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Mr. Shearon Goes to Winnipeg

IFPTE Secretary-Treasurer Paul Shearon was in Winnipeg, Manitoba for back-to-back Annual General Meetings with TEAM/IFPTE Local 161 and WAPSO/IFPTE Local 162.

IFPTE International Representative David Sauer, TEAM Executive Director Bob Linsdell, TEAM Labour Relations Officer Erin Spencer, TEAM President/IFPTE Canadian Area Vice President Misty Hughes-Newman, and IFPTE Secretary-Treasurer Paul Shearon

On Tuesday, October 31, he was asked to address members of IFPTE Local 161, highlighting the need for member engagement and pressuring political allies to follow through on their commitments to workers. IFPTE Local 161 members are currently involved in a transition process since their former employer, Manitoba Telecom Services, was acquired by Bell Canada Enterprises. In response to positions within the company being eliminated, the Local embarked on a lobbying campaign over the summer and into the fall, with municipal, provincial and federal representatives, to build political support for maintaining local jobs in Manitoba. Im from Washington DC, so I know that even with our political allies, pressure has to come from the members to keep their feet to the fire. said Brother Shearon.

Mr. Shearon Goes to WinnipegOn Wednesday, November 1, Paul was asked to address WAPSO/IFPTE Local 162 for the first time. The Local members recently settled their collective bargaining agreement via arbitration and were awarded 8.2% over four years. The settlement was a major victory for the membership; however, this round of collective bargaining will be the last time a contract between WAPSO and the City of Winnipeg will be settled via arbitration. The City invoked its right under Manitoba law to withdraw from the arbitration process in further negotiations. This puts WAPSO in a strike/lockout position in future negotiations. In his remarks to the members, Paul pressed the importance of belonging to IFPTE in situations like this, as the experience of the international will help prepare the membership for such a situation should it arise.

Inbetween AGMs, Paul was invited to the Manitoba Legislature as a guest of the Leader of the Official Opposition, Wab Kinew. Kinew was recently elected as the new leader of the Manitoba New Democratic Party in September. Paul attended Question Period with Manitoba Federation of Labour president, Kevin Rebeck, and observed Kinew and the NDP aggressively challenge the Conservative government for its recent cuts to health care, education, and the environment. Afterwards, Kinew took time to meet privately with Paul to discuss issues concerning Locals 161 and 162 members.

Paul was warmly received during his time in Winnipeg, despite the notoriously cold winter beginning to emerge.

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