Canadian Contractor

Union bully boys

Let's learn how to protect ourselves from union bullying before the fight starts

January 26, 2012
By Robert Koci

A column published in the Financial Post Wednesday Jan. 25 pointed me back to a letter from reader Jim VanderWal of VanderWall Homes and Commercial Group that we posted on this website a few weeks before.

In his column “Employers should stand their ground,” Lawyer Howard Levitt, senior partner with Levitt L.L.P., writes in general terms of the tactics being used by unions to target small construction businesses. The story he tells of a small construction company being hounded by a union through the Labour Board is curiously similar to the story told by VanderWal.

There is no doubt that most of the union pressure is being applied to commercial construction companies but I am not sure we on the residential side should be complacent about our position. What small commercial builders are facing today could be the experience of small residential builders tomorrow.

Levitt’s advice to those being bullied by unions is to resist, but know the rules of behaviour defined within the Labour Relations Act. Yes, the Act heavily favours the right of employees to join unions and participate in its lawful activities, but employers have rights, too. You should know what they are.