Kamloops Chamber condemns province's new union-only procurement policy

By James Peters
July 27, 2018 - 4:23pm

KAMLOOPS — The Kamloops Chamber of Commerce is throwing its support behind an open letter blasting the province's NDP government for its new procurement policy.

Last week, the Horgan government announced new rules surrounding hiring for major public infrastructure projects.

Chamber President Joshua Knaak says the rules dictate that workers must be unionized, and tell them exactly which union they must join to be employed on government-funded construction jobs.

"It's an interesting issue because it's not one that I think anybody really saw coming," says Knaak. "It's an odd move on the part of the province as it really seems to limit choice, limit freedom and limit options when it comes to responsible procurement of services."

"To have everybody forced into one specific union seems to fly in the face of what we would expect from the province as far as requirements go. It begs the question, "Why?"

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is among a host of organizations who have signed an open letter to Premier John Horgan condemning the new policy.

According to the Kamloops Chamber, the policy means the province will have no more "fair, open and transparent procurement."

"I think anybody can bid," noted Knaak, "but then they lose any freedom that they have to operate their workforce as they like, or for their employees to make the decisions they want to make as well."

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