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Changes at Hydro Electric Board & Bargaining Update - Dec 8, 2023
Dec 09, 2023

December 8, 2023

Dear member;

On Dec 4th The Manitoba government announced a new board of directors for Manitoba Hydro.   The new board of directors will be chaired by Ben Graham, president and CEO of Manitoba Blue Cross and former president and CEO of Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI). Graham will be supported by former Hydro employees, labour experts and Indigenous leadership.

One of the board’s top priorities will be to ensure the long-term affordability of Manitoba Hydro rates and reliability of service for the people of Manitoba by being careful stewards of Hydro’s finances, noted Finance Minister Adrien Sala, minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro.

New board members are:

  • Ben Graham (chair) – president and CEO, Manitoba Blue Cross and former president and CEO, MPI;
  • Jamie Wilson (vice-chair) – vice-president, Indigenous strategy, research and business development, Red River College Polytechnic;
  • Tom Akerstream – former manager of Power Smart, manager of head office facilities, and energy and sustainability advisor at Manitoba Hydro;
  • Joy Cramer – CEO Southern Chiefs Organization, former deputy minister of family services, and deputy minister of housing and community development from 2009 to 2016;
  • Nicole Chabot (returning member) – vice-president, L. Chabot Enterprises, and immediate past-chair of Manitoba Heavy Construction Association;
  • Vernon Kalmakoff – First Nations entrepreneur in the Westman region;
  • Paul Moist – former national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), served as co-chair of former premier Gary Doer’s Economic Advisory Council and vice-chair of MPI;
  • Eric Redhead – MLA for Thompson, former chief of Shamattawa First Nation;
  • Mike Spence – mayor of Churchill, former Manitoba Hydro and Travel Manitoba board member; and
  • Leslie Turnbull – senior advisor and former principal of Viewpoints, former vice-chair of Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation, and previous Manitoba Hydro board member.

The board will aim to provide oversight, vision and sound fiscal stewardship to harness the untapped potential of Manitoba Hydro to keep rates low for families, support the province’s economic development potential, advance Indigenous reconciliation and move Manitoba into a clean energy future, noted the minister.

A copy of the mandate letter is available at

Manitoba Hydro Mandate Letter 2023

As for an update on Bargaining, the respective committees met Dec 5-7th this week, advancing discussions and coming to agreement on a handful of items.  This week was the 3rd group of meeting dates where IBEW has requested the corporation to deliver a financial mandate with consideration to include years 2022 and 2023 that were originally scheduled for arbitration.

On an somber note, we received notification from Blair Graham (the scheduled arbitrator) a few days ago that he will now only be able to hear the case in April 2024.  IBEW has expressed a willingness to consider other arbitrators or develop solutions to expedite the process, but as you may recall we had the highest regard for Blair Graham and there is apprehension using arbitrators that rule inconsistently as recently demonstrated with the UNIFOR GWI’s decision. Understanding that this has now been delayed far more than anticipated from the original expected dates, we have asked the corporation to consider other approaches.

  1. The parties take control and come to terms on an agreement from 2022-2025 and possibly 2026.  The corporation stated the Executive level at the corporation was not interested in this option and are currently unwilling to take it to govt for a request for approval.

  1. The second option, where the corporation delivers a mandate for 2024 onward with the baseline assumption of 2% for 2022, and 2% for 2023.  Considering this, a mandate would require 5.5% in 2024, 5.5% in 2025, and 3% in 2026 to be comparable to the recent MPI settlement offer.

The implication of the lengthy delay for the arbitration further prolongs the financial hardship for our membership who will have to wait even longer to receive compensation to help them with the added cost of living.  It is for this reason that the IBEW bargaining committee put forward the option to pay IBEW members 2% for 2022 and 2% for 2023, and retroactively apply the arbitration results in excess when the results are finalized.  The corporation stated although doable, the Executive level at the corporation was not interested in moving forward with this option that would help relieve financial burden for our front-line employees.  We remind you to review the communication that were sent out June 9, and subsequently on the 23rd of Hydro’s willingness to compensate some of its employees. Not included below was a recent $200 gift card card to recognize employee efforts over the limited strike period that was sent out on Nov, 2/2023  “Thank you for your efforts during the last two labour disruptions” as well as a stipend that also went out Dec 7th/2023   “Contingency Stipend Payment - Dec 7 pay stub”  as a reward for doing IBEW work.  

As previously communicated in a member update on June 9/2023, it is extremely concerning that amidst IBEW bargaining and potential labour action, Manitoba Hydro seems pre-occupied with Executive Salary increases and bonuses.   Manitoba Hydro (with approval from gov’t) has elected to use some of the over $700,000,000 (million) in Net Profit for 2022-23 to award SEVERAL MILLIONS in non-negotiated bonuses to approximately 2000  of all the Highest Salaries at Manitoba Hydro (Executives/Corporate Exempt/Management/Professional Engineers/Supervisors).  These bonuses include additional increases up to 1.75% and lump sum bonuses of 1.25%, as well as 2 extra days (.84% bonus) vacation days (see below).  Staff with questions or in need of more information, contact Total Rewards at totalrewards@hydro.mb.ca

  • Recently, the Manitoba Hydro executive team approved a paygrade adjustment (raises to the top end of all salaries) of 1.75% for Corporate Exempt employees and 1.5% for AMHSSE employees effective March 30, 2023.
  • Corporate Exempt employees will receive a one-time lump sum payment equivalent to 1.25% of their April 1, 2023 salary.  Additionally, AMHSSE employees will have 15.84 hours of vacation added to their current year’s vacation allotment.

Regrettably, the corporation has expressed reluctance towards these options, and engaged in repeated actions that appear intended to create conflict and divide employees.  In light of this, your strong support may be crucial in the form of a strike mandate if the corporation does not present a robust mandate in the coming weeks.  Anticipating this, the mandate will outline minimum options that the corporation must address before presenting an offer for membership ratification.


Business Manager
IBEW Local Union 2034


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