Business Managers Update – 2019 BCBCBTU/CLRA Bargaining

On Monday June the 3rd, the Chair of the BC Labour Relations Board (LRB) imposed her decision to conclude the 2019 round of bargaining between the CLRA and the BCBCBTU (British Columbia Building and Construction Trades Council) which unfortunately contains some unfavorable results for the council affiliates.

Due to there being an industry wide bargaining “Protocol Agreement” in place, and the CLRA’s inability to bargain in what can only be described as anything but good faith, the Bargaining Council was not afforded the opportunity to ratify the agreement by way of a membership vote.

The Chair of the Labor Relations Board has imposed a binding settlement utilizing a mediators recommendation, as well as some of the agreed upon items by the Bargaining Council and the CLRA. The key area that the will impact all Industrial Agreements within the BCBCBTU, is the elimination of the double time (2x) on Saturdays which has been reduced to time and one half (1.5x) for the first 10 hours. This will take effect July 01, 2019 with all other changes effective June 17, 2019.

In early 2015, the LRB made a decision requiring a “Protocol Agreement” for each future round of bargaining, because of the long delays that had occurred in previous rounds of bargaining.  A Protocol Agreement contains rules for how bargaining is conducted.  In my opinion, it became quite apparent that the CLRA’s position was to try and force this round of bargaining into Interest Binding Arbitration at some point under the guidelines of the protocol.

The CLRA had proposed many concessionary items to each affiliates agreements which the Council had argued against vehemently, but the one item that worried everyone was a proposal called Favored Nations. This item was extremely nefarious in its core and would undermine all bargaining going forward had it been allowed into the collective agreements.

The Bargaining Council sought to take a strike vote and withdrew all of its proposals for the 2019 round of bargaining other than wages, and had informed the CLRA that we would be rejecting all proposals sought by the CLRA other than term. We had a unanimous vote by the Council in favor of strike and informed the LRB of this decision in late January.

The Protocol was then extended by the LRB to allow the parties more time to continue to bargain which inevitably led to additional extensions of time and also included the use of a Board appointed mediator.  The CLRA broke off bargaining many times and insisted that the Board rule in favor of sending the matter before an arbitrator to be decided.

By the end of May the Council had a mediator recommendation brought forward in an attempt to try and settle negotiations which neither party could agree too, which then ultimately led bargaining to one of two options.

The first was to send the councils final best offer proposal and the CLRA’s final best offer proposal to an unknown arbitrator for what is called “final offer selection” in which one parties proposal would be selected. This is an extremely unfavorable option in my opinion as the outcome could be devastating should the CLRA’s proposal offer be the one selected.

The second and final option to conclude bargaining was to have the chair of the LRB make a decision on how to conclude bargaining through an imposed decision which ultimately was what took place. On June 3rd the decision by the Labour Relations Board was issued and this round of bargaining concluded with the elimination of Saturday’s double time.

We will be attending upcoming job site’s to inform the membership of all of the details and to answer as best as we can any and all questions you may have regarding the final outcome of this round of bargaining.

We encourage all members to call and speak with a representative should questions of uncertainty or clarity be requested. I have added three documents for your reference regarding the process and settlement, please take the time to read each.

Background to the Settlement of the 2019-2023 Collective Agreement: please click here

Mediator’s Recommendations for the Renewal of the 2016 – 2019 Collective Agreement: please click here

LRB Decision Concluding Collective Bargaining: Case No. 71918: please click here

Fraternally,

Jordan Streng
Business Manager/Secretary Treasurer