As we participated in Labour Day events in Nova Scotia this past weekend, I reflected on the important role organized labour plays in Nova Scotia and in particular began to reflect on the important jobs being done by our members as part of the IBEW Local 1928 in each and every community across Nova Scotia.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is a collection of workers from across Canada who work in construction, utilities, maintenance, the pulp and paper industry and many other valuable professions. We work in every community in every part of Nova Scotia. We are the people who maintain power lines, inspect your homes and businesses to ensure they are safely wired, we run the power plants and we are the ones who go out in the storm to restore power to your homes when the weather is at its worst.
We are proud of the work we do and we are proud to be part of each and every community in Nova Scotia. The work we do can sometimes be dangerous and we always think of safety first. Safety not only for us, but also for the people we serve. We know that when the power goes out and the temperature drops, you depend on us to turn the heat back on and we never want to let you down.
Being one of the last industries that are located across rural Nova Scotia we recognize the impact we have on local economies. We live where we work and we want to continue serving Nova Scotians in every community, in every situation at a moment's notice. That is our commitment to you and we will always advocate being a part of the rural economy in Nova Scotia for many years to come.
So when you see an electrical inspector, a power line technician, a power plant operator or other members of the IBEW in your community, we are easy to find, we are hockey coaches, volunteer fundraisers and we work closely with many charitable organizations like Habitat for Humanity, please take a moment to reflect on the important role IBEW members play in keeping you and your family safe, keeping the lights on and being part of your community and your local economy.
I am proud to be the business manager for the IBEW Local 1928 in Nova Scotia. It is a privilege to work with such dedicated men and women and to represent their interests with Emera, Nova Scotia Power, municipal utilities and many other employers in Nova Scotia. I represent them so that they can continue to work, play and raise families across Nova Scotia for many years to come.
Due to a scheduling conflict, the East's unit meetings (Sydney, Port Hawkesbury, New Glasgow, and Truro) are moving ahead by one week so that the Business Manager can attend. The new dates are in the IBEW calendar on the website (same day of the week, just one week earlier).
The Local 1928 negotiating team for Emera Utility Services (EUS) has reached a tentative agreement with the employer on a five-year agreement that would see wages increase by 2.5% in each year of the agreement. Other highlights include a new provision for compensation for company-requested travel in a line truck and compensation for helicopter work at 1.5 times the regular rate. Members from EUS will receive a summary of the agreement by mail and voting will take place in early September (details of voiting logistics to be included with the mailed summary). Recognizing that many EUS members are traveling, shop stewards and staff will be available by phone to answer questions, and we can email material to you digitally as well.
Over the last year-and-a-half, the memberships of Local 1928 (Nova Scotia, utility and outside line construction) and Local 1432 (PEI, utility and outside line construction) have voted to merge the two locals. For some time, this merger has been following the legal process required by the Labour Boards in both provinces to unite the two locals under the 1928 banner. The union office was notified in July that the "terminal date" for this merger was set for July 30, 2013. This may mean that the Locals are merged! But before we uncork the champagne, we are waiting for confirmation from the PEI Labour Board. Stay tuned for more updates.
With sadness we pass on the news of the death of First District (Canada) Vice President Phillip Flemming on May 25 at the age of 68.
Brother Flemming was appointed First District International Vice President in 2003. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Flemming was initiated into Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Local 1432 in 1967. He worked as an inside wireman for eight years before being elected business manager/financial secretary in 1975. Brother Flemming was also active in island’s labor movement, serving as president of the P.E.I. Federation of Labour.
“He was a great guy to work with,” says retired First District International Representative Jerry Wilson. “He was so honest, that if he said it, everyone knew then that was the way it was going to be.”
Succeeding Donald Lounds as VP in 2003, Flemming help lead the First District though some of Canada’s biggest economic and political changes in decades. He presided over an aggressive membership development effort, which grew the IBEW’s First District membership even through the worst of the 2008 recession. The First District also beefed up its political action program, building a grassroots network across Canada. One of his greatest accomplishments, says Wilson, was helping to start the First District’s NextGen initiative to reach out to younger members. “It was an uphill battle, but now has taken legs,” he says. He also worked closely with contractors and others to boost skilled construction training to meet the demands of Canada’s energy boom and anticipated manpower shortage, helping to found the National Electrical Trade Council.
Brother Flemming is survived by his wife Loretta, two sons, two stepdaughters, and two grandchildren. Local 1928 extends its most heartfelt sympathies to Brother Flemming’s family and friends.