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Important Update on Bargaining and Potential Strike Mandate - Dec 19, 2023
Dec 29, 2023

December 19, 2023

Dear member;

I hope this message finds you well.  As we approach the final two days of bargaining on December 19th and 20th, marking a total of 10 days of negotiations for the 2024-2026 period, we must bring to your attention a critical development in the ongoing discussions.  As of this morning, we still do not have a financial mandate from Manitoba Hydro.

Regrettably, despite our dedicated efforts, we have yet to receive a financial mandate from the corporation.  If this situation persists by the end of this week, we will be left with no choice but to request a strike mandate before the year concludes.

Our initial intent was to conclude the 2022-2023 negotiations with agreed-upon figures, bypassing the delayed arbitration process.  However, the corporation's reluctance to settle the GWI’s before the impending arbitration has compelled us to proceed with the assumption of a 2% increase for both 2022 and 2023.

To provide insight into the financial implications and to offer a basis for comparison, please consider the following key points:

  1. The chart below illustrates the base salary carried forward from the previous year, with the corresponding percentage applied.
  2. The salary differential entering the year 2027 is $825 more in IBEW equivalent over the 5-year period.
  3. The total combined earning differential over the 5-year period is $409 more in IBEW equivalent.  However, it is crucial to recognize that the corporation has been holding your hard-earned increases and earning interest on your money.

Throughout the current bargaining round, the corporation has cited financial hardship for the 2023-2024 fiscal year. Still, it is essential to highlight some pertinent facts and perspectives:

  • Hydro's net income in 2022-23 was $655 million, consistently demonstrating substantial profitability.  Manitoba Hydro diligently budgets and forecasts for potential challenges such as droughts.
  • Prior to negotiations, we requested headcount numbers for various areas of Manitoba Hydro.  From 2018 to 2023, the corporation has increased staffing levels by:

  • 90 more corporate exempt staff.
  • 70 more AMHSSE staff.
  • 4 more executives.
  • 5 more engineering.

Simultaneously, there has been a reduction of 143 staff in IBEW.  This transformation has elevated Hydro's overall payroll, incurring an estimated additional cost of $11,031,207.67 million per year.  Additionally, several million dollars are spent annually to outsource work traditionally performed by IBEW.  

Considering these facts, if Manitoba Hydro fails to provide a significant financial mandate by December 20th, a STRIKE MANDATE VOTE will be initiated on January 4, 2024.

This vote differs from others; it's absolute.You will decide whether to grant your Bargaining Committee a strike mandate based on the minimum threshold outlined in the "IBEW equivalent to the MPI offer."  Your vote will be either a YES or a NO:

#1.      YES – I authorize my Bargaining Team to call a strike if necessary.  This mandate ensures:

  • The committee will only present an offer in the future that is "not less than" the total combined earnings or increase to overall salary outlined in the "MPI and IBEW Equivalent to MPI."
  • A full strike with 100% withdrawal of services until an offer greater than or equal to the comparisons above is made.  Note: The IBEW bargaining committee understands and will alert the corporation that this minimum threshold it will consider before bringing an offer to the membership and is no reassurance of acceptance by the membership.

  • If a strike occurs, an offer to the membership will include .42% of the base salary for every day of strike activity (the cost of a day), with full restitution to "make members whole."  This mandate aims to eliminate the "slow play" experienced over the last several years.

#2.      NO – I do not grant my Bargaining team authority to call a strike in the future.

The strike mandate vote empowers the IBEW's Negotiating Committee to call a strike, if necessary, in the absence of a specific strike deadline.  A “YES” vote demonstrates strength and solidarity, assuring Manitoba Hydro of our commitment to a fair deal promptly.  Although not a guarantee of success, a "YES" vote significantly enhances our chances of negotiating a fair contract at the bargaining table.


Business Manager
IBEW Local Union 2034


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