Ironworkers Local 711 together with the "Conseil provincial du Québec des métiers de la construction" (International) (CPQMC-I) will file a motion for mandamus this morning at the Montréal courthouse asking the Superior Court to force the "Commission de la Construction du Québec" (CCQ) to do its work regarding the Mercier Bridge repair job site.
This is the first time in Québec that the CCQ is subject to such a request!
After repeated requests with the CCQ in 2008 and 2009 by Local 711 and the CPQMC (I) to ensure that the employer and workers working on the Mercier Bridge repairs be qualified for this type of work and after having received end results of inadmissibility each time, Local 711 together with the CPQMC (I) is now asking the courts to intervene and force the CCQ to fulfill its duty and enforce the law and regulations on construction in Québec (Bill R-20). One should note that Local 711 represents over 90% of all Ironworkers.
Never in Québec was the CCQ subject to a motion for mandamus. This motion is filed when a public body (such as the CCQ) fails, neglects or refuses to perform a duty or fails, neglects or refuses to pose actions which the law requires or compels it to. The motion for mandamus asks the Superior Court of Québec to issue an order forcing the CCQ to fulfill its mandate, and, in the case where it would find non compliance with fulfilling its mandate, force the CCQ to do the work for which it was constituted.
In the case of the Mercier Bridge repairs, the Mohawk Bridge Consortium, employer created for the purpose of the contract and chosen by governments without any competitive public bidding, uses the services of a majority of workers unqualified by the CCQ to perform the work. Worse, no CCQ or CSST inspector or investigator, has, to this day and to our knowledge, visited the job site.
Québec has experienced in the recent years its share of unprecedented human tragedies with the "De la Concorde" and "Du Souvenir" overpasses that collapsed du to lack of inspection. Local 711 and the CPQMC (I) want to prevent at all costs such tragedies from recurring. Employers and workers working on our major infrastructures need to be qualified; one can not toy with public safety and the life of users.
Governments awarded the contract without competitive public bidding and without the usual collateral bonding, inspectors do not go to the job site because they are afraid... we must stop this culture of silence and ensure that work be carried out properly and by respecting Health and Safety at Work.
Discrimination by the consortium:
Unfavorable treatment creating two classes of workers
Local 711 and the CPQMC (I) ask that all employees working on the Mercier Bridge job site be compensated at fair value under the current collective agreements. Currently the consortium pays its workers below the prevailing CCQ wage rates.
Local 711 and the CPQMC (I) are willing to accept that all current workers be evaluated by the CCQ and do not object to the delivery of competency cards in due or proper form if workers hired by the consortium pass the exam for the trade for which they were hired on the job site. They can then enjoy the benefits of being part of a workers association that ensures their interests.
Local 711 actively participated in a reconciliation process bringing together key players of our Québec political activity. This case was in the hands of John Parisella and of Louis Bernard that have, for this case, attempted to solve the dispute with the Kahnawake Mohawk Council, Local 711, CPQMC-(I), and CCQ.
After all these attempts, and even at times, clear demands to cover-up, Local 711 and the CPQMC (I) have decided to take solid action to resolve the situation.
These steps taken should not be considered as an attack on the Kahnawake community but as steps aiming to correct a situation that violates Kahnawake workers, victim of the greed of the Mohawk Bridge Consortium, and of an agreement poorly tied by our two levels of government.