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

Choir leader’s selfless work wins her Castlegar Citizen of the Year

Christina Nolan has grown the community choir into a strong and vibrant asset for the city

Water main maintenance ongoing in South Castlegar and Blueberry

Project will take two weeks — city says there should not be any service disruptions

Downtown businesses want you to love them this weekend

Third annual event encourages people to shop in their own community.

Police investigating man’s death in Winlaw

Foul play not established, but major crimes unit is investigating

Grand Forks woman assaulted in home invasion

The incident took place Wednesday morning

VIDEO: Protesters in Penticton gather to rally against sleeping-on-sidewalk bylaw

The proposed bylaw would outlaw sitting or lying on the city’s downtown sidewalks

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kootenay man arrested and charged in 2015 murder

Nathaniel Jessup 32 of Creston has been charged with the second-degree murder of Katherine McAdam and offering an indignity to a body.

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read