Our Fight for Anti-Scab Legislation

Categories: BC, IBEW, Local 213

After numerous letters, phone calls, and two recent trips to Ottawa, the Federal Government came to us – and committed to anti-scab legislation.

Wednesday evening, IBEW 213 and the EJTC hosted a town hall with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the EJTC’s training centre in Port Coquitlam. One of the first questions asked was about anti-scab legislation.

Prime Minister Trudeau replied, “I have made a commitment and I am going hold that commitment that we will be introducing anti-scab legislation before the end of this year.”

We were in Ottawa late last year and again in February to lobby the federal government for changes to the federal labour code and to ban replacement workers at federally regulated industries. This work matters. It seems we got their attention, resulting in them coming to us to host a town hall at our training facility.

Our work on this is not over. Introducing legislation is just the beginning. We will continue the fight to ensure the legislation is not just introduced, but that it passes through the House of Commons into law, and that the law has teeth to protect federally regulated workers. We are close.

The government needs to act immediately to ban the practice of pitting workers against each other all while raking in record profits. Telecom corporations like Bell, Rogers, Shaw and TELUS make money hand over fist; they can afford to treat their workers with dignity and respect.

Our relentless campaign on behalf of workers continues. This hard work matters.

It is important for us to keep organizing in this industry in order to enhance working conditions for those new members but also to ensure the existing members maintain their bargaining strength against huge telecom companies like Bell, Rogers, Shaw and TELUS.

But it is nearly impossible to organize a company that knows it can just use replacement workers during a labour dispute and to try to get rid of the union. We have witnessed this first hand, through our half-decade long labour dispute with Ledcor Technical Solutions (LTS).

The big Telcom companies, for whom LTS does contract work, form an organization called FETCO that lobbies the government relentlessly for labour code changes. Union must lobby too, for positive changes for workers.

Our long, drawn-out fight on the picket line, at the federal labour board, and in the halls of Ottawa has brought home the reality that we need to make changes to the federal labour code. Replacement worker (anti-scab) legislation and first contract resolution are a good start.

Currently, companies can bring in replacement workers during a labour dispute. We argue – and the stats back us up – that labour disputes won’t last long if they happen at all when employers cannot simply replace workers.

Free collective bargaining is all about checks and balances. When one side can replace striking workers, there’s an imbalance, which leads to unnecessary disputes and ultimately lower wages, benefits, and poorer working conditions.

The town hall with the Prime Minister went on for over an hour, with members fielding questions on issues including affordability and inflation, supporting access for women in the trade, ensuring workers aren’t left behind through green job transitions, Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) funding for our training centre, and more.

You can view the full town hall here: https://fb.watch/j0De-Wjqx7/?mibextid=qC1gEa

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