On Nov. 27, I proudly presented a cheque for $3,000 to the locked out Members of IBEW 213 on behalf of the Membership of USW Local 9705. This represents a mere fraction of the monies needed to help our locked out brothers and sisters who have been unjustly locked out by FortisBC since June 26, 2013. Boxing Day will mark the six-month anniversary of this lockout
One would think there must be some pretty heavy pressures on Fortis for them to seek extensive concessions from their employees and keep them locked out an extended period of time.
In reality, Fortis is a very profitable corporation that has a monopoly on power generation and distribution to a captive customer base of approximately 163,000 customers. Fortis earned a net income of $151 million in 2012, have been granted a cumulative rate increase of 6.6 per cent effective Jan 1, 2013, and is seeking additional rate increases of 19 per cent over the next five years.
John Walker, President and CEO of Fortis, and his leadership team of eight vice-presidents all earn handsome compensation packages for their role in Fortis’s success.
However, when it comes to their employees, Fortis has taken the gloves off and are engaging in ruthless union busting tactics to force concessions on their employees. Each time Fortis comes to the bargaining table they change their demands which is a pretty clear indication they have no desire to settle their self-imposed dispute.
I think it is very important that we recognize the sacrifices IBEW 213 members are being forced to make as a result of Fortis’s disgraceful attack upon their livelihoods. As this lockout drags on, many families are facing severe financial hardship and they need our support.
This is a call for all labour organizations and their members to support the members of IBEW 213 by donating to their cause and by writing to Fortis and letting them know what you think of their actions.
The West Kootenay Labour Council has opened an account at Kootenay Savings Credit Union, Account # 1477728 to accept donations at any branch for these employees.
Please donate generously to help our fellow workers and their families in their time of need this Christmas.
Chuck MacklonPresident, USW Local 9705Trail