2015 is certainly turning out to be a busy and interesting year for our union.
The Society has renewed collective agreements at OEB, NWMO and Bruce Power so congratulations to those bargaining teams, as well as to the AMEC-NSS Local, which reached a new tentative agreement earlier this week. Later this year, IESO, ESA, Inergi and OPG will head to their respective bargaining tables. We are also continuing to work on broadening our membership as we seek recognition to represent lawyers at both Legal Aid Ontario and Human Rights Legal Support Centre.
You will have also seen that we are fully engaged in representing our members at Hydro One as the government considers recommendations to privatize this vital public asset. This process began back in April of 2014 when the government announced Ed Clark would head the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets. The Council’s mandate was to recommend ways the government could maximize its access to capital so it can build new transportation infrastructure. The Society had multiple meetings with the panel to represent our members through 2014. These meetings are now continuing in 2015 as the panel moves forward, further examining the options related to ownership of all or part of Hydro One.
While I cannot say that we are pleased with all of the outcomes of the panel to date, I can say with certainty that The Society is having an influence on the process. The panel, and the government, recognize the importance of Society members in the past and future successes of Hydro One and they are actively listening to our input. We believe it is in all our members’ interest to continue to meet and discuss options with the government and the employer. These meetings are non-binding, and if it becomes necessary, we can walk away from them at any time without any prejudice to our future positions.
As you know, these processes are highly political and it is the power of our members that allows us to influence their outcome. To that end, you can help shape these discussions by adding your voice directly to the process. If you haven’t already, I would ask that when you get home tonight you take a minute to visit www.keephydropublic.ca. In less than a minute, you can click on the link, input your name and postal code and send a letter to your MPP asking for a fair, public and transparent process for making this significant decision about the future of Ontario (but please remember to use your personal e-mail address, not your employer’s).
Once you have added your own voice to the process, I would also ask that you forward the link to a few of your friends and family. Talk to them about what is happening and encourage them to look into it and add their voice. The public and ratepayers can only be helped by a process that brings all the facts out into the hard light of the day. Sunshine in government should apply to more than just salaries.