Time to Stand Up
Newfoundland and Labrador skilled trade workers are currently facing challenges equivalent to those faced by fishery workers in the 1990s after the collapse of the cod fishery and subsequent moratorium. After 15 years of a robust economy where thousands of highly skilled trade workers were employed on resource and commercial projects, Newfoundland and Labrador has thousands of trade workers unemployed, consequently unable to provide for their families and support their local communities.
The path forward to take us out of this situation will not be easy, and solutions will not be quick. However, Trades NL and our 18,000 members are committed to working collectively with the next government to turn the corner to a bright and prosperous future for our province, a future that will derive maximum employment benefits from both our natural resources and our provincial treasury resources. Our Resources has to reap Our Benefits!
When Newfoundlanders and Labradorians build our province, everyone benefits. History has demonstrated that there is a correlation between construction jobs and the economy. When the province achieved the highest number of construction jobs between 2012 and 2017, the provincial economy thrived. Accordingly, in recent years as the rate of employment among those same skilled trade workers decreased, our provincial economy continues to struggle. Every job created in construction results in up to seven spin-off jobs in the supply and service sector. And when our members are working, not-for-profit and other community organizations prosper too, as our members continue to be among the biggest philanthropists in our province, donating millions of dollars to our youth, healthcare, and the most vulnerable people in our society.
Over the past 30 years, skilled trade workers from the building trades played a key role in major projects that have contributed to growing the resource development sector in our province. Our members have constructed, fabricated, and maintained some of the most complex projects in the world, including oil, refinery, mining, processing, hydro, industrial and commercial facilities. Through all of this, we have developed a world-class skilled-trades workforce, while ensuring a focus on productivity and safety, which makes Newfoundland and Labrador workers the most sought-after workforce globally. Collectively, if we do not take immediate measures to retain these workers, they will be lost from our province forever.
Political Leaders Positions
Trades NL has written the Leaders of the four political parties soliciting the position of their Party on four issues important to members of the building trades and their families. Responses will be shared with our membership as they are received from the Political Leaders.
Your Turn, Ask Your Candidates
Now it is your turn, to respectfully ask similar questions to candidates in your districts seeking your VOTE!
ASK YOUR CANDIDATE, do they support the issues below which are important to you, your family, and your building trades family?
Ask Your Candidates
A primary consideration of resource development projects in our province is ensuring we receive maximum benefits for our residents. This has traditionally been achieved through a balanced approach which has included royalties accruing to the government when the project is operational; an equity stake in the project; and construction jobs for local residents, including strategies to increase the participation of women, indigenous, and other under-represented groups within the industry.
In recent years, we have seen a number of opportunities/potential opportunities lost from this province, including:
- Completion of maintenance/upgrade work at Come By Chance Refinery by workers from out-of-province/country;
- The Terra Nova FPSO refit (which has since been delayed) was planned for Spain;
- Bay du Nord FPSO planned to be constructed in Asia;
- Construction of the West White Rose topsides in Ingleside, Texas;
- Come By Chance Refinery Delayed Coker construction was planned for China;
- Maintenance work at IOC, Labrador West, regularly completed by out-of-province workers; and
- Voisey’s Bay Underground Expansion showing a significant presence of out-of-province workers.
This trend is very concerning for our organization, as we continue to see potential jobs for local skilled trade workers lost. Our 18,000 members and their families are advocating for the highest number of construction, fabrication, and maintenance jobs from all resource development projects, including oil, gas, mining, refining, processing, hydro, and wind.
Ask Your Candidate:
- What is your Party’s policy/approach to resource development projects?
- What process will your government adopt to ensure maximum construction jobs for our residents on future resource development projects?
- Are you committed to ensuring the highest number of construction, fabrication, and maintenance jobs for our residents in any future resource development projects? If so, please elaborate on your policy/strategy. If not, please explain your policy and commitment to this.
A Newfoundland and Labrador Benefits Agreement (NLBA) framework will prioritize the hiring of local residents, apprentices, indigenous workers, tradeswomen, and other underrepresented workers. This policy ought to be applied to public infrastructure projects, resources projects, and any other projects where public funds are used directly or indirectly.
Full implementation of an NLBA framework will ensure both economic and social benefits for the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador. This Best Value Procurement approach using an NLBA will safeguard maximum benefits from the project so that the full potential of public investments is received by the people of our province.
Complete details of Trades NL proposed NLBA framework can be found at www.tradesnl.com/NLBA.
Below are the elements and provisions of an NLBA:
- Priority hiring for qualified Newfoundland and Labrador residents;
- A 25% ratio of apprentices on all public infrastructure projects;
- A 14% ratio of women skilled trade workers;
- Hiring and training of indigenous and other under-represented skilled trade workers; and
- Monitoring, public reporting, and enforcement of provisions on all public-funded projects.
Ask Your Candidate:
- Will your government adopt a Newfoundland and Labrador Benefits Agreement strategy?
- Employment of Apprentices – Will your government institute a requirement on public infrastructure for an apprenticeship ratio of 25%?
- Employment of Women – Will your government institute a requirement for the hiring of at least 14% women on ALL public infrastructure?
- Indigenous Skilled Trade Workers – On a project-by-project basis, will your government institute a requirement that developers plan and execute the hiring and training of indigenous and other under-represented skilled trade?
- Hiring Priority – Will your government institute priority hiring for qualified Newfoundland and Labrador residents?
- Monitoring and Accountability – Will your government monitor all public projects for adherence to workforce provisions, public report results and hold developers accountable?
The Bull Arm Fabrication Site has been a cornerstone of the oil industry in our province since the completion of the Hibernia platform in the 1990s, and the Building Trades has been a major player in every project there, including site construction. Historically, the Bull Arm Site has been the jurisdiction of Trades NL workforce.
Ask Your Candidate:
- With the changing oil industry, particularly the possibility of increased deep-water development, please outline your plans for investment and development at Bull Arm, ensuring Newfoundland and Labrador continues to be positioned to avail of maximum work opportunities on current and new projects.
- What is your plan to ensuing Bull Arm remains a world-class facility as part of our provincial infrastructure, available for major and minor project work for any industry sector?
Many of our province’s skilled trades workers spend considerable money traveling to and from their job sites, as well as purchasing the tools they are required to have on the site.
Ask Your Candidate:
- Will you commit to implementing a Provincial Income tax deduction/benefit/credit for skilled trades workers as a means of offsetting some of the many personal expenses they incur in their trade?
- No Response received from NL Alliance Party Leader Graydon Pelley
CALL TO ACTION:
As Building Trade Members & Voters, Ask Your Candidate
Do They Have Your Back?
Become familiar with our priorities & your priorities
- Take Action – talk to your local candidate about building trade issues, and see where they stand on skilled trade issues, most importantly jobs
- Share Information – share information from our Ask Your Candidate website, inform others of our important issues, and share/retweet key messages on social media
- Vote – On February 14th exercise your democratic right to vote for the individual candidate which aligns with your values, issues important to skilled trade workers in Newfoundland & Labrador.