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.
In this week's update, we look at some of the stories we'll be covering in the Journal of Commerce for the week of May 27th, 2013.
North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week was launched on May 6 in British Columbia with an event held in North Vancouver featuring many different safety organizations, equipment providers and demonstrations of proper safety procedures.
In this week's update, we look at some of the stories we'll be covering in the Journal of Commerce for the week of May 20th, 2013.
Over 1,900 students competed in more than 60 trades at the recent Ontario Technological Skills Competition held at RIM Park in Waterloo, Ont.
Edmonton has traditionally been dominated by car traffic, but recently efforts have been made to improve the city transit system and, through transit-oriented development, to create neighbourhoods and destinations that are integrated with transit.
In this week's update, we look at some of the stories we'll be covering in the Journal of Commerce for the week of May 13th, 2013.
One of the highlights of the 2013 Ontario budget is a three-year, $35-billion commitment toward public infrastructure.
The City of Calgary's ambitious Airport Trail Tunnel project is a 620 metre tunnel that will run under the new Calgary International Airport runway and will extend Airport Trail from Barlow Trail to 36 Street N.E.
In this week's update, we look at some of the stories we'll be covering in the Journal of Commerce for the week of May 6th, 2013.