On Friday December 16th, IBEW locals organized further protests against Schedule 17 in Ottawa and Hamilton.
In Hamilton, IBEW Local 105 organized a protest that saw over 120 members attend.
In Ottawa, IBEW Local 586 demonstrated outside Liberal MPP (Glengarry—Prescott—Russell) Grant Crack’s constituency office. In spite of the -15°C cold, over 100 members from IBEW 586 and UA Local 71 marched for over 3 hours.
The mood was positive in spite of the issue: demonstrators focused on educating passersby. The signs earned a steady stream of honks from passing traffic.
Grant Crack did not make an appearance, but some of his aides came out to talk to the protesters. “Like most of the Liberal politicians we’ve talked to, they didn’t seem to understand what’s going on,” said IBEW Local 586 Business Manager John Bourke. “They made a few statements paraphrasing the official position, and clearly hadn’t done any research on their own. Once again, it was we who were educating them about the implications of Schedule 17.”
Bourke and the other demonstrators made sure to keep things positive, being polite to the aides who came out to talk, and making sure no garbage was left behind.
Non-Union Electricians Joined In
The IBEW demonstrators were pleased that employees of a non-union electrical contractor joined in the demonstration. Schedule 17 affects all skilled trades, as it would give some electrical work to general labourers. Often this work can compromise the safety of electricians and the public at large.
Current Schedule 17 Status
As of Monday December 19, Schedule 17 is not law.
While it is factual that some parts of Bill 70 were proclaimed at the time of Royal Assent, Schedule 17 was not proclaimed. Only once Schedule 17 has been proclaimed does it become law. That is why we need to continue to stand in solidarity; a united voice to elevate awareness and educate our government, the public, and our brothers and sisters in both the compulsory and the non-compulsory trades about the issues.
The Time to Demonstrate is Now
If your local still hasn’t demonstrated, it’s not too late to do some good.
“I’d like to challenge every local who hasn’t demonstrated yet to get out there and make yourselves heard,” says John Bourke. “Schedule 17 will change the face of your trade and will affect your future, your family’s future, and the future of public safety.”
John Grimshaw of IBEW CCO echoed his sentiments. “We’re still meeting and monitoring the situation. Depending on the outcome of the next few weeks, we definitely plan future demonstrations.”