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.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Masks mandatory in Old Massett as Haida Gwaii COVID cases total 26

Old Massett Village Council says curfew will be enforced with community service

All-Islands Protocol Table working to restore Haida place names

List of 12 priority names created; Queen Charlotte, Port Clements councils vote to support changes

B.C. premier ‘not going to be apologetic’ about closure of Haida Gwaii fishing lodges

Horgan says ‘public health takes the priority’ over business in implementation of travel restriction

B.C. mogul sells private Naikoon properties to parks system in $1 million deal

NIHO founder Rudy Nielsen sells 320 acres to BC Parks; Ministry statement expected in ‘coming months’

Rio Tinto responds to U.S. aluminum import tariffs

The tariffs were imposed by President Donald Trump Aug. 6

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

‘We don’t make the rules’: Okanagan pub owner says staff harassed over pandemic precautions

‘If you have six people plus a baby, guess what? That’s seven’ - West Kelowna Kelly O’Bryan’s owner

T-Rex earns big bids at B.C. dino auction

Over 500 dino-themed lots sold to buyers from across North America

Most Read