Burntwood Nelson River Agreement

Since the late 1960s, the NSO has been the relevant collective agreement of the CHA and hydro`s Project Management Association, and the longest uninterrupted contract of its kind in Canada. The BNA, which is an extension of a collective agreement that was first negotiated in the late 1960s, sets recruitment preferences – including priority for northern natives – as well as procedures for adjusting wages and certain benefits over the life of the agreement. The agreement also contains provisions for the recruitment, transfer, mediation, training and attachment of northern Indigenous peoples and facilitates the hiring of northern Indigenous peoples by northern Indigenous businesses. In October 2005, Manitoba Hydro and the Allied Hydro Council, a joint council of unions representing project construction workers, agreed to renew the Burntwood Nelson Agreement (BNA) – a no-strike/no lockout agreement for all major northern hydro projects that will begin within the next 10 years. Undetered unions and construction support positions accounted for about two-thirds of the available positions. These include workers, heavy mechanics, drivers, reinforcement workers, cement masons, caterers and office workers. As part of the NNA, tens of thousands of union members have come together in Manitoba to build large hydroelectric plants, mostly in remote areas of the north. These projects have made Manitoba the largest producer of clean, renewable energy: an Employment Advisory Committee has been established, comprised of representatives from NCN, Manitoba Hydro, Manitoba Advanced Education and Training, Hydro Projects Management Association (including contractors) and the Allied Hydro Council. It was established as a forum on employment, especially aboriginal employment, as part of the construction of the Wuskwatim project. The Committee responded to and reviewed employment concerns and provided advice and recommendations to the project leader on a range of topics. During its six years of construction, the Wuskwatim project has created hundreds of jobs. These offered a number of possibilities, both for designated and non-designated trades. Other Manitobans looking for employment in the Wuskwatim project had to use the Wuskwatim Job Referral Service set up by the provincial government`s Employment and Training Service (ETS).

Applicants can register to work at one of the 17 ETS centres across the province or at an approved registration office in their municipality. Wuskwatim`s job recommendations and recruitments for NCN Citizens were resolved through the Atoskiwin Training and Employment Centre at Nelson House. ATEC assessed the professional experience and qualifications of individuals and, if necessary, organised trainings to provide the necessary skills. WPLP and Manitoba Hydro did not have direct hiring responsibility for the project, but some agencies were designated for employment. . . .

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