. Government must try harder to retain businesses: union rep BY DANIEL MAC£ACHERN THE TELEGRAM
A local union representative says the provincial government should be doing more to keep manufacturing jobs in Newfoundland and Labrador In a letter to the Telegram, published today on Page A22, Bob Fiander business agent for UA Local 740 a plumbers and pipefitters union that represents about 1,200 workers in the province, says too many contracts for parts of big projects like the Long Harbour processing plant and Hebron are going to companies outside of Newfoundland and Labrador We've got the people here, we've got the qualifications, we've got the experience and we've shown that over decades with different projects," said Fiander, pointing to three offshore projects as examples. We're not naive enough to say that all of this is going to be done in the province, but we would like to see everybody possible utilized in the province that we can Fiander says it's not just a problem for his particular union, stressing it's a provincial problem For me, obviously, it's our members but we're looking at it as a Newfoundland and Labrador issue, not just a union issue. Bill Stirling, a vice-president of industry and trade association Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters says more work is always good, but said the province's manufacturing capability has grown significantly in the past two decades Stirling added his association has had several talks with the government .and the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour to work on ways to make sure people stay working but often budget considerations will drive global corporations to look for the cheapest labour Every project that's undertaken has got a budget, and has to live within that budget. Local preference doesn't exist anymore in that kind of a world. If modules are going to be built here, we've got to have the capability, we've got to have the expertise, and we've got to have companies that can deliver on time and on budget he said. "In the oil business, we've come a long, long way from the early days of the Hibernia project to projects now. There's a lot more capacity here, a lot more ability here, a lot more expertise here than ever before. Fiander says he's hoping to see what feedback he gets from raising the issue before deciding how else to improve things. It just seems at this point that there's not enough activity. If we look at (Hebron), they're going to look internationally to get a lot of that stuff built, and that doesn't bode well for us. Some of that stuff can be done here. We've proven that it can be, and. I think it should be."firstname.lastname@example.org
Union Unhappy With Job Situation on Some Construction Projects in Province
One of the province's largest unions is not happy about jobs on certain construction projects in Newfoundland and Labrador. Local 740 of the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union has about 1,300 members in this province and Business Manager Jim Myers is upset many of them are unemployed while a Quebec company is bringing in workers from that province to work here. Myers says a Quebec company is working on a major extension to the water treatment facility at Bay Bulls-Big Pond but they are bringing in workers from that province while qualified pipefitters and plumbers here are looking for work. He stressed this is not the first time this has happened as a similar situation occurred in Labrador not long ago.
Myers says there are also lots of people from this province working away who would love to come home and work on projects here. Myers says he has no trouble with Quebec companies getting contracts in this province but they should have to use qualified local workers first. He says workers from this province go to Alberta on an as needed basis when jobs need to be filled. Myers is also concerned with the huge amount of work from the multi-billion dollar Vale project at Long Harbor going out of the province, when again, workers are available here to do the work. Local 740 says the provincial government is sympathetic to the cause but they haven't taken any action to put provisions in place to ensure companies doing work in this province hire local qualified workers before bringing in other people from outside Newfoundland and Labrador.
Article from the Horizon magazine of March 2013 Horizon Article