TRADES NL CALLS ON PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT TO SUPPORT SKILLED TRADE WORKERS

Thursday, March 28, 2019

News Release

TRADES NL CALLS ON PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT TO SUPPORT SKILLED TRADE WORKERS

With an upcoming provincial budget, the Building Trades of Newfoundland & Labrador (Trades NL) are calling on the Provincial Government to support skilled trade workers and their families.  Representing over 18,000 skilled trade workers from all across the province, Trades NL is asking the provincial government to address five priorities that will assist members in securing increased work opportunities.

“Given the slowdown in the construction industry and increase in unemployment among skilled trade workers, there are areas where we can work together with government to increase work opportunities for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, ensuring maximum benefits to our people.”

  • Darin King, Executive Director, Trades NL

Community Benefit Agreements

Trades NL is asking government to follow the lead of other provincial governments across the country by implementing Community Benefit Agreements (CBA’s) on public infrastructure projects.  CBA’s will set out hiring provisions to help sustain our skilled trades workforce by including provisions for fair wages, hiring of local qualified residents, apprentices, females and indigenous workers.  We commend government on their infrastructure strategy to invest $2.5 billion dollars over the next 5 years.  Now, we encourage government to take it a step further to ensure our people receives the maximum benefit from this infrastructure. Public projects paid for by the Newfoundland and Labrador tax payers should maximize the benefits to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Provisions to Hire Apprentices, Females & Under-Represented Workers

Trades NL is asking government to implement a provincial strategy for the inclusion of apprentices, females and other underrepresented workers on public infrastructure projects.  BuildForce Canada forecasts that 5,000 skilled trade workers will leave the construction industry over the next 10 years.  This is a great opportunity to promote a career in the skilled trades.  Currently, there are no provisions on publicly tendered projects to ensure diversity and the development of our workforce.

Strategic Infrastructure Strategy

Trades NL is encouraging government to expand their multi-year infrastructure strategy so that it dovetails with other resource development projects, in an effort to maintain a steady flow of work opportunities.  Too often, we face a boom-bust scenario where there is a high volume of work, with multiple infrastructure projects happening simultaneously, followed by a dramatic downturn.  Proper planning and staggering of provincial infrastructure projects with resource development projects, would provide a better opportunity for workforce development and long-term work opportunities.

Indigenous Skilled Trades Office

Trades NL have development positive partnerships with the Innu Nation and other indigenous organizations.  As part of this partnership, we are seeking financial support from the provincial government to establish a skilled trades office in Labrador to provide an important service to indigenous workers and workers from the northern communities.  The office will promote skilled trades as a viable career choice, coordinate training opportunities, register all skilled trained workers, mentor workers using a case-managed approach, seek employment opportunities and represent workers in the workforce.  Currently, indigenous and northern workers are only focused on a few trades and are in entry level positions.  Through the proposed skilled trades office, we want to see indigenous and northern workers represented in all trades and further their careers so that they become journeypersons or red sealed, opening opportunities to become leaders and supervisors on job sites.

Financial Support for Skilled Trade Workers

Trades NL is asking government to implement a tax credit or tax deduction for skilled trade workers, similar to what is available to other careers.  Skilled trade workers expend considerable personal financial resources annually to continue their employment through travel, meals, accommodations, tools and certification renewals.

Trades NL has developed a skilled workforce from communities all across our province that is very productive, highly trained and extremely safe.  Exxon Mobile is continuing to be recognized for the Hebron project, where our members worked over 42,000 million hours without a lost time work incident.  At the West White Rose project in Argentia, Husky is impressed with the ethic of the workforce and is indicating that for every worker out there, is doing the job of one and a half workers on similar mega projects around the world.

“Our members have built and provided maintenance on local commercial facilities, as well as some of the world’s biggest mega projects.  We have developed the expertise and capacity which is globally recognized.  Our members and their families are asking the provincial government to recognize our work and assist us in securing work opportunities by addressing our five priorities in their budget.”

  • John Leonard, President, Trades NL

– 30 –

Trades NL is an umbrella labor organization which promotes and coordinates the interests of 16 building and construction trades unions, their international affiliates, and more than 18,000 trades workers in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

Media Contact:

Corey Parsons

Manager of Communications & External Affairs

709-832-5116

cparsons@tradesnl.com

 

2019 03 28