Friday, December 04, 2009

Out Saskatchewan way (Molly's childhood stomping grounds) citizens and workers have been fighting hard against 'Bill 80', a measure proposed by the right wing Saskatchewan Party to supposedly liberalize union representation in the province. What the bill actually does is make it extremely difficult to organize real trade unions while opening the door to 'bosses' unions' such as the CLAC (think 'unions' under fascism or communism ). Here's a story from the Saskatoon Star Phoenix about just how determined the government is to push this bill through.
Bill 80 will pass, Norris tells crowd:
The Star Phoenix November 28, 2009
A controversial construction labour bill that critics say exposes the Saskatchewan Party's anti-union bias will be passed one way or another, says Advanced Education, Employment and Labour Minister Rob Norris.

Norris spoke to a North Saskatoon Business Association luncheon crowd (no doubt a very sympathetic crowd-Molly )of more than 200 people Friday at the Saskatoon Inn.

"Bill 80 is a priority for this government. This bill is going to pass," Norris said.

He said the bill will ensure a more "competitive" construction industry in the province and give employees more choice.

Norris notes credible unions such as the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers favour the bill. ( See Molly Note )

The NDP Opposition sparred with the government this week over the issue, and groups such as the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour say it will weaken the power of workers.

The bill would allow new unions into Saskatchewan's construction industry and permit wall-to-wall certifications of a job site instead of having all unionized construction workers belong to the craft union associated with their trade.

The government had hoped the bill would pass next week, but due to a lack of agreement between the parties, it likely won't pass until the end of the spring sitting in May 2010.
It seems to be true that one representative of the CEP Union did indeed speak in favour of the Bill at a public hearing. Once more, as Molly has remarked before on this blog, all the better to never let speakers up to say anything when they are drunk. How "solid" this support is can be judged from the CEP website where there is not a single mention any such support. Can you say "red faces" ? If there is any such support within the union it has its opposition within the union as the following petition, courtesy of the CEP Union Blog, makes plain. Look it over and sign it if you'd like. The address is given above under "petition".
Stop Bill 80's Amendments to the Construction Industry Labour Relations Act
Category: Employment
Region: Canada
Target: Saskatchewan Party
Web site:
Background (Preamble):
On March 10, 2009 the Saskatchewan Party Government Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Labour Rob Norris tabled amendments to the Construction Industry Labour Relations Act.“Assistant Deputy Minister Mike Carr confirmed in a stakeholder briefing that the construction and other unions in Saskatchewan did not ask for this and that none were consulted prior to its introduction. The government says it’s about so-called freedom of choice for employers and employees.
We say it is about opening the door to certain employer-dominated unions to do wall-to-wall certifications of construction projects,”says SFL President Larry Hubich. Trades unions have long argued that wall-to-wall certifications, rather than the current system of certifying on a craft basis, will lead to deskilling and lower wages. The amendments also remove ‘maintenance’ from the definition of construction industry, which means a significant portion of unionized construction work will no longer be covered by the Act.
“Once again, the government is gutting legislation that affects thousands of workers without consulting them in advance. We saw this with last year’s essential services legislation and the amendments to the Trade Union Act. Now they’re doing it with the construction trades.
This government is obviously intent on breaking unions in every sector,” says Hubich.“It makes no sense to change the way in which construction workers are certified: the government’s own numbers show that despite the giant boom in construction over the past five years, that the unionization rate has remained the same. The system works for the trades union members because they are assured of a collective agreement and it works for employers, who are provided with skilled labour out of the union hiring hall.

The Petition:
"The amendments purposed under Bill 80 to the Construction Industry Labour Relations Act are unjust and unnecessary. That the present system has worked fine with over 17 years with a work disruption. That the Saskatchewan Party Minister of Government Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Labour Rob Norris stop the amendments to the Construction Industry Labour Relations Act as purposed under Bill 80."

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