Construction Maintenance and Allied Workers

Full name Construction, Maintenance and Allied Workers' Bargaining Council
Founded 2007
Members 6000
Country Canada
Affiliation Canadian Labour Congress, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers' Union of Canada
Key people Jan Noster (President), Pat Haggarty (Secretary-Treasurer)

The Construction Maintenance and Allied Workers (CMAW) Bargaining Council is a construction trade union, headquartered in Vancouver. CMAW negotiates pay and work conditions on behalf of its 6,000 members in British Columbia and Alberta.

Union members include carpenters, shipbuilders, scaffolders, lathers, cabinetmakers, display technicians, industrial workers and school board employees.

The union, which has 16 local units in B.C. and two in Alberta, holds about 200 certifications, mostly in B.C.


The Construction Maintenance and Allied Workers Bargaining Council (CMAW) was officially formed in 2007 following an 11 year struggle with their American-based International parent union – the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBCJA).

The B.C. Provincial Council of Carpenters Union (BCPCC) began in 1943 and represented workers of the carpentry trade. In its heyday, the union represented 17,000 members but the recession of the early 1980s, as well as an aging population, reduced this number significantly.

From the very beginning, this group of Canadian workers resented being a part of an American union. They were unable to see how a U.S. union could effectively represent workers in Canada. Workers perceived UBCJA, located in Washington, D.C., as a group of union leaders who would cross the border from time-to-time, but who ultimately were unaware of worker concerns and issues in Canada.

During the effort to break away from their American parent union, BCPCC entered into an affiliation agreement with a new parent union – Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) Local 470 – one of Canada’s largest unions, which has headquarters in Ottawa and represents 150,000 workers across from work sectors including the oil-and-gas and chemical mining industries, pulp-and-paper mills, newspapers and telephone companies.

The two bodies created the Construction Maintenance and Allied Workers Bargaining Council (CMAW), and this union then developed a construction arm to accommodate the specific needs of this new group of members.

With a parent union in place, CMAW then went on to re-sign their members over from their previous BCPCC locals to CMAW locals while continuing their fight to leave the UBCJA. With the assistance of mediation, provided by the Labour Relations Board, terms of settlement were finally established giving CMAW the green light to finalize their separation from UBCJA.

In 2008 CMAW made union history by becoming the first official all-Canadian building trade union.


CMAW now represents approximately 6,000 workers – 95 per cent of which are construction workers and the other five per cent comprises school board workers, manufacturing shop workers, and shipbuilders.

Armed with the knowledge that a mere 20 per cent of construction workers are unionized, CMAW is currently making active strides in their organizing efforts.

Carpenters who are represented by CMAW currently earn upwards of $30 an hour and also enjoy a competitive pension and benefits plan. (Non-union carpenters wages are between $20 and $25, with no benefits.)

The union is affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress – a national umbrella organization representing 2.3 million workers – as well as the B.C. Federation of labour, and abides by their standards and regulations.


CMAW comprises 18 locals in B.C. and Alberta and is governed by a 16- person executive board of elected representatives.

The executive board is elected by delegates at CMAW’s bi-annual convention and board members currently serve a four-year term.

CMAW’s president and secretary-treasurer, also elected positions, are full-time council employees.

President: Jan Noster Secretary-Treasurer: Paul Nedelec

CMAW locals in British Columbia

Local units have elected executives who run day-to-day affairs. In CMAW’s larger local units elected senior officers are full-time, or part-time, paid employees

  • Marine & Shipbuilders Local 506 (Vancouver)
  • Construction Local 2020
  • Construction Local 1081 (Kitimat)
  • Construction Local 1237 (Dawson Creek)
  • Construction Local 1346 (Vernon-Kamloops)
  • Construction Local 1719 (Cranbrook)
  • Construction Local 1735 (Prince Rupert)
  • Shopworkers’ Local 1928 (Lower Mainland)
  • Construction Local 1995 (Lower Mainland)
  • Construction Local 1998 (Prince George)
  • Construction Local 2020 (Vancouver Island)
  • School Board Local 2106 (Prince George)
  • Construction Local 2300 (Castlegar)
  • School Board Local 2423 (Hope)
  • Shopworkers’ Local 2511 (Penticton)
  • School Board Local 2545 (Quesnel)

CMAW locals in Alberta

  • CEP Local 470 (B.C./Alberta)
  • CEP Local 3000c (Alberta)


CMAW strives to keep its members up to date in all facets of the trades by sponsoring seminars and courses to upgrade skills. CMAW also provides funding to members for recertification for job qualifications that require updating on a regular basis.

An official committee of union officers orchestrates training. Courses offered include the following:

  • Scaffolding
  • H2 Alive (hydrogen sulfide safety)
  • Confined spaces
  • CSTC (construction safety)
  • Fall protection
  • OSSA (Oil Sands Safety Association)
  • Arial platform
  • Forklift certification
  • First Aid
  • TQ refreshers
  • Welding
  • Doors and hardware
  • Laser alignment
  • Blueprint reading
  • Trades math refresher courses
  • Rigging, hoisting and signaling

Publications: The Write Angle (member publication mailed quarterly)

External links

  • Official website
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