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Unionized ICI bricklayers back at bargaining table

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Unionized bricklayers in the industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) sector of Ontario’s construction industry who were ordered by the labour relations board recently to end strike action are now heading back to the bargaining table.

Two recent rulings by Ontario Labour Relations Board have impact

BY GRANT CAMERON

STAFF WRITER

Unionized bricklayers in the industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) sector of Ontario’s construction industry who were ordered by the labour relations board recently to end strike action are now heading back to the bargaining table.

A fresh round of negotiations for a new collective agreement with employers was scheduled to begin this week.

However, there have been a number of significant developments and the bargaining landscape involving bricklayers in the province has changed in light of two recent rulings by Ontario Labour Relations Board vicechair David McKee.

One of the rulings certified the breakaway Brick and Allied Craft Union (BACU) of Canada as the new union for bricklayers in nine Ontario jurisdictions.

The ruling means the BACU has displaced the Washington- based International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts (IUBAC) in those jurisdictions.

As a result of the ruling, the BACU can bargain with specific employers in certain areas of the province.

The IUBAC, meanwhile, still represents bricklayers in three jurisdictions—Ottawa, Windsor and Thunder Bay.

Spokesmen for the two bricklayers’ unions could not be reached for comment at press time.

However, David Bannon, a lawyer representing the Masonry Industry Employers Council of Ontario, which is the designated employer bargaining agency for masonry contractors, said that with new union representation established by the labour board rulings a fresh round of contract talks has to be conducted.

“The BACU displaced the international from a number of contractors,” he said.

At the labour board hearings, the international union had argued that the BACU is not entitled to certificates because it has become an affiliated bargaining agent of the Labourers International Union of North America (LIUNA). However, labour board vice-chair McKee ruled in an Aug. 27 decision that the BACU is not an affiliated bargaining unit of LIUNA. He also concluded there is no reason not to issue certificates to the BACU.

The dispute between the BACU and the IUBAC has been ongoing for the better part of six years.

On July 29, unionized bricklayers went on strike in the ICI sector, but McKee ruled the action was unlawful, contrary to the Labour Relations Act and, as a result, both the BACU and IUBAC were ordered to end their strike action.

In his most recent ruling, McKee decided that a committee composed of individuals from the two unions will negotiate agreements for the BACU and IUBAC.

For the present round of bargaining, the three IUBAC locals shall jointly select one person to be on the negotiating committee.

The negotiating committees will operate by consensus as much as possible but will not be entitled to do or decide anything without the consent of both the BACU and IUBAC.

The ruling also establishes how the BACU and IUBAC will handle dues and training funds.

The BACU has been ordered to pay the three IUBAC locals an amount equal to all per capita and working dues received from the locals since May 1, 2001 to the present.

The three IUBAC locals shall also receive a pro-rata share of the union portion of the remainder of promotion and training funds.

by Daily Commercial News last update:Jul 21, 2008

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