After 15 years calling Ontario Street their home, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 530 has made a new home in Point Edward. After several months of trials and tribulations looking for the right place in Sarnia they changed course and headed for Point Edward where they were welcomed with open arms.
The new training centre previously occupied by CARBER was gutted to the bare walls. Michael (Mickey)Cataford, Business Manager, along with the assistance of Burkhart Gilchrist Architects and Kris Osborn of Christopher Electric transformed the building into a “State of the Art” facility. “It is the best of the best,” says Wes Segade, Treasurer and Training Coordinator. Segade is very excited that they have incorporated the newest ideas and most up-to-date features with a big focus on environmental aspects during the reconstruction of the facility.
The training centre has two large rooms that can be set up classroom style and can hold up to 25 workers in each room. The new workshop area that will be used for hands- on training is close to completion and will be ready shortly. There is also plenty of room for the Retirees who meet every second Thursday of the month so they can talk shop.
Segade will begin to coordinate classes shortly and says that their main focus is on safety. Some of the courses they will offer are WMIS, IHSA (Infrastructure Health and Safety), Hoisting/Rigging, working in heights, and Arcflash. Much of the training for the local industrial plants will still be held at the I.E.C. on London Road. “It is important,” says Segade, “that we maintain our training, and if we cannot handle the training here we will outsource to the I.E.C. who will assist.”
Shelby is the facilities Apprentice coordinator. Currently she has 100 active individuals who are seeking to become Electricians. All night classes and training courses will be arranged by Shelby.
Their Dispatcher, Rebecca, also plays a very large role within the organization. This is the main dispatching centre for Local 530. Here all inquires for the availability of electricians is filtered. This is based on needs, she says, adding that there are approximately 100 travelling workers in our area right now, which means that all our local workers are currently employed.
Sherry Harpell has been employed by Local 530 for more than 35 years. She is the Administer for benefits (Health and Welfare/Pension). “I have seen a lot of changes over the years says Harpell, but one thing has never changed, and that is the care and support our workers give to each other and the community”. She explains, with a huge smile on her face, that the active members take care of the Retirees and have a great deal of respect for those who have worked hard all their life.
IBEW Local 530 currently has more than 700 active and retired members collectively. Their members volunteer their services often and assist with such venues as the Jazz & Blues Fest, Celebration of Lights, Humane Society and many more over the years.
During my visit it was not hard to see that everyone involved were very proud of his or her accomplishments, but mostly, they were happy to be part of this very large family.
Their new home is located at 128 Kendall Street in Point Edward. The Union Hall office hours are Monday to Thursday 8:00am until 4:30pm. Friday 8:00am until 1:30pm.