Canada’s Building Trades Unions Celebrate Key Wins for Workers – Electrical Workers Local 993

Categories: BC, IBEW, Local 993

Posted on June 24, 2024 10:22 am

Last week was a historic week for Canadian workers. After months of advocacy and readings in the House of Commons and Senate, the government has passed three critical pieces of legislation that will have a strong positive impact on workers: the Investment Tax Credits (C-59), Sustainable Jobs Act (Bill C-50), and anti-scab legislation (C-58).

The Investment Tax Credits are a game-changer for our members. Now, investments in the clean economy are tied to strong, union-negotiated wages for construction workers, as well as opportunities for apprentices. The Investment Tax Credits have the strongest definition of prevailing wage in Canadian labour history. This is a tremendous win for all workers in the construction industry.

The Investment Tax Credits contained in Bill C-59 will be available on eligible projects in the clean energy sector to employers who meet labour conditions, including requiring 10% of work hours on projects to be performed by registered apprentices, and for all workers to be paid the prevailing wage based on the multi-employer collective bargaining agreements that Canada’s Building Trades Unions’ affiliates negotiate.

The Sustainable Jobs Act is the government’s response to Building Trades members and construction workers who have genuine concerns that the transition away from the carbon economy could mean they may have a harder time finding work. What the Sustainable Jobs Act does is put the voices of workers at the decision-making table as we navigate the transition to a cleaner, greener economy. Our members are already at work today building that clean economy, from EV battery plants to wind, solar, hydroelectric, and nuclear – we’re already building it green. This legislation will mean that Building Trades members will have a real voice as we embark on this transition, ensuring that no skilled trades worker, and no construction worker, is left behind.

Bill C-58 was also passed into law, with unanimous support from all major parties. C-58 prohibits federally regulated employers from using of replacement workers – scabs – during strikes or lockouts. This long sought-after legislation will improve collective bargaining for workers falling under the federal Canada Labour Code.

When workers decide to withdraw their labour and strike, these are not decisions not taken lightly. Generally, it’s the last option after all other bargaining approaches have failed. Allowing the use of replacement workers undermines the bargaining power of workers in the negotiation process, and removes the incentive from employers to avoid a strike or lockout. We are extremely pleased that the federal government has taken this step to level the playing field for workers and ban the use of replacement workers.

These are historic wins for Canadian skilled trades workers, and Canada’s Building Trades Unions will continue to work with the government to advocate on behalf of our 600,000 members across the country.

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