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"I've got bad news for my building trades union," foreman posts

Joe Greps swears revenge on Nov. 24. He blames the unions for the creation of the Ontario College of Trades. He's going to be reporting some guys.


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November 29, 2013 by Steve Payne

Joe Greps swears revenge on Nov. 24. He blames the unions for the creation of the fee-sucking Ontario College of Trades. This is what he posted…

“I have been a foreman in my local for 25 years and in truth the majority of (the union) members I employ are competent and conscientious.

But not all of them.

You know who I am talking about.

For 25 years I have tolerated them because I learned very quickly that no matter how outrageously poor a member’s actions may have been, if I file a complaint with the local business manager the person defending himself will end up being me – not them. The end result is always the same, you pass the problem person onto the next contractor and find some petty measure of retaliation.

I guess you thought you were real clever when you put your own political interests ahead of those of every working trades person in this province and lobbied the government into creating this abomination (Ontario College of Trades).

You might not be as smart as you thought.

You see, starting today every time one of your problem members sets new standards in buffoonery I won’t be talking to you, and you won’t be able to protect anyone. I will be filing a complaint with your wonderful new college.

So the next time one of your fine licensed electricians does not know the proper polarity on standard receptacles (I kid you not), I will take pictures and document everything, confident of the College’s imminent action as mandated for my compulsory trade. I am sure the fine unbiased members you have planted in adjudicator positions will take firm action. One would shudder to think of the reaction should I have to pass details of this (to Canadian Contractor) to publish here.

You created this.

Now you are going to deal with it.”

Posted online by Joe Greps on Nov. 24


Steve Payne

Steve Payne

Steve Payne is the editor of Canadian Contractor magazine
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4 Comments » for "I've got bad news for my building trades union," foreman posts
  1. Patrick Dillon says:

    Having read the post by Mr. Joe Greps, I feel that some context is necessary to give your readers a balanced grasp of the issues he raises regarding the Ontario College of Trades.

    First, as a construction foreman, Mr. Greps would not employ anybody (as he claims to). Foremen supervise workers, they do not employ them. Secondly, I quite agree with him that the vast majority of construction workers are competent people. I also agree that from time to time, one runs across an individual who is either not competent, or is not acting in a professional way. I understand that the toleration level of foremen can wear thin at times, but the fact of the matter is that supervisors get paid over and above the worker wage and their responsibilities include disciplining those that they supervise.

    The frustration that Mr. Greps expresses is a tremendous argument for the value (or at least one of the values) of the Ontario College of Trades, in that he now has a formal mechanism to challenge the competency of someone that he supervises, with a view to improving that person’s competency and professional behaviour. While Mr. Greps is obviously critical of the College, the fact remains that the College is an asset to him because the mechanism that the College offers will augment his own responsibilities as a supervisor, in enhancing the professionalism of the workers. He had no such avenue before, he has one now, and unfortunately, it would appear that he is opposed to it.

    As a tradesperson of some long standing myself, I’ve had the occasion to question the competency of my supervisor, but had no avenue to express my concerns. Now, in a circumstance like that, there is an institution that not only facilitates, but encourages me to bring forward legitimate concerns over the judgment or competence of a supervising tradesperson. That is good for apprentices, journeypersons, supervisors, and consumers.

    Thus, the construction industry as a whole, and consumers at-large, stand to benefit from the Ontario College of Trades.

  2. Joe Greps says:

    Patrick Dillon, Business Manager and Secretary Treasurer of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario and former Business Manager of Local 105 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers?

    If so I suppose it should be no surprise you have little recollection of a time when in a small union shop the owner (employer) was often found on his sites working as a foreman – there are not many of those shops left, one wonders why….

    That said I will leave petty arguments of semantics to you and I won’t dwell on foreman wages and the generous 10% addition your contracts typically provide to have their competence judged by your ilk.

    I am however not sure how you could suggest I am opposed to the disciplinary aspect of the College from the context of my original post – but I do find it interesting that you further continued to argue the value of the College of Trades as “a formal mechanism to challenge the competency of someone” as a new avenue provided by the College – and yet your own union organization has already petitioned the College to have these very rights removed specifically from union supervisors.

    http://www.collegeoftrades.ca/wp-content/uploads/Submission-7-Organization-29-Nov-12.pdf

    “We would like to caution that the OCOT discipline process is not used to bypass
    measures available within a collective agreement. The OCOT should reject any
    complaint that in any way appears to do so”

    Strikes me as a rather hypocritical position and illustrates a common theme with this College and it’s supporters. We hear all these wonderful noble sounding claims and anyone who opposes the College is attacked for opposing these ideals. In truth the opposition stems from the fact that with over a 600% fee increase this College has not and does not represent a framework to provide the mandate it professes.

    We are told this College will allow trades to govern their own industry and yet no democratic process has taken place and no member has been given an opportunity to vote on it’s leadership.

    We are told the College will create a level playing field through enforcement of standards and yet fail to explain how a workforce of roughly 20 enforcement officers is going to supplant the 140 MoL officers that currently do this in the construction sector alone. (Fantastic job on shutting down Barbers though….)

    The College claims a mandate to promote trades careers but such campaigns are not cheap and I have yet to see any notable promotion or advertisement. With a roughly $20M budget and so many other obligations I suspect we never will.

    It appears even the most fundamental roles of this College are not being met as members struggle with it’s bureaucracy just to renew their licenses and register in a baffling application system that shows an utter lack of regard for privacy rights. Even the dubious logic of posting credentials of automotive mechanics online seems lost on them.

    In truth this College is an ill conceived farce, it is inviable and a destructive burden on the very workers and industry it was created to help. It makes all kinds of claims, it is executing none of them.

    Feel free to debate otherwise but perhaps going forward you can support your claims with concrete examples of what this College has actually achieved.

    We wait with bated breath.

  3. katkanuck says:

    Mr Grebs:

    Mr. Dillon is on more GOVERNMENT appointed boards than one can shake a stick at and meets with the Liberal PARTY CONSTANTLY… I would call this a HUGE CONFLICT OF INTEREST!

    Government of Ontario appointments
    • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board committees (Human Resources and Compensation, Chair; Health and Safety; Governance)
    • Infrastructure Ontario board of directors
    • 2015 Toronto-Greater Golden Horseshoe Pan Am Games Committee
    • Appointments Council for the Ontario College of Trades

    Business Manager and Secretary Treasurer of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario — 1997 – present (labour representative)

    Member
    • Greater Toronto Civic Action Alliance.
    • Advisory Board of Correctional Services Canada
    • various construction industry boards, including:
    o Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS)
    o Construction Sector Council of Canada
    o Workers’ Arts and Heritage Centre
    o De Novo Treatment Centre

    These are the one’s WE KNOW ABOUT how many others are there that this guy is a part of from LABOR to god only knows what else he is involved in.

    EXTORTED TAX WSIB on the Employer is criminal and all the Unions were allowed to speak on it and PUSHED it and Mr. Dillon was very much a DRIVING force behind it. I’ve followed this since 2002 and when you see clearly ALL THE PARTIES/PLAYERS involved and the constant MINGLING/working together on boards it is pretty apparent if one delves deep enough into the issues to see the REAL FACTS.

    Our voices may have been silenced for all of the debates on Bill 119, but we are not going to be silenced any longer! We will stand up for our RIGHTS as LEGIT small business owners WHO WORK ABOVEBOARD and NOT UNDERGROUND! Wish I could say the same for all the non profits and not for profits these people are involved ON/WITH! Come on CRA hurry up with your 99 investigations! on these NP/NFP types! I welcome the read!

    Seems Mr. Dillon and his PALS think they now run ONTARIO right? Hope the Government and these Unions, Non Profit and Not for Profit are ready for court. We weren’t heard on the Bill in the legislative assembly that has put us all out of work with the Extortion TAX Mandatory coverage… but can be called into Court to testify! Pecuniary damages and punitive damages!

    One pissed off LEGIT SMALL BUSINESS

  4. Big Jay says:

    Anybody who supports the Ocot is an ignorant jackass. None of these administrative bureaucracies lend anything to the economy, nor do they ever fulfill their mandate. Not one.

    It’s time to shut down these parasites and start focusing on the people that make a difference to our economy.

    The workers.