Open Letter to Regional Chair Ken Seiling re. Open TenderingOctober 2, 2014
October 2, 2014
Mr. Ken Seiling
1st Floor, 150 Frederick Street
I wanted follow up with you in the wake of the developments and decisions by the Ontario Labour Board deeming the Region a “construction employer”, validating the certification by the Carpenters Union and ensuring closed tendering for local infrastructure.
First allow me applaud the Region’s challenge, and appeal to the Ontario Labour Relations Board in an attempt to both protect taxpayers and maintain a fair and open tendering process for local infrastructure projects.
I would also note my appreciation for the support I received for my Private Members Bill, The Fair and Open Tendering Act, and its goal to close the legislative loophole allowing labour monopolies to command local infrastructure tendering. I continue to work on this front and look forward to re-introducing my Bill to try to prevent the serious impacts to local economies that the current legislative framework allows.
While I work to protect fair and open tendering for local infrastructure projects, it is my hope the Region will examine its options and proceed with any negotiations carefully to ensure that restrictions to open bidding are limited to the ICI sector as per the province wide agreement. It is important that the scope of what will be subject to tendering restrictions not be expanded into the residential or the heavy civil sector. Any expansion to the scope of contract restrictions would have a significant impact on local contractors and would be extremely costly for the Region and its taxpayers.
I’ve attached a 2011 ruling, Verdi Alliance – City of Hamilton, and a 2009 Hamilton Spectator article that provide perspective on the impacts and legalities surrounding Hamilton’s experience with similar negotiations and subsequent agreements brought on
by the Carpenters’ successful certification attempt there. I would ask that you and your staff review these documents and that you strongly consider the impacts of any agreement that would serve to further entrench the labour monopoly that now exists.
There is no doubt that one of the best ways we as elected representatives can serve to ensure taxpayers are getting the best value for their money while sustaining a growing local economy is by ensuring a competitive bidding process on local infrastructure projects.
I look forward to working with you and your Regional colleagues toward the mutually shared goals of fair and open tendering to ensure all qualified contractors have the opportunity to work on local infrastructure projects, while allowing local officials the ability to deliver the highest quality work at the best possible price for taxpayers.
Michael Harris, MPP