As thousands of construction workers flock to the prairies for high-paying jobs in the oil and mining sectors, dozens of workers from Quebec say they've come to the west because of union troubles.
Ken Pereira, a former labour organizer with the FTQ-Construction union, made national headlines last year after going to the media with complaints against his former employer.
In 2009, he alleged organized crime had infiltrated the FTQ. He also said the union wasn't protecting its workers from on the job discrimination by other workers.
Pereira also testified at the province-wide Charbonneau corruption inquiry last year.
"I can't work anywhere in Quebec right now," he said. "I'm the black sheep, you could say, of the union movement."
No longer welcome
Now working with another union, the Christian Labour Association of Canada, Pereira claims to have brought more than 1,000 Quebecois workers to Saskatchewan and Alberta. Now, some of those workers claim they are no longer welcome to work in their home province either, because they are seen as complainers.
'There's a lot of work here that will take place over the next many years, so that's a big thing.'- Dennis Perrin, CLAC Prairies Director
"I 'm not even able to push a broom on a construction site [in Quebec]," Industrial Mechanic Marc Allard said.
Pereira's new union said the workers are more than welcome to come to Saskatchewan and Alberta. He said mining and oil companies are desperately searching for workers.
"There's a lot of work here that will take place over the next many years, so that's a big thing," CLAC prairies director Dennis Perrin said. "Well paying jobs that allow skilled trades people to easily earn six figures a year."
According to officials with FTQ-Construction, the union has changed significantly over the past few years. The FTQ said the union treats all members equally and that Quebec employers make the final decision on who they hire, not unions.
Meanwhile, Pereira still hopes to return to work at the FTQ. However, a legal settlement between Pereira and the FTQ states he will not be allowed to work in the union until 2016.