August 26, 2015

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Hello again!

Do you know what the BTA does? As it turns out, despite all the great and important work that we do, one area that we have not been great at is sharing what it is that we do. I’d like to change that. Still being relatively new here, I have had the opportunity / requirement to learn about what we do. One of the most important ways I’ve learned about what we do is by working with the BTA mandate.

The goal of the mandate is to provide clarity around the purpose of the BTA and to lay out how the BTA achieves our objectives. Our mandate, clearly lays out the kinds of work that we do to support your locals as they work to secure jobs for you. Some people think that the BTA is focused on getting people jobs. We absolutely do that, but not in the literal sense. Your locals work with contractors and through the dispatch system to provide jobs for you. The BTA is out there every promoting the benefits of hiring our skilled trades professionals in order to help the locals get the jobs that they can then offer to you. We do that by working with owners, contractors and the government to secure opportunities for union work on current and upcoming projects, creating an environment in which union members can prosper.

The BTA supports industry partners and their initiatives that strive to guarantee the safest working environments for our members. Union sites have some of the best safety records in the world and the reason for that is because unions value members above profit. By ensuring that members are safe on site, we can ensure that members get home safely to their families and are able to work another day.

Advocacy is a huge part of the BTAs mandate: advocating and promoting the unionized construction, maintenance and fabrication industries in Alberta. We also work to develop long-term, successful working relationships with industry partners and government. This advocacy and promotion helps to gain market share which in turn provides more opportunities and jobs for building trades members.

As you know, the industry is changing and the workforce is aging, meaning more and more apprentices are needed to ensure that the work can get done. The BTA promotes education, training and apprenticeships that uphold the highest standards of certification that produce the best-qualified tradespersons available. This focus on quality and productivity helps to ensure demand for union labour in the future, which means securing jobs for current and future union tradespeople.

Why does the BTA do all this? Just like a union can provide a single voice for workers on a jobsite, the BTA provides a single voice for the building trades when interacting with industry partners and the government. Any partner has a good deal of incentive to listen to a voice that is 75,000 strong.

Finally, as I noted above, the BTA coordinate and promotes the interests of the 16 Alberta trade union who, in turn, work to promote and support the union members. Together, we all work to secure the best possible working conditions and quality of life for skilled workers and their families. To see the mandate in full, visit here.

So, who is the BTA? The BTA is all of us. All 75,000 hard-working and highly qualified members of our affiliated unions: everyone else you know working in the unionized skilled building trades in Alberta. We are your friends and your family. We are your Brothers and your Sisters. And together, we work to secure our future.

 Over the next few weeks and months, I will be returning to the topic of “What does the BTA do?” to provide you with more context, more information and more evidence of the value you get from being a member. But that’s enough of me talking for now. Tell me about a time when you or someone you know worked to promote the trades, to support a Brother or Sister or to perfect your skills. Let’s share your story. Email me at or reply in the comments below.


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