Who we are:
The Building Trades of Alberta is comprised of members just like you and the unions you proudly belong to.
We are 18 business managers from affiliate locals who give guidance and direction to the Executive Director and staff, who all believe strongly in the principles of organized labour, solidarity with all affiliates and membership, and expanding union market share in construction and maintenance throughout the province.
BTA has been a part of Alberta for more than 100 years and is a component of the larger Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) and North American Building Trades Unions (NABTU). With 18 Alberta local unions and more than 60,000 members across the province, BTA is one of the largest and most effective labour organizations in Canada.
We play a big role in a number of key areas, including health and safety; advocating for oil, gas and pipeline work for members; green infrastructure work for members; skilled trades training; shutdown and turnaround work; giving to charities and non-profits on behalf of members; government, media and public relations; attracting and retaining skilled trades workers to our unions; industry relations; gaining market share; boosting union density and more.
- BTA controls negotiations
- BTA sets negotiations groups
- BTA supports Homewood Health
- BTA advocates for wage reductions
- BTA signs collective agreements
- CLRA has eliminated earned hours and double time, not BTA
- Each local is autonomous and negotiates freely
- Bargaining groups are determined under provincial registration bargaining regulations
- BTA believes Homewood Health is not working for members and has built an alternative program that CLRA refuses to implement
- BTA is the Business Managers collective umbrella group that guides the Executive Director and staff to tackle common building trades issues, challenges and concerns
State of bargaining:
As you know, the past few years have been incredibly difficult and adversarial at the negotiating table with the Construction Labour Relations Alberta (CLRA).
The CLRA has been pushing for rollbacks, eliminated earned hours and double time, refuses to change Homewood Health (where the Building Trades has been pushing to bring in an alternative provider focused on the members’ wellness and not punishment), has stalled at the bargaining table and more.
Your business managers have been strong and have refused to give in to CLRA rollbacks this round of bargaining. Mangers are also pushing to increase wages and regain terms and conditions that eroded during the economic downturn. We will continue to stand in solidarity with members as we push hard for an agreement that reflects your value and worth and are currently exploring all options to get there.
BTA is non-partisan. That does not mean we are not political.
We believe political advocacy and engagement is critical as we continue to push all governments for policies that benefit union workers and push back when they don’t.
A good example of this is BTA’s Charter Challenge to a Regulation in the provincial government’s Bill 32 that restricts unions from giving back to the communities we live and work in and our belief that it doesn’t respect your Charter right to Freedom of Association and more.
BTA staff also participate on a number of influential boards and agencies that help direct decisions that affect unionized working people. Some examples are the Alberta government’s Jobs for Skills Task Force; Business Council of Alberta’s Define the Decade, and Advanced Education’s new Apprenticeship and Training Board.
BTA has developed strong and positive working relationships with all three levels of government (municipal, provincial and federal) as well to ensure the voice of unionized construction labour is heard by policy and decision makers as the decisions they make, directly affect you, your families and your livelihoods.
This advocacy has helped develop provisions in new provincial labour law that allow us to negotiate project labour agreements directly with owners and contractors, in turn helping us gain market share for our unions.
We’ve also been successful at promoting the value of social procurement at the municipal levels to help ensure city projects have a workforce that reflects the community they’re building in. This includes hiring local, new Canadians, Indigenous, women and apprentices for these jobs.
BTA is also pushing its social procurement advocacy with the provincial and federal governments as well.
The work Building Trades does to attract underrepresented groups to the unionized trades through campaigns like Path Forward, Indigenous Workforce Development Initiative and Supporting Working Parents, Solutions to Childcare Barriers in the Skilled Trades, means more underrepresented groups are being exposed to our unions and in turn, can fill increasing social procurement requirements to successfully obtain bids for our contractor partners. This means our unions gain market share and members get more work.
BTA is also working closely with new industries as they look to expand in Alberta, including Transpod’s FluxJet connecting Calgary and Edmonton. Also, X-energy’s Small Modular Reactor projects, looking to bring several reactors to the province. Both projects have MOUs signed or nearly signed with BTA for labour supply and that is because of work done early by BTA staff when word of the projects began circulating.
We have also been incredibly vocal on the federal government’s plans for a Just Transition and reaching net-zero by 2050. Regardless of your feelings on this, this change is coming and it will have a great impact on Alberta.
We believe strongly there is no such thing as a just transition without a just worker transition and this message is loud and clear in our lobby efforts. This means any green energy or infrastructure project coming forward must hire local, union labour and have the same rates of pay, pension and benefits that traditional oil and gas projects have paid or it will not be successful.
BTA’s number one goal is gaining market share. Everything we do, from our advertising, communications and government relations to our business and Indigenous development is done through the lens of obtaining more work for members.
We’re making good progress.
We ask that you help us get you more by becoming active and supporting the Building Trades of Alberta as it works to continue to get you on more jobsites. You can do this by dispelling myths, disregarding rumours and most importantly, reaching out to the Building Trades if you have any questions or comments on anything.
Remember, YOU are BTA.