Welcome to the BTA Blog. We invite your feedback.
My name is Michael and I am the new Manager of Media and Public Relations here at the Building Trades of Alberta. I’ve been here for about a month now, getting my feet wet and learning who everyone is and I’m looking forward to meeting the rest of our 75,000 members. The role I am in is a new one here at the BTA and it’s one that I find very exciting because I get to talk with as many of our members who are willing to talk to me and then share their stories, comments, ideas or photos with the community at large.
I don’t want to take up too much of your time today (I’ll be back here every week) so I’ll just give you a quick rundown of the kinds of things you can look forward to seeing over the next few weeks and months here on the BTA website, on our Facebook page (like us!) and our Twitter feed (follow us!). Like I said, I want to engage as many of you as possible and I plan to do that in person as well as over the internet. I hope to get you to share stories that you’ve experienced on the tools, successes you’ve been a part of and thoughts that you may have about your life as a union tradesperson – check out the Question of the Week on the BTA homepage! It’s there to give you something to think about (maybe even talk about) and to let you know what your brothers and sisters are thinking about a variety of topics.
I won’t just be taking in stories from you, though. I’ll be sharing information that you can make use of as well. I’ll be offering ideas, suggestions and sometimes even discounts or partner deals from organizations that support the unionized construction trades and the great work that we do for this province. I’ll also be providing you with bits of information regarding the history of trade unions (This Week in Unions), what unions have accomplished for society (Thank Unions it's Friday) and also ways in which union membership (as well as membership in the BTA) benefits you.
I think that’s all I need to say for now, but remember to check back here each week – I look forward to talking with you.
If you want to learn more about any of the initiatives that I mentioned or to ask me anything with regard to me, social media or the work I’ll be doing here, please connect with me through my Facebook or Twitter accounts and I’ll be sure to respond.
Good Day Brothers and Sisters,
In 1984, the Canadian Labour Congress first declared April 28th as the “National Day of Mourning”.
This is the day we have come to recognize as the day we honour or pay tribute to those that have passed on, due to a workplace fatality or an occupational disease. Today marks the 31st anniversary of this somber occasion and it has come to be recognized as such, by over 80 nations worldwide. We pause to reflect on this day to ensure those that have lost their lives are not forgotten, but also to provide “hope” that we will eradicate workplace deaths and occupational diseases.
In 1991 Parliament enacted the “Workers Mourning Day Act” as follows:
Workers Mourning Day Act
S.C. 1991, c. 15
Assented to 1991-02-01
An Act respecting a Day of Mourning for Persons Killed or Injured in the Workplace
WHEREAS it is desirable that Canadians should designate a day of mourning to remember workers killed, disabled or injured in the workplace and workers afflicted with industrial disease;
AND WHEREAS Canadians seek earnestly to set an example of their commitment to the issue of health and safety in the workplace;
NOW, THEREFORE, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows: the Workers Mourning Day Act
It is interesting to read the second “whereas”, because it compels us to “earnestly” set an example of our responsibility and commitment to the issue of health and safety in the workplace. It presents each and every one of us with the opportunity to reflect on our personal commitment to health and safety in our industry. Are we really effective and diligent and do we earnestly do what we can to set an example. The only way we will accomplish our goal of eliminating occupational disease and putting an end to workplace injuries and fatalities is to make this personal commitment and then follow through.
In 2013 there were 188 workplace fatalities in Alberta. In 2014 that number decreased to 169 but is still higher than the numbers reported for 2010, 2011 and 2012. Across Canada we are recording well over 900 workplace deaths each year, on average, which works out to about two and a half deaths per day. And these are only the statistics that are reported and recorded. As proud as the Unionized Construction Sector can be about its record in regards to workplace safety there is no doubt Brothers and Sisters, we still have some work to do.
The purpose of recognizing the Day of Mourning is to bring national and global attention to this issue. That attention should breed some ongoing or lasting awareness, and that awareness needs to bring about action. So as you think about this day and engage in your everyday life I would ask that you reflect and converse with your colleagues and co-workers as to whether you are “earnestly setting an example of your personal commitment to workplace health and safety.”
Warren Fraleigh, Building Trades of Alberta
This is my initial foray into blogging! It is easy to suggest that we should just move with the times but, I always have a nagging feeling that we lose some of the art of communication between people by relying on “electronic” means. Who knows, this could grow on me and be a very effective tool.
I’d like you to know what I think about a number of things. For example, did you know that we have a dedicated program dealing with the Women of the Building Trades called Build TogetHER? The purpose of the program is to recruit women into apprenticeships in the skilled trades. Did you know that the Newfoundland and Labrador Building Trades has contributed enormous sums of money to Eastern Health in support of healthcare in that province? Did you know that the mesothelioma cancer program at Saint Margaret’s hospital in Toronto is heavily supported by contributions from the Insulators and a number of other Ontario Trades? I hope you know how generous your own local unions and the Building Trades of Alberta have been in its contribution to the Courage Centre at the Glenrose Hospital.
In fact, we are either a principal sponsor or a very significant contributor to an enormous variety of charities and good works. We do this because it is the right thing to do and not because we’re trying to seek credit; after all I’m sure your Mom, just like mine, told you that “a good deed is its own reward”. We don’t just give money to these sorts of causes we give our time, our consideration and quite often our labour. No one ever asks someone who got a meal, a helping hand or medical treatment to wear a union button or sing the praises of the union! Somehow, I believe that you do these things because you understand that it is building our communities and giving back to our fellow citizens. It is providing others with a hand up and not necessarily a hand out. In this way we are building Canada just as surely as we do on the job.
We’re going to start gathering these sorts of good news stories and give them some of the prominence that they deserve. Far too many people think unions are merely self-interested in whatever they do. Self-interested members who care only about themselves led by evil “union bosses” who care only about their own perks and power. At least part of the reason that people believe what they believe is because we have really been silent about her good works. We should celebrate the contributions that we make and the causes of that we espouse. Did you know, for example that many of the sponsorships that big business makes to charities are what is known as tied gifts? That means that perhaps something else has to happen before they will be called on to actually donate (the telethon has to raise $1 million, by the end of the month and then their promise will be met, if the charity only raises $$999,999.99 too bad, so sad) and the conditions around the donation require the charity to spend a lot of the donation on advertising the donor! We don’t do that, we give money and feel good because we helped.
It is time that we use what we do in support of our communities and fellow citizens to combat the virulence and malice of a number of the union haters. They know that if you tell a story and the butt of that story doesn’t respond then people believe that story is true. We’re going to let the truth speak for itself! Your good works are worthy of more than a little praise and your support to the community remains second to none – – – so take a bow and we’re going to get your story some prominence.
I guess this blog stuff is a lot like serials at the Saturday matinee when at least some of us were kids (I know, I’m exposing the fact that I am an old fogey) have to come back to find out how the story actually turns out. Stay tuned!!
For more information about Canada’s Building Trades Unions please visit their website at www.buildingtrades.ca/
Brothers and Sisters,
We’re about to embark on an exciting new path at the BTA—one that I hinted at back in September. On January 26, we’ll be launching our “Work a Better Life” campaign, a 12-week undertaking to raise our public profile and, hopefully, increase membership. Throughout this time, you may see the BTA on billboards, at your airport, and even hear about the BTA on the radio. The campaign’s home base will be www.WorkABetterLife.ca.
As I mentioned in September with the launch of our new website, we want the BTA to be the #1 resource for the industrial construction and maintenance industry. Careful plans and preparations for this campaign have been underway for a year to ensure that we are doing the best we can for the BTA’s public profile, and ultimately, to increase our ability to supply skilled trades persons to our projects..
This is the first time the BTA has taken on a campaign like this. We hope that you’ll work with us to support those looking to “Work a Better Life,” by spreading the word and by being open to discussion with curious potential members. A higher public profile gives us a chance to build and expand, to find greater numbers, opportunities, and successes. Please keep an eye out for the “Work a Better Life” campaign and tell your friends to do the same. And remember, you can stay connected to the BTA on our website, and on Facebook and Twitter.
Let’s make 2015 the BTA’s greatest year to date.
Fraternally and sincerely yours,
Warren T. Fraleigh
Executive Director of the Building Trades of Alberta
Brothers and Sisters,
As you may know, the 21 affiliated unions of the Building Trades of Alberta have been in negotiations for the 2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement since September of 2014. As the New Year approaches, and with ratification votes expected to take place through March/April of 2015, we wanted to provide an update on where the process stands and when more complete information about the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreements will be ready and available.
Similar to our process in 2011, we began the framework or multi-table bargaining process before each individual local started to negotiate the specific terms and conditions related to their individual trade. By all accounts, framework bargaining to date has gone well, and all of our local unions are currently engaged in ongoing negotiations at the trade-specific tables.
Right now, we believe finalized details about the 2015 CBA’s will be available in early March, once both the framework and trade-specific portions are complete.
It is important that members have the opportunity to make an informed decision on their ratification vote. The materials that will be made available to you in March will reflect that. The information you should receive will include the finalized CBA for your trade, a letter explaining the substantive changes in the common clauses of the framework agreement and a menu of frequently asked questions.
2014 has been an extraordinary year for our unions, members and industry and we would like to thank you for being at the heart of our success. From all of us at the Building Trades of Alberta, we hope that your Christmas Season is filled with happiness and joy for both you and your family, and we wish you all the best in the New Year.
Fraternally and Sincerely yours,
Warren T. Fraleigh
Executive Director of the Building Trades of Alberta and on behalf of the BTA Framework Bargaining Committee
Welcome to the “New” Building Trades of Alberta website and the inaugural launch of our industry blog. As Executive Director, I am pleased to bring this new website to life and kick off this next chapter in the journey of the Building Trades of Alberta. We live in an era of social media and online technology. Having an effective tool to communicate in a timely manner with our members, industry stakeholders, and business partners has never been more important.
We want our website to be the #1 resource and choice for information, initiatives, and industry news related to the industrial construction and maintenance industry. More importantly, we want our website to be to be the #1 resource for skilled trades jobs. We want visitors to be able to find the most up-to-date information and links to all the available career and job opportunities with our member trades unions and contractor partners.
We invite members of our construction community to contribute guest blogs. We want them to share their industry insights. Their opinions will help us gain perspectives and understandings important to our growth and ability to increase the level of service and benefits we offer to our members and clients.
Brothers and Sisters, friends, and guests, these are extremely exciting times for the BTA. We are continuing to grow our market share in a very busy industry that will provide jobs and economic security for our union members and their families for many years to come. With the volume of construction and maintenance activity projected in Alberta, our province is poised to be the world leader in resource development. The opportunities for the Building Trades of Alberta and our industry partners are limited only by our own ambition. As “The Skilled Trades Advantage”, we have invested heavily in state-of-the-art, world-class training centres offering unparalleled opportunities for training in leading edge technologies. Our training centres ensure that our members are the best trained, most skilled trades professionals available in the industry. Combined with our work ethic, pride in workmanship, and commitment to safety, we are providing a value proposition that is hard to ignore. And while the future is bright, we must not take anything for granted. Our competitors see the same opportunities. Their successes take work and food off our tables.
Please work with us. Help to spread the word that as members of the Building Trades Unions you will “Work a Better Life” and be part of the “The Skilled Trades Advantage.” Please visit our site frequently and recommend it to your friends.
www.buildingtradesalberta.ca is the #1 Resource for Skilled Trades Jobs! Fraternally and Sincerely yours,
Warren T. Fraleigh
Executive Director of the Building Trades of Alberta