Some unions don't act like unions at all
- They don't protect the interests of their members.
- They don't come to your aid when you need help.
- Their agreements with employers protect the boss's rights, not member rights
- They tell their employers one thing, then tell their members something else.
Under BC labour law, there is a period of time each December when unions are permitted to "raid" other unions. This means they are allowed to approach union members and try to convince them to switch unions. During the annual raiding period, you might be hearing from some of these unions. It could be the International Carpenters who go by the name BC Regional Council of Carpenters. It could be their cousins, who go by the name CAST. It could be the painters union.
Here are some of the things you need to know to be able to understand what's going on during this period.
CMAW is an independent Canadian union
In 2007 BC's carpenters broke away from the international union and shifted all of the certifications to CMAW. We represent more than 90 per cent of the union carpenters currently working in BC, and we also represent many hundreds of construction workers in Alberta and Saskatchewan. CMAW is strong, and getting stronger.
Nobody in the USA is going to tell us what to do
These other building trades unions all get their marching orders from their international in Washington or Las Vegas. The International Carpenters even signs national contracts without giving local members a vote. That's just not right.
Unions of Convenience
Some of these unions, including the BC Regional Council of Carpenters promise contractors "complete freedom to sub-contract work". How does that benefit their members on the job?
How about an agreement that says, " ... may, by mutual agreement, in writing, amend or delete any terms or conditions of this agreement ..." Why have an agreement at all if it can be swept away without a vote of the members?
How about wording that says: "There shall be no formal or informal defined jurisdiction with respect to which employees in which employment classifications perform what portion of the work." Does that mean that anyone with a hammer is a carpenter and anyone with pliers is an electrician? Yessir!
Don't buy their line.
- They'll tell you their wages are better. Not true.
- They'll say their benefits are better. Not true.
- They'll say you'll have more control. Not true.
- They'll say you'll have more work. Not true.
- They'll say you'll have more training opportunities. Not true.
They won't tell you the following:
- Their local unions are under the thumb of their leaders in Washington, DC
- Their international officers can overturn decisions of your locally elected officers.
- Their pension contributions go to Washington, DC through their Toronto office.
- Their officers get gold-plated pensions.
- They can cancel your strike vote and send you back to the job.
- They can set aside elections of officers in your local union.
- They can put your local union under trusteeship – take control of your union.
- They take control of your strike fund, not your local officers.
- They sign agreements that have no 'local hire' provisions – no jobs for members from the community
- They decide whether you get strike benefits or not.
- They sign agreements that allow all your work to be subcontracted out.
- They do not believe in locally elected, democratically run local trade unions.
With CMAW you have:
- The highest wages in the country.
- The best benefit package available, with a fully funded pension controlled by your trustees.
- A growing union which represents 90 per cent of the unionized carpenters in BC
- A strong work picture in Western Canada, beyond the Olympics.
- A union supported and controlled locally by you, the member.
- A union which is in total control of its own finances and its own decisions.
- A union which provides $500 scholarships to its carpenter apprentices
Don't be conned.
Stay with the union that gives you strength and power.