Benefit agreements used since 1964

Re: “Coercing union membership goes too far,” editorial, July 27.

The editorial was woefully misinformed. Community-benefits agreements are not new and will not force any contractor to become unionized.

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First, the model has been used continuously since 1964 on every B.C. Hydro dam project (except Site C). The recently completed John Hart Generating Station Replacement in Campbell River, celebrated by the Times Colonist, used exactly the same model. Why is the Times Colonist suddenly so critical of community-benefits agreements?

Second, community-benefits agreements don’t force any contractors to become union. Union, non-union and employer-dominated union contractors all openly bid against one another. Whoever wins the bid remains union, non-union or employer-dominated before, during and after the project.

Third, community-benefits agreements are not biased in favour of Building Trades unions. The general contractor for the Vancouver Island Highway (the community-benefits agreement model in the 1990s) was JJM Construction, which is not a Building Trades contractor.

Community-benefits agreements ensure equal and fair bidding by all and guarantee opportunities for apprentices, Indigenous people and women workers.

Dave Holmes

President, B.C. Building Trades

Nanaimo

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