Pres­ence main­tained

Iron­work­ers main­tain pres­ence at long-term care build in Cor­ner Brook

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - BY DIANE CROCKER diane.crocker@thewest­ern­star.com Twit­ter: WS_DianeCrocker

They may be mem­bers of the Iron­work­ers Lo­cal 764, but the men main­tain­ing an in­for­ma­tion line at the site of the new long-term care build in Cor­ner Brook say they are there on their own be­cause they want work.

They may be mem­bers of the Iron­work­ers Lo­cal 764, but the men main­tain­ing an in­for­ma­tion line at the site of the new long-term care build in Cor­ner Brook say they are there on their own be­cause they want work.

On Thursday the men gath­ered again, their fourth day at the site. They’re up­set that the com­pany do­ing the steel work on the build have brought in work­ers from out­side the prov­ince.

They say P. E. I.- based MacDougall Steel Erec­tors Inc. has about seven work­ers on the site with more ex­pected.

Many of the men didn’t mind talk­ing about what’s hap­pen­ing, but didn’t want to give their names.

Todd Mur­phy has been there since Monday.

The Sum­mer­side man has been out of work since De­cem­ber and said some of the oth­ers for much longer. Many will soon see their em­ploy­ment in­sur­ance run out.

If the work was there the men said half of them wouldn’t be on the line.

Oth­ers were look­ing at the cur­rent job and the up­com­ing hos­pi­tal build as the ones that could take them to re­tire­ment. Now they’re wor­ried the same thing will hap­pen when the hos­pi­tal starts.

Mur­phy said the gov­ern­ment has put a lot of money into the build­ing trades to train young peo­ple and he thinks that’s been a waste of money.

Mur­phy said the con­struc­tion sea­son is a short one and that means only a short time to get work.

He’s also up­set his tax dol­lars are be­ing spent on the pro­ject, yet there is no lo­cal ben­e­fit.

“Why should my tax dol­lars be spent out to peo­ple in P.E.I. to come here and work on my tax dol­lars and I’m here next door and could go to work,” said Mur­phy.

He and the other men say if they were work­ing the money they make stay in the lo­cal econ­omy.

Fran­cis Simms, a union busi­ness agent, has been at the site since the in­for­ma­tion line went up.

He said the work­ers have picked up sup­port from other trades­peo­ple with sheet metal work­ers, op­er­at­ing en­gi­neers, labour­ers and non-union trades­peo­ple spend­ing time on the line.

“This is not a union in­for­ma­tion line, this in an in­for­ma­tion line per­tain­ing to the hir­ing of an out of prov­ince con­trac­tor and that con­trac­tor bring­ing in what they con­sider skilled trades­peo­ple and con­se­quently the lo­cal trades­peo­ple can’t get a job.”

He said it’s an is­sue that could ex­tend to more trades­peo­ple and not be ex­clu­sive to the iron­work­ers.

Since the line went up Ed­die Joyce, the MHA for Hum­berBay of Is­lands, where many of the men are from, has been the only politi­cian to drop by.

He said it’s time for the gov­ern­ment and the con­trac­tors to get the is­sue sorted out.

One no­table dif­fer­ence at the site on Thursday was the lo­ca­tion of the line. The men have moved back to just out­side the en­trance of the site.

Ear­lier in af­ter­noon the Royal New­found­land Con­stab­u­lary, which has been mon­i­tor­ing the in­for­ma­tion line, was called when the group slowed a truck car­ry­ing deck­ing into the site.

Six of­fi­cers were at the site at mid-af­ter­noon and an of­fi­cer on the scene con­firmed the force would be main­tain­ing more of a pres­ence there.

DIANE CROCKER/THE WESTERN STAR

Iron­work­ers up­set with the lack of lo­cal hires on the steel por­tion of the new long-term care build in Cor­ner Brook main­tained a pres­ence at the con­struc­tion site for the fourth day on Thursday.

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