Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dealing with the unknown

Rumours that Hydro Quebec may purchase NB Power are startling words for all New Brunswickers, and especially for the 2200 NB Power employees represented by IBEW Local 37. Even more startling is when the rumours and speculation aren’t confirmed or denied.

I want you to know that as Business Manager, I have made it my mission to find out what’s going on and to keep our members informed with the best available information. Although there isn’t a lot of concrete information out there, there’s no denying that things are getting serious and that we can expect a significant change.

Yet, amidst all of the confusion I can confirm this: IBEW Local 37 is dedicated to ensuring the needs of its members are protected.

We haven’t been sitting idle while everything unfolds. From the moment the rumour mills started buzzing, our office started taking steps to find out as much as we can, as quickly as possible. Every effort is being made to influence decision makers, get answers, speak with the media and determine what the possible effects will be if something does happen. We need to be at the table so that as things move forward, we can have the necessary input on the concerns we have, concerns such as the continued employment of our members, their pensions and benefits, their terms and conditions of employment, and the implications that change will have on this province and its people.

But our focus isn’t stopping at our 2200 members employed at NB Power. This is also about their families and the communities in which they live. I’m also concerned about what the level of service we provide to New Brunswickers will be down the road. Most New Brunswickers can identify with what happened over time when NBTel became Aliant. Yes, we have phone service and support today, but are they at the same levels as they were 15 years ago? The simple fact is that whatever decision is made has to be in the best interest of the province not just two years from now, but also 30 years from now.

Next step - I will be meeting with the Premier this week and you can be guaranteed that the voices of 2200 Local 37 members will be heard. Stay tuned.

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