Workers, contractors protest union favouritism at BC legislature

Union-friendly deals bashed

Construction workers and independent contractors gathered at the B.C. legislature Tuesday, demanding the New Democrat government scrap union friendly public project agreements.

Opposition Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson says the government's Community Benefits Agreements discriminate against workers who are not members of unions with deals to build major public projects.

He says members of the Christian Labour Association, Progressive Contractors Association and the Canada West Union are at the legislature to speak out against the agreements that discriminate against workers who are not members of favoured unions.

Premier John Horgan says B.C. is enjoying a construction boom where unemployment is the lowest in Canada, and among the hundreds of project sites across the province, the government has Community Benefits Agreements on three public projects.

He says those projects are the replacement of the Pattullo Bridge in New Westminster, the Broadway SkyTrain line in Vancouver and widening of the Trans-Canada Highway from the Alberta boundary to Kamloops.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena says the Community Benefits Agreements include clauses that ensure large numbers of apprentice workers are part of the workforce.

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