Yesterday the Ontario Labour Relations Board released a preliminary ruling that the Region of Waterloo will be a construction employer and therefore must only employ workers from one union, the Carpenters District Council of Ontario United Brotherhood of Carpenter and Joiners. This ruling means that the labour board sees municipalities and school districts as no different than a construction company and will see local companies prevented from bidding in publically funded infrastructure projects.
Once municipalities are unionized under the prospective rules, infrastructure projects of all sizes will only be open to construction companies affiliated with a particular union. This will result in a closed tendering process that will increase the price of projects due to lower competition. It will be an unfair playing field for businesses and the worker they employ and will hurt taxpayers in the Region. Our Chamber knows that this will create higher costs and result in fewer projects. This is completely unfair and completely unacceptable.
We believe that all qualified companies should be able to compete for publically funded projects. And that the lowest price and best quality bid should win regardless of whether they are a union or non-union shop.
The Greater KW Chamber will be raising this issue again and again during the upcoming provincial election with all parties and will not rest until the Ontario Labour Relations Board rules are changed to be fair to all businesses, workers, and taxpayers.