BC Liberals join unions and industry against NDP “trampling workers’ rights”

Andrew Wilkinson

THE BC Liberals are joining workers, industry groups, and labour unions calling for changes to the NDP’s controversial Community Benefits Agreement (CBA).

“This so-called Community Benefits Agreement is a blatant political payoff to the NDP’s hand-picked union friends at taxpayers’ expense,” said BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson on Tuesday. “If you’re not lucky enough to be a part of one of the 19 unions that donated to the NDP, then you won’t be working on any public projects. We think that’s wrong and those restrictions need to be removed.”

“Not only does the Community Benefits Agreement require workers to join government-designated unions to work on public projects, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) estimates this will add as much as $4.8 billion to the cost of new bridges, schools and highways,” says Jobs, Trade and Technology Co-Critic Jas Johal. “This works out to approximately $4,000 in extra taxes for every family in British Columbia.”

“The unions and workers who aren’t on the NDP’s VIP list make up more than 80 per cent of the construction sector,” said Jobs, Trade and Technology Co-Critic Greg Kyllo. “Preventing British Columbians from working on public projects in their own province is reprehensible. The NDP needs to be working for everyone in B.C., not just their friends and donors.”

“As infrastructure project costs increase, there will be less money available for the services that British Columbians rely on,” added Labour Critic John Martin. “The NDP should be focusing on getting the best deal for British Columbians on every project. Instead, they’ve chosen to cater to political donors and freeze out the rest of the hard-working men and women across the province.”

The first Community Benefit Agreement is estimated to add $100 million to the cost of the Pattullo Bridge project, the equivalent of 2,500 new student seats in Surrey, according to the BC Liberals.