TORONTO, Sept. 19, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ontario Road Builders' Association (ORBA) was disappointed today when Members of the Ontario Legislature voted against fair and open tendering. Representatives from ORBA were on hand to participate in the press conference and to watch the debate and vote on Bill 73, The Fair and Open Tendering Act.
"Public sector employers, such as municipalities and school boards, are not construction employers as is currently defined in the Labour Relations Act," said Geoff Wilkinson, Executive Director of ORBA. "We are disappointed that MPPs did not understand that the Labour Relations Act needs to be changed to prevent unfair closed-tendering restrictions on publicly funded infrastructure projects based on union affiliation."
Closed tendering situations can occur when a public employer is organized by an affiliated construction union and forced to accept the provincially negotiated collective agreement for Industrial, Institutional and Commercial work. These provincial agreements typically contain tight contracting out restrictions that require public employers to close tendering to only contractors and workers who are organized by a particular union. This can restrict all other union and non-union contractors from participating in those publicly funded projects.
Closed tendering restrictions apply in school boards and cities across the province including Toronto, Kitchener, Sault Ste Marie, Hamilton and the Greater Essex County District School Board. The Region of Waterloo is also at risk of being subject to this type of situation if they are unsuccessful in their ongoing battle with the Carpenters Union at the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
"Our Association has always supported tendering practices that are fair, equitable and open to all qualified bidders and workers," said John Blake, President of ORBA. "Open and competitive tendering ensures taxpayers are getting maximum value for their investments in Ontario's infrastructure."
ORBA's Board of Directors passed a resolution calling on the Government to move forward with a legislative change to ensure public employers are able to fairly and openly tender all construction projects at their April meeting. Union and non-union ORBA members unanimously supported the resolution on the principal of fairness.
The Ontario Road Builders' Association is the voice of the majority of road building contractors who build and maintain Ontario's provincial roads. In addition ORBA boasts approximately 100 associate members who supply products and equipment to the industry. To learn more about ORBA go to www.orba.org
SOURCE: Ontario Road Builders' Association
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