Unifor representatives from energy locals in Newfoundland & Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia met in Fort McMurray this week at the Energy Industry Council Meeting.
They were joined by a dozen members of the Russian trade union ROGWU, which represents workers at the energy company Tatneft. As a fellow affiliate of IndustriALL, ROGWU is keenly interested in sharing best practices for bargaining and protecting energy workers.
Unifor National President Jerry Dias was present to speak to delegates about the importance of energy jobs to communities across the country: “The energy sector is a jobs powerhouse. Unifor is committed to fighting to keep it that way.”
Executive Assistant to the National President Scott Doherty reported on the pattern bargain recently negotiated in Montreal with Suncor. He reviewed the deal’s wage lifts and other gains and said that implementing the pattern is a top priority.
“We used our collective power to sign a historic agreement,” said Doherty. “Your members earned every dollar in that contract and now it’s time to make sure it is implemented.”
Energy Industry Council Chairperson Kim Conway led a discussion about a campaign in development to promote the importance of the industry and good jobs.
“There is an uneven understanding across Canada about the role of fossil fuels and value-added jobs,” said Conway. “Our campaign will be designed to help Canadians appreciate the vital role of Canadian energy, while recognizing that there is a transition underway that requires federal leadership and a long-term plan for energy workers.”
To get the conversation started, the Energy Industry Council published a new video that outlines the challenges facing Canadian energy, and Unifor’s solutions.
Delegates also participated in a workshop from professor Pierre-Olivier Pineau from HEC Montreal. Pineau discussed national and international energy consumption patterns and other trends in the energy sector.
Unifor is hosting a conference in September to tackle the issue of Just Transition and public policy regarding fossil fuel development.