Toronto retains construction employer status, Hamilton does not
1st reported by Daily Com. NewsDaily Com. News
on June 26 19
Toronto council’s 19 to 5 vote to maintain the status quo not only preserved the special status for unionized electricians, carpenters, plumbers, painters, glaziers, bricklayers, sheet metal workers, asbestos workers and ironworkers, who do all the City’s ICI work, but also opened the door for the Labourers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), which will now negotiate a voluntary recognition agreement with the City to enable its members to also undertake ICI work.
“Toronto councillors voted in favour of safety, reliability and professionalism,” commented James Barry, executive chairman of the IBEW Construction Council of Ontario, representing unionized electricians, in a written statement. “This decision demonstrates the trust that the construction unions have earned after decades of service in the City of Toronto.”
Toronto Councillor Ana Bailao, noting she was the daughter of a construction worker, issued a plea to her fellow councillors to vote to retain the City’s special status with the trade unions as she spoke in support of her own motion. Council had heard from a number of delegations arguing that open tendering would throw the ICI sector open to contractors who would not provide the array of health and safety, training and community benefits programs the unions do.
“My dad almost died on a construction site,” said Bailao. “For me, this is personal. When you get that phone call at home and you have to run for the hospital because your dad is dying, when you have those issues in front of you, two to five per cent (potential savings under open tendering) is peanuts.”
The votes were required by a provision in Bill 66 that rescinded the status of Toronto and other municipal and other public governing bodies as construction employers. The entities have three months from April 3, when the bill received royal assent, to opt out of the Bill 66 construction-employer provisions.