Update from CLAC

For CLAC, 2018 will be remembered as a year of extremes.  In some parts of the country CLAC’s membership reached all-time highs.  In other parts of the country CLAC membership slipped to 10-year lows.  Political events have resulted in some of the most dramatic legislative developments in a generation, with incredibly significant implications for CLAC.  Through it all CLAC achieved some of our greatest accomplishments.  Here are just a few of these extremes in more detail:

1) New highs – CLAC membership in Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia achieved record highs this year.  Growth in these provinces was largely fueled by organizing new members and strong activity in the construction sector.  We anticipate continued growth in all three provinces through the year 2019.

2) Remarkable lows – CLAC membership in Alberta and Saskatchewan, both resource-based economies, struggled in the face of continued stress in the resource sector.  Canada has huge oil reserves, but the oil transportation system is limited and restricts us to selling to one customer only – the United States of America.  Unfortunately basic economic principles have proven accurate, and as a result Canadian oil has been selling at an extreme discount.  For example, in November, when the global price of oil was nearly $60/barrel, Canadian oil was being sold to American customers for $12/barrel.  This had devastating impacts on the economies of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and as a result many CLAC members suffered.

3) Bad political events – The provincial government in British Columbia made a shocking decision this past summer to inforce new rules that restrict access to publically funded infrastructure construction projects to unions that are supportive of the government.  CLAC, being strictly non-political, was targeted by the government, and, as a result, our members have lost access to working on the very projects their tax dollars pay for.  This government intervention is the most extreme abuse of government power that we have witnessed in a generation and has forced CLAC to take legal action against the government.  The government’s actions violate Canada’s charter of rights and freedoms, the ILO’s Convention on the Freedom of Association and many forms of natural justice.  Our hope is that relief will come quickly so that our members, and all others who have been victimized by the British Columbia government, are able to continue providing for themselves and their families by working on these projects.

4) Good political events – Meanwhile, far to the east of British Columbia in the province of Ontario a new provincial government is taking quick action to correct some glaring wrongs.  In particular, the Ontario government, led by Premier Doug Ford, recently introduced new legislation to restore fairness in the procurement of public infrastructure projects in municipalities.  The legislation will have the effect of opening huge new construction markets to CLAC members, an initiative that CLAC has been lobbying government for many years.  We are so thankful and optimistic about the impacts this will have for our construction members in Ontario.

5) Big accomplishments – In the first two weeks of December, CLAC achieved two of the largest successful representation votes in CLAC’s history.  In Alberta, CLAC organized nearly 800 security screeners at the Calgary International Airport.  A week later, in Ontario, CLAC organized a very large healthcare centre with hundreds of new members.  There are several more large organizing drives underway that may further grow CLAC’s membership.  We are so thankful for the support we have received from these new members, and look forward to serving them as members of the CLAC family.

6) Other big news – Several months ago, after years of preparation, LNG Canada, a large liquefied natural gas partnership, announced their final investment decision to build a new LNG facility on Canada’s west coast.  With a price tag of over $40 billion, this is the largest single private sector investment in Canadian history.  CLAC members will build a large portion of this project, which will provide construction work for many years to come.
These are but a few of the remarkable developments that have kept the staff and members of CLAC busy in Canada.  We remain thankful for the support of all our members and the incredible dedication of our CLAC staff.  Together we are achieving great things in the Canadian labour movement.  We are proud to be the fastest growing union in Canada, and we look forward to many more successes in the years ahead.

About WOW

WOW was founded as a Social Christian trade union and finds inspiration in the spiritual believe that man and universe were created by God or by persuasions coinciding with that. The increase of intercultural contacts provided opportunities for the WOW to expand and broaden its view with visions of other religious backgrounds. WOW does so in a joint attempt to build a world community based on freedom, dignity, justice and solidarity.

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