Where it all began
As far back as the 1920`s, there are records of contractors within T.C.A. negotiating with Building Trade Unions as a group. However, agreements concluded by the group were signed by each individual contractor on a voluntary basis. Following World War II Building Trade Unions were successful in a major expansion of the number of companies under collective agreement and for the first time the then Toronto Builders Exchange hired a full time Director of Labour Relations to co-ordinate the efforts of member companies in their negotiations and to act as chief spokesman.
Those negotiations were always limited to the so-called civil trades (Carpenters, Labourers, Bricklayers, Operating Engineers, Cement Masons and Rod workers). In the same period Mechanical, Electrical and Sheetmetal contractors established separate trade associations to represent the particular interest of their members including the negotiation of agreements with the United Association, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Sheetmetal Union.
when the gcs became established
In the 1960`s the General Contractors` Section was established as a separately supervised and funded Section to represent the interests of Contractors under agreement with one or more of the six civil trades. Subsequently in 1970 the Labour Relations Act of Ontario was amended to allow employer associations to obtain the sole right to bargain on behalf of employers bound by a particular Building Trade Union Agreement. This was enabling legislation and did not require industry wide bargaining. The General Contractors` Section with the support of contractors bound by five agreements became the only accredited employer association for the negotiation of one agreement in each of five trades–Carpenters, Labourers, Operating Engineers, Cement Masons and Rodworkers covering the Greater Toronto Area. By agreement, the Ontario Masonry Contractors Association with input from the General Contractors became the bargaining agent for Masonry employers.