Electrical workers: stronger together
CUPE locals representing members in provincial (Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba) hydro corporations all negotiated new contracts in the last year. New collective agreements have settled with 2 or 3% wage increases plus CoL. In Quebec and Manitoba, the experience of joint bargaining with sister unions has proven valuable. While joint bargaining was not always smooth, it was extremely worthwhile.
Local One reported on the Ontario Electrical Coalition and the battle to keep Ontario Hydro public. Their experience was very positive, as the Coalition got a court injunction to stop privatization of the utility. While the Government continued to break up the utility, a combination of focused advocacy and opportune timing has basically stopped its privatization.
To intensify the fight against privatization in Canada, the Locals also discussed expanding their collaboration. First, they noted the importance of working with other Canadian advocacy groups, non-governmental organizations and unions. Second, they agreed it is valuable to work internationally (through the ILO, PSI and the French based organization Right to Energy), to both support Canadian and global struggles against privatization. And third, the Locals agreed that it is important to have an annual meeting of electrical utility unions (which Quebec will organize for next year).