement of claim, there is a requirement that this is heard by the Court of Queen’s Bench, the best estimate from legal counsel is this case will not be heard for around 20 – 25 months and depending decision and the fortitude of the Plaintiffs involved this situation, it could drag on for years. As such, this action from these two Unions will not impact Collective Bargaining currently underway for the next Provincial Collective Agreement.
The unfortunate downfall of this situation is that these Unions are now forcing the current Government to defend items of the Alberta Labour Relations Code that have been in place since 1988, and that were previously challenged by some of the same Unions in 2007, but then withdrawn shortly after.
Prior to the recent changes to the Alberta Labour Relations Code the NDP Government provided all affected parties, including Unions, the opportunity to provide input for changes. The resulting changes have been positive for both Union and Non-union workers in Alberta. At that time, Local 110 provided the submission on behalf of our Members and one of the points in that submission was regarding the constitutional right to bargain, supported by Supreme Court of Canada decisions regarding the right to strike. Unfortunately, due to a number of issues, the requested changes regarding Sections 189 and 190 of the Labour Relations Code were not changed at that time. However, this has not stopped our Local from continuing to work through productive lobbying of the Government to work to have this change implemented in the future.
In conclusion, Local 110 does support the removal of sections 189 and 190 of the Labour Relations Code and as such, agree with the new interests of the Boilermakers and OE’s. Local 110 does not support these Unions in their Statement of Claim to the Court of Queen’s Bench. The reasons for this are numerous but to highlight a few:
- these Unions have neglected to fully engage the NDP Government on this issue and work for positive change
- this issue has been ignored until the Construction Unions are in the bargaining process, and there is no possible way this action will change the outcome of current Collective Bargaining
- the only reason for this action is to deflect and confuse the bargaining process for the membership of all Building Trades Unions.