Good day Union Family
As the membership knows political engagement has been important to Local 110. Our Local has promoted the “Green Initiative” pushing for changes to the Master Specifications for Alberta Infrastructure to take on higher standards for Mechanical Insulation in Public Buildings. We have supported plans and Bills that were of value to our trade or our Union. However, our Union does not support any political party, we only support those who support the ideals of organized labour and the Collective Bargaining rights of our Union.
The Employment standards section of Bill 32 has a number of changes that every Albertan should be concerned about, there are changes to overtime, final pay, required shift breaks, number of days worked with time off, and minimum age for legal employment. I am sure that good Nonunion employers will continue to keep their core people above the Employment standards minimum, but that will leave a lot of people with negative employment situations.
The changes being made to Union Dues opt in or out for Political or Charitable donations, will not impact Local 110 in a significant way. Our Union stopped paying any Political donations with the last Government’s Bill 1 and with the downturn Charitable donations have been significantly cut back. With the addition of this Bill we will no longer be able to donate when members pass away to the Charity of the family’s choice in lieu of flowers, and our yearly donations to the Hope Mission, Alberta Lung Association, and Mesothelioma Research fund will have to end. The reason Local 110 can no longer make these donations is the financial impact to our Local and to our Contractors to set up individual dues structures for each member that wished to opt out of one or more donation would be crippling. So, to every Charitable foundation that has received funds from a Union I would say now is the time to voice your concern to the Government, because Alberta Unions and the BTA provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in support each year that will quickly be coming to an end.
Recently the Building Trades of Alberta sent out a notice highlighting section 7.1 that allows the Building Trades of Alberta to bargain site agreements as a bargaining agent of the trades, essentially allowing the BTA to create Wall to Wall agreements with clients or contractors while still holding trade jurisdiction. This is being looked at as a “bone” being given to the BTA. Personally, I see this as a very sharp double edge sword, if the BTA is able to find a way to build agreements that all the trades can agree to and don’t fall into the traps of trying to “whip saw” wages up by playing contractors against each other or allowing Clients to “whip saw” wages down by playing us against each other. It could result in some in roads for additional work for our memberships. However, on the other side of the sword there is a real opportunity for larger Unions within the BTA to run roughshod over the council, take over the process, and take over the jurisdiction of smaller Unions. In the end this has the ability to tear the BTA apart and leave smaller Unions gutted with their members being dispatched and represented by larger Unions.
Over the last few months most Albertans that are working have taken 10% or higher wage reductions. The maintenance contract for one CLAC contractor shows a 22% reduction in total package. With this Governments want to move toward right to work legislation, but not doing so completely because they would not win the Charter Challenge, working people in Alberta, both union and nonunion, will see further reductions in available work, wages, and working conditions until we define working poor in Canada.