Letter from the Business Manager
- Posted on August 16, 2016
As the price of oil has fallen, layoffs and cutbacks primarily in new construction have affected many building trades unions in Alberta.
Many trades have been impacted with high unemployment and contractors are asking for concessions in the National Maintenance Agreement (NMA) stating that CLAC has already made concessions, certain building trades have priced themselves out of the market and that there is an alternative workforce to the building trades. The building trade unions in Alberta have held several meetings over the last month with a variety of contractors and finally on August 11-2016 they agreed to several concessions effective January 1-2017. The concessions as we understand them are around overtime and remittances to pension and health/welfare funds. The Boilermakers did not participate in any of these meetings or agree to any concessions.
This is very concerning to us as we are a major player in the NMA with approximately 35-40% of the hours worked. In our opinion we firmly believe we have not priced ourselves out of any market and continue to supply competent, qualified boilermakers and welders to our fair contractors.
With us not participating in this round of concession bargaining there is tremendous pressure on us from contractors and other unions stating that we will give your work away and we’ll be on the outside looking in. We will not be bullied into this type of panic driven negotiations that have very serious long term consequences to you and your families.
We realize the energy sector marketplace has changed. With that understanding we have asked the BCA contractors, I mean contractors who actually hire Boilermakers to meet with us separately to discuss our industry and how we can together continue to make them competitive. We have a number of suggestions to save our industry money in the areas of apprenticeship ratio’s, elimination of duplicative safety training and other areas.
We also realize that we may indeed have to make certain adjustments but those decisions will be made jointly between us and the BCA and specific contractors to our trade. We appreciate these are difficult times for industry and as a consequence, we will do what we can to keep our fair contractors competitive.
We will keep you informed of our progress going forward and if you have any questions please feel free to contact me directly or any of the reps.
Business Manager/Secretary Treasurer Lodge 146