Anode Bake Furnace (ABF) Maintenance-UNIFOR Grievance

Refraco, a non union company from Quebec has been working as a subcontractor within Rio Tinto maintaining the ABF. This work used to be Unifor Plant employees including mill masons. UNIFOR has a Labour Board hearing soon in the north over their grievance with Rio Tinto sub contracting work after the plant was handed over to them at the completion of the KMP. This will determine what our next steps will be in solidarity with UNIFOR in Kitimat.

Potline Maintenance Update

The local has taken bold steps to figure out what has been going on at the Smelter in Kitimat. Many members and legitimate contractors have been involved in helping to secure this work for our members. The work amounts to hundreds of thousands of hours of work over the decades ahead. Using techniques known as “salting” we have proven that the company SL & B is indeed hiring people off the street and training them with bricklayers who do not understand the meaning of union. The company has an all employee certification with the Labourers/Teamsters Poly Party Constitution. This company is paying untrained uncertified and unskilled workers to lay brick and to attempt to re and re pots in-situ. I understand that it may not be going too well. Stay tuned. Rio Tinto may have to make a critical decision shortly.


We are at the Labour Relations Board Every day this week and next conducting trade level bargaining and main table bargaining. Trades are exchanging and discussing proposals/demands. As Secretary Treasurer of the Bargaining Council Geoff Higginson along with Bargaining Council President Al Phillips (UA) and alternate Brian Zdrillic (Millwrights) are assisting and or sitting in on trade level talks to help coordinate bargaining. News will be posted here and in our next newsletter as it becomes available.

Hiring According to Our Bricklayers Standard Industrial Agreement

Please note this letter sent to clra via email re hiring.
For CLR Rep Chris Mydske's response scroll to bottom.  
Top of this post is his letter to CLRA contractors.
Please take Note!

From: Chris Mydske 
Sent: February 11, 2019 11:58 AM
To: Chris Mydske <>
Subject: Name Request, Clearance Slips/Lists – Non Local #2 members
Importance: High

Hi everyone,

I recently received an email from Geoff Higginson from the IUBAC Local #2. The email was putting CLR on notice that he believes certain aspects of the collective agreement are not being followed by a number of contractors. He didn’t provide me with any specific instances and has not filed any grievances so far. However, he has indicated to me that if there are further issues he will be filing grievances and looking for financial remedies. The specifics are outlined below.

  1. Under article 11.02 of the Collective Agreement, all employees must be members of the union in good standing and must be cleared by the union prior to commencing work. Before you start a job you should be emailing the union a list of the Employees you are hiring for a specific project. They can then review the list and make sure they are members in good standing. Please ensure that you are doing this if you are not already.
  1. Under the hiring provisions in the collective agreement you must hire union members from Local #2 to do work in B.C. As I understand it, there have been times when Geoff has allowed you to hire non-members, for example members of the IUBAC in Alberta. Please be advised that we need to consult with the union and get approval prior to doing this. If we do not get approval and the union files a grievance there could be a significant financial liability to your organization. As such, I would strongly suggest that you contact the union prior to hiring anyone who is not already a union member. You can also contact me and if you would like me to facilitate the conversation on your behalf.
  1. Just a reminder that work which falls under the traditional scope of the Bricklayer is supposed to be done by union members. Management personal, Superintendents, etc., are not supposed to be working on the tools. Although I understand this may happen from time to time due to unforeseen circumstances, we should be trying to avoid it wherever possible.

Please ensure that we are following these aspects of the collective agreement as there is likely to be a lot more scrutiny put on this going forward. Any questions, please let me know.


Chris Mydske | Director, Labour Relations

Construction Labour Relations Association of BC  

97 Sixth Street, New Westminster, BC V3L 5H8

Despite my repeatedly bring the issue up with both you and your signatory contractors, there continues to be an ongoing and serious failure of these contractors to send us name requests lists prior to their employment on any project in British Columbia. Clause 11.102 clearly states that “All employees must be a member in good standing of the Union. Employees shall present a clearance slip to the job steward prior to commencement of work, and such clearance shall include confirmation of the Employee’s membership status.”
To be clear, our collective agreement requires that all employees must be members of this Local, as opposed to a Local from another province, and must be cleared prior to starting work. All non-members of the Union (IUBAC Local #2 BC) are outside of the scope of hiring in the Bricklayers Standard Industrial Agreement.
On occasion, and when necessary, we have been very flexible with enabling non members to work when the situations such as lack of union workforce available or specialty crews required, warranted the enabling of non members.
However, it is clear this flexibility is being taken advantage of, and your contractors are openly breaching the collective agreement by bringing in out-of-province bricklayers without first clearing it with me.
This email is to notify the CLR and its signatory contractors that all future breaches of Clauses 11.101 and 11.102 will be met with grievances. If your contractors fail to send name request lists of hires to the union hall or me, prior to an employee starting, such that a prospective employee can present a clearance slip from the Local to the job steward, then said contractors will be considered to be in non-compliance with the agreement. As remedy for such breaches we will seek damages equivalent to every hour worked (Blouin Drywall
Additionally, until we have full compliance with this, I do not anticipate looking favourably on any request to employ non-members of the Local (this would include out-of-province members of the IU).
Finally, any supervision brought to the job are management only and are not allowed to touch the tools or enter the vessels other than to inspect the work. Foremen are required to be members of the Local. We will not enable any out-of-province foremen.
Again to reiterate, Employers must provide us with name requests (which may only include members of this Local) in advance of the start of a job, in order that clearance slips can be provided. If this procedure is followed, and there remain supply issues, then, and only then, will the Local consider enabling the Agreement to allow for out-of-province members of the IU to be employed. Supervision above the level of foremen are not allowed on the tools. Any future disregard of these provisions of the Standard Agreement shall be met with grievances and damage claims for equivalent wages and benefits.
I request that you apprise each of your contractors of the Local’s position and I sincerely hope compliance shall follow.

Geoff, as we discussed the other day I don't believe that you have ever brought this issue to my attention before. You certainly haven't brought it to my attention repeatedly as you state below. Regardless, I will send a communication to the signatory contractors reminding them of their obligations under the Collective Agreement. Thanks. Chris