BC Hydro and Building Trades agree on labour for Site C
By Renée Francoeur
June 3, 2015 – BC Building Trades and BC Hydro say they have secured an agreement on labour on the Site C Clean Energy Project, recognizing that “stability is best achieved with a mix of labour representation that includes building trades unions.”
The framework allows the project to operate as a managed open site that includes participation from union and non-union workers as well as independent and First Nations contractors, BC Hydro stated.
“This agreement ensures workers from all labour groups can build Site C together and paves the way for the labour stability that I believe British Columbians want as we undertake building the largest hydroelectric project in a generation,” said Jessica McDonald, president and CEO of BC Hydro.
BC Hydro said it has agreed to place greater weight on bids with a mix of labour representation that includes building trades unions. The BC Building Trades unions have waived the practice of signing Project Labour Agreements, which restrict other non-affiliated organizations from working on site, and the two parties say they have agreed to no strike, no lockout, and no raiding provisions, and no organizing on the Main Civil Works component of the project.
“The agreement represents a compromise and reflects the desire of our members to work on the project at union wages and benefits while also respecting the mixed site model of the employer,” said Tom Sigurdson, executive director of the BC Building Trades. “I am sure that we can get through the next steps and ensure this critical project will be built to the highest standards by British Columbians.”
The first test of the framework is not far off, as companies prepare to bid on the civil work, the “largest section of the work on the dam involving extensive earth moving and clearing”, according to BC Hydro.