Our current provincial government introduced Bill 4, which would have allowed all employers and their employees the opportunity to work on public projects whether they were unionized or not.
Unfortunately, this legislation was not passed.
Most employees in Manitoba’s construction industry do not belong to a building trade union – by choice. These are skilled tradespersons working for employers who meet or exceed legislated safety standards, pay good wages, benefits, and strive for workplace and project excellence. This is why open tendering is necessary.
“Open Shop” describes a workplace where membership in a union is not a condition of employment. In construction specifically, this means an employer’s union status is not a factor when being awarded a construction contract. An Open Shop construction company can include non-union employees, unionized employees and/or an employee association working together.
Construction contracts should be awarded on the basis of merit. All qualified employers and their employees should be allowed to compete for work on a project regardless of union affiliation. This benefits both parties – when more contractors are able to participate, competition goes up, costs go down, and innovation and productivity increases.
In Manitoba, 73% of the construction industry is non-union workers. This sector includes small, medium and large businesses working on heavy civil, industrial, commercial and residential projects. These businesses and their employees have chosen to work without union representation to build our bridges, fix our roads and develop residential and commercial properties – all major construction work.
The majority of Manitobans agree with policies that support fair and open tendering. A 2016 poll conducted by NRG research group revealed the majority of Manitobans agreed it’s time for the Manitoba government to abandon the policy forcing non-union workers to pay union dues to be allowed to work in favour of one that protects choice.
Protect fair and open tendering.
Our Progressive Conservative government was moving in the right direction and we need to encourage them to finish what they started in legislating fair and open procurement for public work. As we approach the Provincial election, ask your representatives what their position is on open tendering. Learn more about the benefits of Merit Manitoba.