Site C dam unions won't be blocked by BC Hydro, says Christy Clark

B.C. Premier Christy Clark says BC Hydro "went too far" with plans to prevent unions from organizing on the Site C dam project.

Union has accused Crown corporation of trying to bar unions from organizing at project worksites

Construction on the Site C dam is supposed to start in the summer of 2015. (BC Hydro)

B.C. Premier Christy Clark says BC Hydro "went too far" with plans to prevent unions from organizing on the Site C dam project.

"I believe they should have the right to organize," Clark said.

"We need to recognize that building trades are an important part of building the province. It's something that should be fixed and I'm going to get it fixed."

The B.C. and Yukon Territory Building and Construction Trades Council filed a lawsuit against the Crown corporation on Monday.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark, shown in 2014, says BC Hydro won't block unions from organizing during construction of the Site C dam. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

The suit claims conditions BC Hydro is imposing on companies bidding for work on the $8.8 billion project would prevent unions from organizing non-union workers on the site.

It also says they would bar unions not already present on the project from accessing the job site or worker accommodations.

The council is asking the court to declare that those terms violate workers' Charter rights to organize.

On Tuesday morning at the Legislature, Clark said she called BC Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald and that McDonald agreed to withdraw those parts of the proposal.

Major BC Hydro projects have historically been built under agreements with unions to prevent strikes or lockouts without banning organizing on site.

With files from Keith Vass

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