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February 16, 2017
Some of you may have seen that the Supreme Court of Canada, on February 2, ruled against Merit Contractors on a case involving union membership at Manitoba Hydro. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out here.
This was a positive note for organized labour, to see that the courts were willing not only to protect the rights of workers and but to protect the role of the union in providing that protection and ensuring that workers are all treated equitably. In fact, the courts felt so strongly that what Merit was arguing did not serve the public interest that Merit was forced to pay all costs, including those incurred by Manitoba Hydro and the unions involved (Insulators, Electricians and Operating Engineers).
Merit had been fighting this case for the last five years, at the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, Manitoba Court of Appeal and finally, at the Supreme Court of Canada.
From its very beginning, Merit Contractors has functioned to try to weaken unions and remove them from the construction industry altogether, and one of their main focuses is on getting labour legislation changed in order to remove protections for workers. They tried this in Manitoba and failed. They attacked the legislation in Nova Scotia in 2014. They tried to bully the Alberta Government into making changes to their programming by posting an open letter to the Premier last year.
We need to remember that we do not work in a vacuum. While the unionized building trades works to keep members employed, safe and well-trained, groups like Merit are working to destroy what our Locals have worked to build. We need to ensure that our government knows we are here and we are strong. If you haven’t contacted your MLA yet and shared your thoughts, please do so. Click here to look up your MLA if you are not sure who they are. If you don’t know what to talk about, the BTA can help. We built a policy book that lays out the things we are fighting for and we are always looking for ways to add your voice to ours to ensure we get heard.
Together we are strong and together we can help ensure a prosperous tomorrow.