Large community projects have to benefit the people in two ways: Through the benefits reaped after completion, as well as through the jobs created locally when building the project.
Infrastructure projects such as the LRT, bridges and highways to last so we do not have to spend more city money to rebuild and repair every few years? Would we want to increase the number of skilled workers within our own city? Finally, wouldn’t it be great to create more jobs for women and the Indigenous population in our city?
That is what a CBA entails. The creation of opportunities for the people of our city first, before we look outside. What does that mean? It means more jobs for Edmontonians, better quality control, and training of apprentices. A key provision of an agreement can be the adoption of a 25% apprenticeship procurement, closing the gap of existing shortages of skilled labor. And it can include environmental protections for our city during and after the project is completed. In turn, we reap a stimulated economy, new jobs created for the people of the city and plans for the future.
Let’s look at some supporting facts. In BC, the adoption of a CBA has increased work opportunities for local workers. There has been a notable increase in bids submitted by local contractors. A study done on the Vancouver Island Highway Project showed an increase in job opportunities for Women and the Indigenous population which meant the provisions in the agreement worked according to plan. Learn more about it here.
The benefits of having a CBA can now be seen by the implementation of it in BC, Ontario and a number of municipalities in the United States. We need money-making opportunities to go to our own citizens first. When the Valley Line South LRT project was put up for tender, of the four companies hired, not one was local. That is not good for our city. With a CBA we would have seen local companies with local workers completing the project. In short, a CBA plan in Edmonton will ensure that:
Infrastructure projects are built right, with skilled workers so we don’t have to revisit them in a few years and spend more.
Open more jobs for Albertans and Edmontonians.
Train future skilled workers within our own community
Create more project opportunities for local businesses, thus stimulating more jobs for Albertans.
Creating more jobs for women and Indigenous peoples in the city.
Reduced costs in housing for workers when they are hired local.
Allows local unions to participate; we get quality trained workers, apprenticeship opportunities, safety protocols, middle class wages that help sustain a healthy living standard, and proper labor laws that ensure the best interest of our workers.
So, if we want more jobs in our city, growth in our economy, quality in our infrastructure projects, the CBA does exactly that: it works for us.