THUNDER BAY – Joe Baxter, Board President of Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment & Training Services (KKETS) and Terry Varga, Business Manager of the Labourers’ International Union of America, Local Union 607 (“LiUNA Local 607”) today announced the signing of a Cooperation Agreement (“Agreement”) committing to work to work together on economic/employment development strategies to develop Indigenous human resource potential within Matawa First Nations membership.
Specifically, the Agreement commits to working together to provide training and apprenticeship opportunities for the trades of Construction Craft Worker and Cement Finisher as well as employment opportunities with employers bound to a collective agreement with Local 607 or other affiliated Local Unions of LiUNA.
Similar to an agreement with the Assembly of First Nations which was renewed at the LiUNA national convention last summer—the KKETS and LiUNA Local 607 Agreement recognizes First Nations governments and related socio-economic development needs as a key principle. It is also signed with the understanding that it is intended to enhance and support economic development processes and opportunities that are without prejudice to, and not intending to replace or supersede any existing initiative, agreement, or objective, between any First Nation and other key stakeholders.
Representing 120,000 Canadian workers, mostly in construction, LiUNA International is one of Canada’s largest construction union and have accepted that construction projects will not proceed when First Nations are in opposition.
KKETS and LiUNA Local 607 have been partners for a number of years, and more recently, have been working together over the past year leading up to the current Agreement so that Matawa First Nations members can receive training and unionization, where appropriate.