CETA pact poses risks for unions, companies
CONCERNED THAT A pending trade deal between Canada and the European Union poses risks to Canadian unions and companies, a Boilermaker delegation met with Amarjeet Sohi, the federal Cabinet Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, in Edmonton August 17 to discuss the pact.
Participating in the meeting on behalf of the Boilermakers were International Rep Cory Channon, Local 146 Assistant Business Manager Robert Key and L-146 Trustee Ron Ruth. At a follow-up meeting, L-146 BM-ST Dean Milton and Trustee Ruth met with the minister and his staff, who agreed to request additional clarification from the federal government on terms of the trade deal.
Channon said that, as currently written, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) would allow foreign companies to bid on Canadian construction work and to bring in low-wage, unskilled foreign workers to compete with Canadian skilled crafts. This would result in unfair competition, causing Canadian workers to lose work and Canadian companies to lose contracts, while also resulting in inferior workmanship.
Channon said the group also touched on other issues, including the need for investment in carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS).
“We had a very good meeting with Minister Sohi,” Channon said, “and he agreed to discuss our concerns directly with Prime Minister Trudeau and others in the federal government.”
Channon explained that the meeting with the cabinet minister is part of an expanded lobbying effort being led by International Vice President Joe Maloney to ensure that Boilermaker concerns on trade and other issues are communicated to the federal government as well as provincial governments across Canada. In addition to CETA, Boilermaker leadership is raising the alarm on two other trade pacts being negotiated — the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Canada-China free trade agreement. Like CETA, both of those trade deals could place essential infrastructure work done by Canadian Boilermakers and other trades (as well as Canadian companies that employ the trades) at risk of unfair competition by foreign companies and foreign workers.
For more information, read the position paper, “Concerns about Canada’s Direction in International Trade Agreements,” authored by IVP Maloney at http://boilermaker.ca/wp-content/uploads/Trade-Position-Paper.pdf.