We had our booth at the College of New Caledonia in Quesnel for their annual job fair Feb 16th, 2017. I had an opportunity to meet with the Electrical Foundations class and discuss the important role that unions play in todays world.
It is important to attend these events so we can explain who we are, what the IBEW stands for, and how members make the union by being involved, doing great work, and debunk the many myths and rumours about us and what union dues are used for. Major corporations and anti-union organizations have much larger advertising budgets than we do so their message is the one that gets out most often and it tends to carry a negative message about unions.
Once I have the opportunity to explain how much people pay in taxes (much more than dues avg 40% of income) and the limited ability to exercise those rights as workers they understand the importance of union representation. The simple fact that coming together as a group of skilled workers we can have an influence on the electrical industry. However, as individuals, the labour laws and human rights laws still exist, but very few can afford to exercise those rights on their own when they are treated unfairly!
I was told “But they can’t do that because of our right to refuse unsafe work.” But in reality when your rights are violated and you are standing outside the job site after being fired what do you do as an individual? Do you have tens of thousands of dollars to hire a lawyer to defend your rights on your own and live without wages or unemployment insurance during the legal action? The harsh reality is that without union representation you have limited options other than hunting for a new job, and the non-union sector knows this. So without unions why do they need to follow human rights and labour laws?
These college students put me on the spot a few times, they know their stuff. They now also understand the value our organization brings to the Industry and why the IBEW is the right choice