A Fort St. John contracting company has been chosen as part of a partnership of companies that will build the main infrastructure for the Site C hydroelectric dam. Approximately 1,500 people will be working on main civil works at the peak of construction, and Site C will create opportunities for local, regional and Aboriginal businesses.
However, the B.C. building trades is not celebrating the naming of the preferred proponent for Site C’s $1.5 billion main civil works contract. According to the Building Trades, BC Hydro has selected a consortium, which does not include any BCBT affiliates and workers.
It’s no surprise that the Building Trades Unions are being critical of the preferred proponent for the main civil works contract at Site C.
It’s another blow for the outdated model in which big unions could count on cornering such work and no doubt another reason why building trades affiliates have come to represent such a small proportion of B.C. construction workers. Even with a union-preference clause built into the selection process, the building trades were, yet again, unable to put forward a competitive bid and could not convince the bidders to work with them. As a result, they’ll collect no dues from the workers doing this particular component of Site C work, which is likely the biggest reason for their disappointment. But, that hardly makes it a “bad decision for B.C.”, quite the contrary, in fact.
The Building Trades Unions should embrace the fact that the preferred proponent includes a local company from Fort St. John that has a local workforce and can be expected to maximize opportunities for British Columbians. The preferred proponent will hire skilled British Columbians and may even include workers, who are members of the building trades. This particular contract is another example of the open shop model working fairly and delivering good value for all of us as taxpayers, as it has for the past 30 years.