Feature story from the Spring 2010 Newsletter:
Our union is committed to protecting, promoting and enhancing the trades we represent in every possible way. In response to member and contractor demand for better training and opportunities in the area of scaffolding, our CMAW Training Committee has been busy finalizing details to introduce a professional scaffolding certification, this year.
CMAW president, brother Jan Noster, says that professional certification will ensure that members receive the utmost level of training, and also provide contractors with the reassurance they've been demanding. "Certification will help make our union stand out among others, since no such thing currently exists in B.C. It makes our members more marketable," says Noster.
While safety is paramount in all building trades, scaffolding obviously affects the many workers who use it to move from one level of a project to the next.
"Both workers and contractors want to feel secure in knowing that when scaffolding is erected that it's safe and secure for everyone," Noster says.
Noster also says that while scaffolding is obviously an important skill, a long-time challenge has been that it is not recognized as a stand-alone trade. To date, under the jurisdictional assignment of building trades, scaffolding falls under carpentry.
"While unions are all for recognizing it as its own separate trade, and contractors and members like the idea," Noster reports, "the concept has always been squelched by large nonunion general contractors." Our CMAW Training Committee had to therefore look to develop scaffolding certification that would fit into this recognized trade category.
Our training committee is also aware that while some members have been working strictly as scaffolders, many of our carpenters perform both jobs.
With this understanding, CMAW's plan was to structure certification that would work as an add-on to the Red Seal Journeyman Carpenter Certification.
For those long-time carpenters who have also have many years of scaffolding experience, the committee is looking at a grandfathering component.
"We're looking at providing these members with scaffolding certification after performing some form of test. We're still ironing out the details of how this will work," says Noster.
To make sure the actual training components of our scaffolding certification program would leave nothing to question, CMAW also consulted with contractors.
"Our goal was to provide members with the best qualifications for the job," says Noster. "Obviously, the more skills members have, the more likely a contractor is to work with us, and the more opportunity our members have to be consistently employed.
Members are advised that our CMAW Training Committee is committed to keeping members informed of training developments through upcoming issues of The Write Angle and also through union locals.
Watch for details.