Salute to BC Hydro Workers!

August 26, 2011

This sunny afternoon, BC Hydro workers lined up for cake to celebrate the historic profit earned by the public utility – a profit that without the people who work there, would not have been possible.

BC Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair wrote about the historic $586 million profit in a recent op ed in the Times Colonist. In the editorial Sinclair wondered why the rate review report would recommended BC Hydro slash 1,000 jobs, when only a few days later the government would quietly announced the utility’s unprecedented performance.

The BC Federation of Labour sponsored the event to honour the people who do BC Hydro’s work, most of whom are members of either MoveUP and the IBEW 258. To mark the occasion, cakes were decorated with congratulatory messages – “$589,000,000 surplus at BC Hydro” and “Thank you workers!” – were served.

Sinclair spoke passionately about the importance of the utility to British Columbia’s economy, and to the families that depend on reliable low cost power to an audience of downtown BC Hydro workers. He said BC Hydro sent a dividend of $463 million back to the provincial government to pay for things like healthcare, education, roads and justice services.

Next to speak was MoveUP Secretary Treasurer Lori Mayhew. Mayhew praised BC Hydro and Accenture employees for their work and told the crowd that while BC Hydro spends just over $500 million on its employees, it spent far more – $676 million – on private power.

Dan Klassen, Business Agent for IBEW 258 spoke about the difficult job his members are faced with in the field, and how much they deserve a celebration of their work.

NDP MLA Kathy Corrigan brought greetings from the Opposition Caucus and Energy Critic John Horgan. Corrigan told the crowd it was a shame that the government had decided to target the workers at BC Hydro instead of expensive policies like private power.

MoveUP President David Black finished off the brief speeches by noting how BC Hydro members were among the most efficient and productive workers in British Columbia when compared to the private sector. BC Hydro workers brought in an average of $692,000 each in revenues, making them among the top ten most profitable per-worker of 60 major BC corporations. In profit, the workers averaged $101,000 per employee, ranking them 7th out of that same list of 60.

British Columbians owe a great debt to the people who do BC Hydro’s work, and MoveUP was pleased to celebrate their success.

To watch a video of the event and send a message to Energy Minister Rich Coleman in support of BC Hydro members, click here.