President’s Message: B.C. Wildfires

August 19, 2021 - Hello members,

As you may know, at this time, there are more than 260 active fires throughout British Columbia, and 31 are considered wildfires of concern. Thousands of people are under evacuation orders, and even more are under evacuation alert, and must be ready to evacuate at any time.

Please know that my thoughts are with each of you, and your families, whose lives are being disrupted by these events, and whose homes might be threatened by the fires. I am meeting with the bargaining committee all this week and I know that they feel the same way, as does the rest of the Local leadership.

When we know that our members are facing challenges like this, the Local always reaches out to determine whether our members are all safe, and whether there is any assistance the Local can provide.

We know of three members near Vernon who have been evacuated, and we are in the process of locating two others that we believe may be under evacuation orders. Local Reps Chris Stephens and Steve McWhirter have also been reaching out one-on-one to members who may be affected. Local Rep Ron Palmer has also been in contact with Telus Health and Safety, and various Workplace Health and Safety Committee members, to gain further insight into what members are experiencing at work, to ensure that they have adequate equipment for their circumstances and that they are not unduly in harm's way while working.

Also, please know that the Steelworkers Humanity Fund has already contributed $50,000 to the United Way’s BC Wildfire Recovery Fund to support those affected by the wildfires in BC. You are part of a USW family that is looking out for you, and willing to support you when you need it.

If you, or anyone you know, requires assistance due to the effects of these wildfires, please email [email protected] to let us know how we can help.

 In Solidarity,

Donna Hokiro
USW Local 1944