Brother Donald Lounds, former IBEW International Vice President (First District, i.e. Canada) died suddenly at Port Orange, Florida, on January 12, 2015, age 73. Brother Lounds spent his adult life in the IBEW, serving on his home Local's (Oshawa, Local 874) executive board for several terms, then as its Business Manager, before joining the First District staff in 1974 where he served in various capacities in Canada for nearly 25 years. Brother Lounds was appointed  VP for First District in 1997 and retired from that post in 2003. He is survived by three children and eight grandchildren. A funeral service for Brother Lounds will be held at the Oshawa Funeral Home on Wednesday January 21 at 11am.

In December of 2013, the Liberal government introduced Bill 15 during its first sitting in the provincial legislature. The February Holiday Act establishes the third Monday in February as a statutory provincial holiday by amending the Interpretation Act, the Labour Standards Code, the Retail Business Uniform Closing Day Act, and the Retail Business Designated Day Closing Act. However, because unionized employees are subject to  the Trade Union Act, even though the minimum standard for statutory holidays in the province has been thus amended, it is the responsibility unions and employers working under that Act to negotiate a change and amend Collective Agreements accordingly.

The following Local 1928 collective agreements have existing holiday articles that recognize any new statutory holidays that are legally declared by the government: Municipality of Shelburne, Town of Shelburne, Town of Lunenberg, Town of Lockeporte.

The following agreements do not have such language: Emera Utility Services (Transmission/Distribution and Communications contracts), Municipality of Queens, Town of Antigonish (Public Works and Electric Utility contracts), Black and MacDonald, Town of Berwick, Nova Scotia Power, and Nova Scotia Power Maritime Link. Of these, Town of Antigonish and Emera Utility Services have agreed to recognize and add the new holiday. Nova Scotia Power and the Municipality of Queens have agreed to recognize the holiday this coming February, but because those collective agreements are up for renewal, have reserved the right to negotiate for the years following 2015. Black and MacDonald (a contract also expiring in 2015) will grant employees the day day off this February if they chose, but employees will not be compensated. Nova Scotia Power Maritime Link has not responded to requests to clarify their position on the new February holiday, but currently there are no unionized employees working under that contract.

First District (IBEW International Canada) makes five $1,000-scholarships available to those Canadian IBEW members and their family members currently enrolled in full-or part-time studies, or who are currently in pursuit of a post- secondary diploma or degree. Scholarship applicants are required to submit a brief essay (the applicant must write the essay themselves), outlining the benefits of belonging to the IBEW. The scholarship winners are then selected by a random draw. Applications to the First District scholarships must be received by Friday, February 17th, 2017 and the random draw will be held on February 24th, 2017. Download the First District Scholarship Application.

* Note that applications for the IBEW Local 1928 scholarship will be available in March 2017, and the scholarships will be awarded in June of 2017. Stay tuned for more news as March approaches. 

The Conservative-dominated Senate has discovered inadvertent drafting errors in a bill targeting labour unions -- but is poised to pass it anyway. Conservatives used their majority on the Senate's legal and constitutional affairs committee Friday to reject Liberal amendments that would have corrected the mistakes in C-525. Amending the bill would be tantamount to killing it, they argued. A bill that is amended by the Senate must be sent back to the House of Commons for reconsideration. Because C-525 is a private member's bill, sponsored by Conservative backbencher Blaine Calkins, it would go to the bottom of the list of bills to be dealt with by the Commons. Given that "cumbersome" process, Tory Sen. Scott Tannas warned that amending the bill to correct the errors "will likely guarantee that this bill will never see the light of day." The bill is expected to be put to a final vote in the Senate this week.

C-525 would require a majority secret ballot vote by employees before bargaining units in federally regulated public service unions can be certified or decertified. Union leaders maintain it would make it harder for bargaining units to get certified but easier to disband them. The bill involves changes to a number of existing laws, including the Public Service Labour Relations Act, which is where the drafting mistakes crept in. The bill moves one section of the act into a new section, without simultaneously amending other provisions of the act that make reference to the moved section. Catherine Ebbs, chair of the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board, told the committee the technical error means her board would lose its power to regulate the evidence that must be filed when an employee organization applies for certification of a bargaining unit. "The impact of this change is not trivial because our current specific regulations will be effectively removed from our tool kit to deal with applications for certification," she said.

(Excerpted from CTV website. Read more)

Talking points and contact information for lobbying Conservative Senators

The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) is organizing a series of conferences across the country to prepare labour activists for the 2015 federal election (expected next fall). One will take place in HRM on January 30 to 31 at the Holiday Inn Harbourview in Dartmouth. A second (bilingual) conference in the region will take place in Moncton on February 20 to 21. If you are interested in acting as a Local 1928 delegate and getting the skills to run a local campaign, build face-to-face skills to talk to people about election issues, boost political support and capacity in your community, and to use social media for effective campaigning, contact the Local 1928 office <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> and let us know. 



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