Technologies Update – June 24, 2020

Technologies Update – June 24, 2020

My blog may deal with matters concerning all six Units, or just one. The title will give you an idea of the content.

The letter I posted here on this website last Friday (June 19th) dealt with some disturbing news from EPCOR regarding the future of the Technologies business unit. The terms and conditions of all our members who work for EPCOR in any capacity are in the IBEW1007/EPCOR Collective Bargaining Agreement. They always has been, although there have been different names for the “parent” Company. It was called Edmonton Power when I started my career here as a Utility Worker I on a 5 man line crew.

Most of us have a hard time keeping up with the name changes (unless you work in the area undergoing the change). One member told me two days ago he does not work for Distribution and Transmission (D&T), he works for Customer Connections? I believe most of us would still consider that the distribution of power, but therein lies the confusion.

I won’t cover the history of EPCOR in future Technology updates unless it’s relevant. I thought it was important for all of our members to understand the context. Every single department used to be housed in the North Service Centre – including Edmonton Telephones, which was also part of our Union before the City of Edmonton began screwing things up and selling things off. Don’t even get me started on Genesee, that used to be our money maker, but the City sold it for a pittance and messed with our members pension in the process. The City are still screwing things up to this day, that’s how we got here. Divide and Conquer … and we fall for it every time. There’s been an “us & them” mentality within IBEW 1007 since 1974 when I joined. It’s not Trade Unionism as I know it, but it IS human nature.

I mentioned in the June 19TH letter I wanted to have a committee set up by June 25th to help guide our Union through some hard times ahead. I usually start planning committees like this up to a year in advance.. Our very future depends on the structure of such bodies, and the make-up is vital. It’s why we’ve been able to negotiate some excellent contracts over the years. For instance, I know our Linemen were not particularly happy with the raise they got in the last contract, but there were two Linemen on the bargaining committee who recommended the deal.

I’m looking at potential members for this committee, with the thought in mind that it may morph into a full fledged bargaining committee. Within the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers across all of North America, the Business Manager has the responsibility of choosing the Bargaining Committees. While a place on such a committee is not voted on by the membership, I always consult with members I trust before making the final choice. I will not meet my own deadline of June 25th, but this is too important to rush. Potential members need to make significant commitments regarding confidentiality and attendance. The committee will consist of 3 members from Technologies, 1 member from Water and 2 members from Distribution and Transmission. There will a non-trades representatives from Technologies and from D&T. I’ve done my research, I have a pool of 15 for 6 positions, but I haven’t even had the opportunity to talk to some individuals yet. The final team members have to work together and have to compliment each other.

Mike and Roberta are both dealing with some very serious issues, as am I. Ours is not a 9 to 5 job and there’s never a dull moment.

Watch this space for future updates. Those updates will probably not be daily, but I will keep you up to date with significant developments. I’m looking at the possibility of a virtual Union meeting. I’ve been looking at that idea for months, but it’s more pressing now. You will have to register for such a meeting and be given a password. You will also need Zoom.
Again – Watch this space!!

Where the Technologies issues are concerned, Roberta, Mike and I will not go into details over the phone or in person, because the message must be consistent. Messages can be seriously misinterpreted by the time they are passed on seven or eight times. Just over a week ago I told someone I was going to talk to the Mayor. I was asked on Monday if I was running for Mayor. Need I say more? I’m reminded of a past Liverpool soccer coach’s saying, which I will paraphrase.
Trade Unionism is not a matter of life or death – it’s much more important than that!

Would you like to share your thoughts?