June 3, 2012
An American perspective on construction job targeting
Canadian construction contractors may have advantages over their American counterparts because in the United States, the federal government has jurisdiction over collective bargaining, according to a labour lawyer.
Doug Seaton, an attorney with Seaton, Peters and Revnew in Minneapolis, delivered a presentation Saturday at the International Open Shop Conference in Ottawa.
He talked about strategies unions have used in the U.S. to put additional obligations on open shop firms, including the practice of having assessments deducted from wages granted to union signatory contractors to reduce the labour cost of targeted projects.
In Minnesota alone, in 2006-07, $109.26 million went into market recovery funds, which are intended to subsidize union contractors, he said.
There are also “responsible contractor” ordinances and laws, which are designed to put additional obligations on open shop firms.
When U.S. states have tried to control such practices, the authorities have generally ruled that those are collective bargaining matters, which are a federal responsibility. However, he said, states are allowed to set their own purchasing policies.
Seaton said Canadian contractors may have advantages in Canada due to the provincial responsibilities over collective bargaining.
Also presenting at the session, titled “Job Targeting Program: A Canada/U.S. Update” was Bill Stewart, vice-president of the Merit Contractors Association.
Stewart, who is from Alberta, praised the provincial government for addressing the practice in 2008 with the Labour Relations Amendment Act. This required that contributions to such funds could not be deducted from workers’ pay cheques without their consent, that deductions for marketing enhancement recovery funds, or MERFs, be on payroll records and unions cannot punish members for not contributing to a MERF fund.
With MERFs, the “whole integrity of the bid system gets compromised,” Stewart said.
"Unlocking Canada's Potential" will be the theme of this year's 96th annual Canadian Conference Association (CCA), where delegates are encouraged to look for opportunities beyond their borders.
“Unlocking Canada’s Potential” will be the theme of this year’s 96th annual Canadian Conference Association (CCA), where delegates are encouraged to look for opportunities beyond their borders.
The Vancouver Regional Construction Association presented "The Young Guns: Gen Y and their role in the future of construction" as the keynote construction panel at Buildex Vancouver on Feb. 19.
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The LiUNA Local 183 Training Centre recently announced that it has introduced five new programs to add to their stable of apprenticeship courses.
he Residential and Civil Construction Association of Ontario recently held their pre-budget roundtable which brought together members of the industry and government to talk about Ontario's infrastructure deficit.
Rich Coleman, the deputy premier of British Columbia and the minister for energy and mines was one of the keynote speakers at the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association annual CEO Breakfast held at Buildex Vancouver 2014 on Feb. 19.
Canadian Construction Association (CCA) president Michael Atkinson was pleased with the recent federal budget’s initiatives towards infrastructure funding and investments in the country’s labour market.
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