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The Canadian Labour Congress has imposed sanctions on the Industrial, Wood and Allied Workers of Canada, after one of its locals signed a deal with a private contractor in defiance of a CLC motion calling on the union to cease and desist from further voluntary agreements related to Bill 29 in British Columbia.

The sanctions come after IWA Local 1-3567 signed an agreement with Crothall Services Canada, a subsidiary of the British Compass Group, covering workers who are yet to be hired to do housekeeping at Vancouver Island hospitals.

In a letter dated March 25, CLC president Ken Georgetti says the agreement with Crothall clearly violates a motion adopted by the CLC executive that was intended to restrict the IWAs presence in health care to contracts already let and awarded.

CUPE has been pressing the CLC for months to hold the IWA to account for its actions. Backed by a unanimous motion from National Convention, National President Paul Moist has been meeting with all the major players to press for a resolution that would see the IWA end its efforts to short-circuit organizing efforts in the health care sector by signing agreements with privateers that set wages and benefits well below current standards for the sector and predetermine who will represent the workers.

Georgettis action comes two days after receiving a letter from Moist that sets out the IWAs latest act of defiance the January 24 agreement with Crothall.

The Crothall deal covers the work of 1,021 members of the Hospital Employees Union who have been fired by the Vancouver Island Health Authority, to be replaced by contract workers represented by the IWA. As part of that deal, it is expected that wages will be cut in half to $9 to $11 an hour.

Commenting on the sanctions, Moist said, Throughout this dispute, weve focused on the rights of the workers their right to a decent wage and to choose their union. Were frustrated that its taking so long, but were determined to keep up our efforts until we get a resolution thats in the workers best interests.

Sanctions mean the IWA loses its vote on the executive of the CLC and federations of labour across the country and cannot participate on committees of the CLC or the provincial federations. As well, IWA members cannot participate in education programs, attend conferences or access other CLC or federation services.

If no resolution is reached within three months, further sanctions can be imposed, including removal from the CLC executive, federations and labour councils.