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

City of Castlegar treating weeds the next few weeks

City will be using organic product on sidewalks, traffic islands and parking lots.

17th Street closed intermittently today

Castlegar street will be closed for line painting

Summer reading fun at Castlegar library

Registration for second session in July 19.

Last stop: The inside story of Queen City Shuttle and Charters’ closure

Former employees open up about the Nelson company’s final days

Craft cannabis development planned for Castlegar

Plans are underway for one of the first craft cannabis industrial parks in the province.

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

West Kootenay U16 Rebels take home provincial gold

West Kootenay Rebels fastball team battle hard to win the BC U16C Fastball Championship

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Two toddler siblings found drowned on First Nation in Alberta

The siblings were found drowned on their family’s property, according to RCMP

Chiefs honour Indigenous leader wrongfully hanged in B.C. 154 years ago today

Chief Joe Alphonse says they want his remains returned to his homeland in B.C.’s Cariboo region

Rare white ravens spotted again on Vancouver Island

Nature photographer Mike Yip said mysterious birds back in Coombs area

Most Read