Jobless NB tradespeople chase Christian Labour Association imports back to Alberta

12 posts / 0 new
Last post
Jobless NB tradespeople chase Christian Labour Association imports back to Alberta

Wonderful story!

[url=Saint"> John protests force Alberta workers to head home[/url]


Contract workers brought from Alberta to staff a New Brunswick energy project have retreated in the face of loud protests by local residents furious at what they viewed as carpetbaggers taking scarce jobs.

Protesters massed repeatedly this week outside the workers' hotel in Saint John, at times at odds with an injunction to keep their distance. [...]

Paul de Jong, Alberta provincial director with the Christian Labour Association of Canada, said his union, which represents a number of the affected workers but has no standing under New Brunswick legislation, was trying yesterday to get in touch with its members to offer assistance. However, he said, the employer was being tight-lipped with information about their whereabouts, numbers and skill sets in order to protect worker safety.

“Unfortunately, it's been a very uncivilized protest if not downright unsafe,” he said, “I hope some calmer minds will prevail.” [...]

“It's immoral … if our tax dollars are good enough to subsidize it, we're good enough to work there,” said Andrew Dawson, regional representative of the Canadian Building and Construction Trades Association. “We have oodles of unemployed tradesmen that are more than capable and willing to do this work.”

Feel the power of the workers!


bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Here is a nice introductory piece for those who have never heard of CLAC before.


Good christian workers taking the food off other people's table - repent.



Protesters who repeatedly massed outside workers' hotel insist jobs should go to New Brunswickers.


I don't understand what is wonderful about it. Based on those reports, this is more a local-vs-foreigner issue rather than union vs. non-union. Their "my city, my job" slogan appears to be openly racist:

(From CBC report here ):

"The heart of the matter has always been our jobs for our city," said Duncan. "Just utilize the local workforce, whether they be union or non-union."


If they think like that about an Albertan, I as a non-European immigrant will not dare showing my face there!


Good point Sanizadeh. We should all have a right to employment. If I as an ottawan move to Victoria BC, I'd hope to be as accepted as I am of a Victorian coming to look for work in Ottawa.


I wouldn't call it racist though, but rather regionalist. Prejudiced and discriminatory none-the-less, just a different sort of discrimintation.


I haven't seen one bit of evidence that the protestors are in any way xenophobic, racist, protectionist, or regionalist.

The issue is not that the workers are from Alberta. The Saint John workers are pissed that the workers being brought in are either non-unionized, or members of CLAC. CLAC is an organization that is notorious for undercutting other unions in Alberta and elsewhere, and for being in cahoots with management.

sanizadeh wrote:

If they think like that about an Albertan, I as a non-European immigrant will not dare showing my face there!

Maybe you should read up on the story a little bit more before you start making wild accusations about the character of working people in New Brunswick.


Actually, anyone who thinks this is about racism or xenophobia should probably be posting in another forum, besides needing to examine their ability to analyze simple news events.



You could be right, but I was making that judgement based on protesters and their supporters own words that "The heart of the matter has always been our jobs for our city; Just utilize the local workforce, whether they be union or non-union." or that "it was for our guys to get the jobs instead of bringing in these foreigners from out of town" (both quotes from CBC report). I wish the protesters had made clear that CLAC was the focus of their protest, not the origin of the workers. I take back my comment if I have misunderstood their intentions.


Sanizadeh, CLAC is not the "focus" - it is mass unemployment of unionized skilled trades people, who see an outside contractor being used on a local project bringing his own non-unionized workforce with him from outside - not only taking jobs which would normally go to local trades, but undermining their wages, benefits, and ultimately their unionization. It is offensive to workers on many fronts - not because they feel ethnically superior to Albertans!!! Apparently SNC Lavalin allowed the contractor to bring in 25% non-union trades.

If I were laid off from my plant, and the employer brought in contract non-union strangers to do my work (even if they were from the same town!!), you don't think I'd be in the street with placards and shouting? I trust you'd do the same.



Unfortunately, there is little new here.  Change "Saint John" to Kitimat, go back a decade and you have a mirror situation. 

At a major industrial plant in Kitimat, an expansion took place.  Methanex contracted with Ledcor, who with CLAC and Alberta tradespeople in hand moved in.  At the time there were many unemployed tradespeople on the outside looking in.  The Carpenters engaged in a huge community effort to push for union jobs and local hire (why shouldn't those who live in a community have first dibs on jobs in that community?).  For the Carpenters, the effort was successful as Methanex forced Ledcor to subcontract all of the work in its jurisdiction to local Kitimat contractors.

Part of the issue was lower wages, part was inferior benefits.  The CLAC "health and welfare package" did not include (as example) such features as travel costs which were essential for northerners.  The pension was a joke - a $.25 an hour into a group RRSP (Methanex also forced Ledcor to double the contribution for all of its won employees.  The real love affair companies like Ledcor have for CLAC however is its complete lack of diligence on issues such as safety.

Never be fooled into thinking that there is a solid constituency of CLAC supporters.  Ledcor, a huge company, was certified by CLAC based upon the first 17 workers on a Vancouver jobsite.  Peter Kiewit, an even larger contractor, was organised by a a CLAC predecessor union ("purchased" later by CLAC) based upon 6 employees working under a bridge.  The real difficulty is that craft unions are virtually barred from raiding by the interpretations of the Code in BC (not to mention other manipulations of the law, but that is a very long story).  Nor are the NB and Kitimat experiences isolated.  Just last year in Cornwall on a hospital project the same thing happened.

CLAC is not a union.  There is not a thread of democracy in its structure.  CLAC is not good for workers - it is a prison that offers much more to employers then to any worker.  It is a blight and The NB, Kitimat and Cornwall experiences will be repeated until the law recognises its illegitimacy. 


Speaking as a Saint Johner, Unioinist seems to have got the situation that transpired well summarized in #8.


I agree Caissa.  It is very descriptive of the feelings in Kitimat at the time.