Audit, Finance, and Administration for March 25, 2013

City Council’s audit, finance, and administration committee will meet today with fair wages for contractors the hot topic of the day. Also on the agenda: 2012 expense summaries for Councillors and the Mayor, and numerous financial control & audit reports.

Live coverage begins at 9:30am

Fair Wage

Dozens of people packed Council Chambers at City Hall today to watch members of the Audit, Finance, and Administration Committee debate the City’s fair wage contract for construction contracts.

City staff came forth with a recommendation for a significant change to the policy, which requires the payment of union rates on construction contracts greater than $100,000, that the City of Hamilton recognize any collective agreement in lieu of the fair wage policy.

Background

This addition sparked great concern among organized labour in Hamilton because it will allow the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC), a trade-union recognized by the Ministry of Labour but not a member of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), to bid on contract work at wage rates below the established trade rates. CLAC is affiliated with the World Organization of Workers, a Christian-based labour umbrella.

Organized labour and CLAC are engaged in a pitched battle with the CLC alleging that CLAC is an employers union and CLAC stating they simply have a different philosophy for negotiating contracts.

CLAC contracts are generally at a lower cost to employers and CLC is concerned that CLAC causes downward pressure about wages.

The Debate

Three members of the AF&A were present today; Pearson (W10 – Chair), Johnson (W11), and Powers (W13). Clark (W9) had a family emergency, Morelli (W3) sent regrets due to an appointment. Also attending the debate were non-committee members Collins (W5), Duvall (W7), Ferguson (W12), Merulla (W4), and Whitehead (W8)