After many long years of dedicated service to the IBEW, Jack Dowding is retiring.
He first joined Local 530 in Sarnia back in 1974, when he was accepted by the Local’s apprenticeship council. Since then, he has not only been a Business Manager, but has served
IBEW CCO Executive Chairman, IBEW Electrical Power Council of Ontario Executive Chairman, and as Labour Representative to the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
For over 15 years, Jack and his family have demonstrated incredible commitment to the IBEW, as he has been living in Toronto five days a week, and commuting to Sarnia to see his family on weekends.
Jack is taking with him some very fond memories of working with the IBEW CCO team.
“Our office is a fantastic place to work. Great chemistry, and we’re staffed by very clever individuals, who like me, enjoy coming to work here every day. I would like to thank each and every one of them for all the support. It’s been a great ride – never a dull moment – but most of all, it’s been very fulfilling.”
John Grimshaw reflects on how great it was to work with Jack. “Jack is one of those people that, no matter how stressful a situation he found himself in, he always kept calm and tried to come up with a solution everyone could live with. He rarely had anything bad to say about anybody. I will definitely miss working with him.”
Jack has many favourite memories from his career. “It’s hard to pick just one, but receiving my 40-year IBEW anniversary pin is definitely one of them.”
He also recalls many hard-fought battles to serve the membership. “EPSCA (Electrical Power Systems Construction Association) contract negotiations have been an uphill battle since 1995, and 2015 was no different,” he comments.
“Along the way, we ratified the Nuclear Projects Agreement (NPA) which is expected to provide long term stability for the anticipated nuclear turbine generator refurbishments at both Ontario Power Generation and Bruce Power. We had a great team assembled for the NPA negotiations and the Generations and Transmission agreements that followed.”
Over the course of Jack’s career, he has seen a radical change in the political landscape, and not for the better.
“I feel like the press has demonized organized labour. We used to be the good guys. Electrical work, especially work on power lines, is incredibly dangerous and if there’s an accident often there’s no second chance. We just want to come home safe at night.”
To anyone who is considering a leadership role within the IBEW, Jack has some advice.
“You have to be committed, and you have to have a thick hide on you. Your family will play a huge role in keeping you sane, and so will the other delegates. They’ll quickly become your best friends, because they’re the only ones who will be able to understand what you’re going through.
As you can imagine, Jack is looking forward to spending more time with his wife of over 40 years. Travelling to San Diego with her is one of the top items on his wish list, as is keeping up with the latest from his twin sons, who are now going through post-secondary education.
Jack also has a large stack of mystery novels waiting for him.