May 30, 1939

CON
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

No, there is no appropriation

this year for the studios in either Toronto or Montreal. The half million dollars was for the station at Aulac, in the maritimes, and for the prairie station at Watrous.

Supply-Transport-Harbours Board

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CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

It is not planned to go ahead this year with the studios in either Toronto or Montreal?

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LIB

Item agreed to. National harbours board. 1,55. Advances to national harbours board, subject to the provisions of section 29 of the National Harbours Board Act, to meet expenditures during the calendar year 1939 on any or all of the following accounts: Reconstruction and capital expenditures (revote, $366,500) - Montreal, $1,050,870; Vancouver, $51,500; total, $1,102,370. Less amount'to be expended from replacement funds, $180,175. Total, $922,195.


CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

I should like to say a few words in connection with this vote. I have had some correspondence with the International Union of Pile Drivers, Bridge, Dock and Wharf Builders, in Vancouver. They complain that certain work being done by the national harbours board at Vancouver which is usually done by members of this international organization is now being done by the ordinary maintenance staff of the harbours board. Two jobs in particular are referred to-the repair work on No. 1 jetty and Japan dock at Vancouver. I got a return of the correspondence, as far, I believe, as it was available, which passed between the harbours board, the Department of Labour, and the secretary of the organization to which I have referred. As the union could not get satisfaction from the harbours board in connection with this work, they took the matter up with the Department of Labour, and asked the officials of that department to determine whether the work in question was repair work or was work which is ordinarily done by this union for other firms in British Columbia. I am informed by an official of the Department of Labour that the decision of that department was to the effect that it was not maintenance work in the general acceptance of that term; that it was work such as was usually done by members of the pile drivers, bridge, dock and wharf builders. In the return, sessional paper No. 257, which I received, is the following letter from the deputy minister of labour to the secretary of the local union No. 2404, pile drivers, bridge, dock and wharf builders:

Ottawa, October 13, 1938.

Dear Sir:

On behalf of the Honourable Mr. Rogers, Minister of Labour, I am to acknowledge your letter of the 6th instant in which you refer to work being done on No. 1 jetty and Japan dock, Vancouver, by the national harbours board. It is noted that your organization holds the view that what is being done by the harbours board is not in accord with regulations laid

down by the government's fair wages policy, also that you desire a copy of any ruling made in this matter.

In reply I may state that it is the policy of this department in submitting wage schedules to govern contract work involving the construction of bridges, docks, etc., on the Pacific coast, to provide for the payment of the wages claimed by your organization for the various classes of labour engaged thereon. Your representations on the subject, which were made through Mr. F. E. Harrison, western representative of this department at Vancouver, were brought to the attention of the national harbours board in Ottawa but the board declined to make effective the rate claimed by your organization on the ground that the work involved was maintenance work. In this connection I might mention that the national harbours board is incorporated and is not a department of the federal government.

Yours truly,

W. M. Dickson,

Deputy Minister of Labour.

I discussed this matter with Mr. Dickson, and he informed me that his department had ruled that this was not ordinary maintenance work. The question under dispute here is that the work being done by the maintenance employees of the national harbours board is being paid at the rate of, I believe, fifty cents an hour, While the wage rate of the International Union of Pile Drivers, Bridge, Dock and Wharf Builders is one dollar an hour.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Would the hon. member state what the work was?

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CCF
LIB
CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

Just one word, and I will let the minister reply. It was a general rebuilding of the docks concerned.

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CON
CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

No. 1 jetty and Japan dock at Vancouver.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

I cannot agree with my hon. friend that it is a renewal. In the case of the Japan dock the planking on top had become worn and some new planking was put in. The capital cost of the Japan dock was, I believe, some sixty or seventy thousand dollars, and the total expenditure for a new deck was only $4,000. It was only for planking the deck of the dock. In the case of No. 1 jetty the cost, on a capital expenditure of $1,000,000, was less than $4,000. It consisted of replacing a few timbers that had rotted. I am speaking not of labour costs only but of cost of labour and material in both instances. We maintain a certain maintenance crew in Vancouver and they are paid fifty-two weeks in the year, so that they are in a somewhat different position

1776 COMMONS

Supply-Transport-Harbours Board

from union carpenters or bridgemen, whose position is necessarily temporary. We believe we are entitled to use our maintenance men on ordinary maintenance work, and there is no doubt that the replacing of top planking on the dock and the placing of a few extra timbers in a large jetty is definitely maintenance work rather than reconstruction or new construction.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

The point I wish to make is that the Department of Labour has definitely ruled that this work is not maintenance work in the ordinary sense of that word. The repairs are such that it is considered general renewal work.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Will the hon. member read the ruling of the department in which it is stated that as a result of departmental investigation they find this is not maintenance work?

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

I did not read it here, but the deputy minister of labour, Mr. Dickson, told me quite definitely that they regarded it as general renewal work and not maintenance work in the ordinary sense of the term.

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

So far as I know, they have never told us that.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

I am quite sure it was made known to the board by Mr. Harrison at Vancouver. We must consider the situation as it affects the organization for whom I am speaking. If the harbours board has general renewal work of this kind done by men at a much lower rate, at half the rate normally paid for that class of work then in other parts of the province the contractors will have similar work done at the same rate, and the net result will be to lower the wage scale and worsen the working conditions of these men and of labour generally. The harbours board, as I have ascertained, is a very well paid body with a salary per member of $10,000 a year, and I think it ill becomes such men to begin chiseling in on people who, because of their intermittent work, receive a very small annual wage. The least the harbours board could do would be to observe the conditions laid down in the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act, 1935, which gives the basis on which work is done and the wages paid on all work to which the government contributes.

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LIB
CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. MacINNIS:

One dollar an hour. I should like to read one of the letters in the return. It is from the secretary of the union to Mr. Frith, chief engineer, Vancouver harbour board, and is dated August 18, 1938. It reads:

Dear Mr. Frith:

In reference to our talk of this morning in regard to the work being done at No. 1 jetty, Vancouver harbour, on the changing and renewing of caps.

The members of this organization maintain that under no consideration could this he called maintenance work, and should be paid for at the rate established by this organization, namely, $1 per hour instead of the 50 cents per hour as at present being paid by the harbour board.

This class of work which is being done all up and down the coast and around Vancouver harbour and the Fraser river, has always been recognized as coming within the category of the work performed by members of this organization, a condition which has been established here for quite a number of years and recognized by all the private contractors and paid for at our rate of wages.

And I might add that these conditions are recognized by the Department of Labour in drawing up their schedules, they having copies of our agreement with the contractors' association. And I might further add in closing that all work of a like nature, in the repairing and renewing of docks, wharves and piers should be done at the rates and conditions as established by this organization.

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May 30, 1939