One of the first things Lee Caprio did as newly elected business manager was to open his blinds to reveal the sun beam into the office against a majestic pine tree. A perfect metaphor for a new chapter at IBEW Local 353.
“It is with great pleasure, humility and honour to be elected. I will strive every day to ensure that we achieve all the goals we set out for our members. Thank you to my team for their relentless strength, unwavering confidence and tireless efforts; my family for their patience and understanding; and finally, the membership who cast their ballot for change and new opportunities and ideas” stated Caprio.
Caprio’s win November 25, 2020 was as decisive and clear as his campaign message, the 3-C’s: Communication, Cooperation and Collaboration. He plans to continue this mandate as he transitions into the day-to-day operations of Local 353.
Bringing Collaboration to the Forefront
Lee Caprio was fortunate to have worked in the Local for the past four years as a field representative, gaining insight to the Local’s strengths and challenges. When asked what goals he looks forward to achieving, he immediately circled back one of the 3-C’s of his campaign; Collaboration. Caprio elaborates, “We need to understand our contractors’ hurdles and challenges and they need to understand our issues as well. Through collaboration, both sides can build a bridge to understanding. We might not always agree, but by discussing our issues we can build a strong and healthier relationship. This process needs to continue at all levels of government and associations as well,” stressed Caprio.
Recapturing and Diversifying Market Share
Market Share is a constant concern. The ICI, Low-Rise and High-Rise markets have realized steady growth, however, Caprio understands the need to re-capture market share in the Communications, Line, Power Generation and Transportation sectors, and looks forward to working on these markets with his team. The non-union presence has grown to record levels and the challenge going forward will be to capture this work.
Lee stresses, “Our logo says, Toronto, but we must work harder to ensure that we address market share in all areas of Durham, Barrie and throughout our jurisdiction. This is vital as our membership grows.”
Communication is Key, Especially During Covid-19
COVID-19 resulted in the Local to suspend Union meetings. “Local 353 hasn’t held a union meeting in over a year,” stated Caprio. “I am working with my team to develop a virtual online Unit Information Meeting for our members. It is critical to bring the membership up to date on a number of issues. COVID-19 is our biggest immediate challenge. Our members (and all construction workers) are deemed essential workers. We need to continue to work in concert with government, contractors, constructors and clients to protect all workers on the jobsite. I will work diligently to ensure the continued operation of our industry at the highest level of safety.” But it’s not just about physical safety, Lee adds, “Mental health is a big concern as well; the stress of working on jobsite with the fear of COVID-19 looming is a real concern. Every member needs to be confident that he will not bring home the virus to his/her family.”
An important sentiment Lee Caprio wants to stress, “I work for you, but also with you. We must work together to be successful. No one member is more important than the next. We are all responsible for our future. Brothers and sisters, stay safe, and stay healthy.”
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