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Sask. Indigenous construction company claims it was barred from hiring employees from First Nations communities

A First Nations controlled construction company in Saskatchewan says it’s having trouble with its union after learning it can not hire employees directly from First Nations.

KDM Contractors’ employees recently unionized and say that they were barred from hiring directly from First Nations communities after that.

“Our preferred route is to continue to get labour from the First Nations, not from the union hall,” Reginald Bellerose from KDM Contractors said.

KDM employs about 80 people who work primarily on potash projects. Half are First Nations, people. 

“We are actually in legal action against the unions right now to prevent them from bringing a collective bargaining agreement to our company. Our agreement is between us and the First Nations. That’s where we want to keep it,” Bellerose said.

The Saskatchewan Building Trades Council represents construction trades unions. It said a group of KDM workers made the first approach to unionize.

“And they saw that they were being treated unfairly and so that’s why they reached out and upon certification, they immediately got a raise, pension and benefits,” Dion Malakoff from Saskatchewan Building Trades Council said.

The Building Trades say KDM’S objective of hiring from First Nations first can be accommodated.

“And they are worked into the project labour agreement along with local hire provisions around the job site along with 100 percent name hire on the individuals that they would want,” Malakoff said.

The unions said they would like to discuss the company’s First Nations hiring objectives, but that talks have never taken place. Instead, all matters are currently before the Labour Relations Board. Top Stories

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