Monday, September 15, 2008

Carpenters Union Defines Business Unionism

Faced with corporatist labour management counsultants from CLAC who promote collaboration with Merit Shops (non-union open shops in construction trades) the Carpenters Union are promoting themselves as the alternative.

Contrary to the article below this is not new at all its the return of Gomperism...the Carpenters Union see's its business partners as 'clients' and see's its role as a partner in capitalism, selling labour to the highest bidder. So long Class War.

The worst crime against working people is a company which fails to operate at a profit
The more thoroughly the workers are organized and federated the better they are prepared to enter into a contest, and the more surely will conflicts be averted. Paradoxical as it may appear, it is nevertheless true, that militant trade unionism is essential to industrial peace.

What we have endeavored to secure in industrial relations is industrial peace.

Samuel Gompers President, American Federation of Labour
After all Peter McGuire, Gompers pal, was the Canadian born President of the Carpenters Union, and he and Sam gave us Labour Day to undermine the more radical May Day which arose after the Haymarket Massacre. So the idea of selling labour to the highest bidder is nothing new for the Carpenters Union. Just as business unionism has always clashed with those who believe that the purpose of unions of workers is to challenge capitalism.

What is interesting in this story as well is that their centre is Green...that is it uses geothermal energy in oil rich Alberta. Now did they also build with recycled components?

Carpenters build for construction boom
Union unveils $21M west-end facility for training, updating workers
David Finlayson, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Friday, September 12

EDMONTON - A $21-million new training centre and talk of long-term partnerships with "clients" -- welcome to the carpenters union of the new millennium as it positions itself as a major stakeholder in the booming construction industry.

"Times have changed, and we're not the union of old," says Martyn Piper, executive secretary-treasurer of the

Alberta Regional Council of Carpenters and Allied Workers, which has 11,500 members.
"First and foremost we represent our people, but we also provide a service for our clients.

"They want safe and productive people when they need them, and our new training centre will help us do that."

The geothermally heated and cooled west-end centre will provide training and updating for carpenters, scaffolders, millwrights, industrial roofers and floor layers, and interior systems installers -- all in high demand amid the frantic oilsands and other industrial construction activity.

While the priority is to train Alberta's young people, scaffolders are in such short supply the union has brought in 2,500 workers from across Canada, as well as the U.S. and the U.K.

Already, 450 Americans are at various northern Alberta sites and that will rise to 1,000 in the next few weeks.

The union has a working relationship with its Irish counterparts to bring people over on temporary worker permits, and Piper soon will be going on a recruiting trip to England.

They've worked hard with Ottawa to smooth out the entry system, but it's still a slow process, he says.

Scaffolding's become an important job as large industrial complexes recognize the need to give workers a safe working platform, Piper says, and the new training shop is arguably the best in the world, certainly the best in North America.

It's a three-year apprenticeship, and many workers enrol in both the carpentry and scaffolding programs, he says.

In the millwright shop, workers can learn how to install and service a giant, modern hydrogen compressor donated by Petro-Canada.

The centre, which can accommodate about 200 trainees on any given day, consolidates five separate facilities the union had around the city, including administrative offices.

There's plenty of room on the site for expansion as needed, Piper says.

The new partnership and training philosophy came from the union's Washington, D.C-based international president Douglas McCarron, who believes it has to be run like a business for the best interests of the industry as a whole.

The Edmonton centre is a smaller version of one built in Las Vegas by McCarron, here today for the official opening.

Piper says changing times for unions call for new approaches, especially with the number of open-shop contractors in Alberta, and the inroads being made by the Christian Labour Association of Canada.

"They are exciting -- and challenging -- times. And we believe we have a functional, modest facility that meets the needs of industry and which our members can be proud of."

© The Edmonton Journal 2008


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