Ford gets it right with this change in labour law

The Hamilton Spectator - - Opinion -

Reg­u­lar read­ers will know we’re not huge fans of much of Doug Ford’s con­ser­va­tive agenda. But his gov­ern­ment has got­ten some things right, and this week it did so again with labour law changes that could save Hamilton tax­pay­ers mil­lions.

One change con­tained in an om­nibus bill in­tro­duced this week means that the City of Hamilton would no longer be bound by a labour board de­ci­sion grant­ing ex­clu­sive rights to all city car­pen­try work to mem­bers and af­fil­i­ates of the United Brother­hood of Carpenters and Join­ers of Amer­ica.

That deal ef­fec­tively gave the union a mo­nop­oly over city work, and en­sured there would be lim­ited or no com­pe­ti­tion. The ju­ris­dic­tional vic­tory was le­git­i­mate when ren­dered back in 2005, but from a tax­payer ben­e­fit and com­mon sense per­spec­tive it never made sense. Why elim­i­nate com­pe­ti­tion for car­pen­try work paid for with pub­lic money?

Lo­cal politi­cians say that the change will open up bid­ding to a much wider field of po­ten­tial con­trac­tors. Un­der the cur­rent rules, non-union­ized con­trac­tors, or those af­fil­i­ated with dif­fer­ent unions, are ex­cluded from even en­ter­ing a bid.

The On­tario Fed­er­a­tion of Labour has a dif­fer­ent view, ar­gu­ing that al­low­ing non-union hir­ing will jeop­ar­dize safety and qual­ity.

To sug­gest that only union shops have qual­i­fied work­ers is de­mean­ing and un­sup­port­able. Let the union­ized com­pa­nies bid and let other qual­i­fied bid­ders do the same. That’s fair, and the best out­come for the peo­ple pay­ing the bills.

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