News Release


October 4, 2019 – Upon visiting the Towns of Labrador City and Wabush this week, Trades NL saw first-hand the many missed employment opportunities for Newfoundland & Labrador skilled trades workers as a result of the employment of many out-of-province workers.

“After being on the ground in Labrador West and speaking to many people, it is hard to believe what you are seeing happen there.  When we have such a high unemployment rate in this province, local apprentices that can not get employment in their region to continue their training, and to see more out of province contractors and licence plates than Newfoundland and Labrador licence plates, you quickly realize that the province is missing the opportunity to take care of our residents first.”

  • John Leonard, President, Trades NL

Trades NL members were in Labrador West meeting with local officials, mining companies, local contractors and the United Steelworkers union to develop relationships and share information on the NL FIRST campaign.

“We received a consistent message from people of the region that they fully support our NL FIRST – Our Resources, Our Benefits campaign where we are advocating for more construction opportunities for local contractors and skilled trade workers.  Labrador West is an area of opportunity in our province with two active mines in IOC and Tacora, and many spin-off industries. With many unemployed skilled trades workers now, and over 2,000 more workers finishing up at Muskrat Falls and the West White Rose projects, the province needs to use the opportunities in Labrador West to assist Newfoundland and Labrador residents to find construction jobs.”

  • Darin King, Executive Director, Trades NL

The provincial economy is dependent on a strong construction industry which provides well-paying, and rewarding careers.  As we have seen in the last 10 years, when Newfoundland and Labrador skilled trade workers were working, the provincial economy was doing very well and other industries benefited from construction workers disposable income.  Now, with an increasing unemployment rate among construction workers, the provincial economy is lagging.

Right now, NL is experiencing a lull in construction leaving many skilled trade women and men out of work or having to leave the province. As a result, Trades NL launched the NL FIRST – Our Resources Our Benefits campaign advocating to the provincial government to do more to ensure Newfoundland and Labrador residents receive first consideration to work on projects in the province and from our resources. Further information on the campaign can be found at

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Trades NL is an umbrella labour organization which promotes and coordinates the interests of 16 building and construction trades unions, representing more than 18,000 skilled trades workers in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Our members are highly qualified, very productive and extremely safe.

Media Contact:

Corey Parsons

Manager of Communications & External Affairs