Unifor Local 975 represents the unionized employees of two natural gas industry companies, Enbridge Gas Distribution (EGD) and EnerCare Home Services (EHS) in Ontario. The history of Local 975 began in 1938 when Consumers Gas workers in the gas plants in Toronto first organized. Later, in the 1950s, four separate Locals were organized representing the Clerical Workers in Toronto, Operational Workers in Provincial Gas (Niagara), and both Clerical and Operational workers at Ottawa Gas.
Through the years, the different Locals (which were also with different Unions) went through many ups and downs and although the leadership remained diligent in working for the good of its members, they recognized that the most effective way to do this would be to bring all workers at the Gas Company together under the same union. This culminated in 1979 when all four Locals split away from their respective International unions and created the “National Union of Independent Gas Workers (NUIGW).” In 1982, the NUIGW merged with the “Energy and Chemical Workers Union of Canada (ECWU)” and in 1992 the ECWU, together with the “Canadian Paperworkers Union” and the “Communications Workers of Canada” merged and founded the “CEP or Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.” On August 31, 2013, at a Founding Convention in Toronto, Ontario, two of Canada’s largest and most influential labour unions; the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) and the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) came together to form Unifor, the largest union in Canada.
When the four Locals merged with the ECWU and then into the CEP, they continued as separate Locals and their leadership again recognized that the membership would be better represented through complete unity. With this goal in mind, the four Locals created a council to create a single Local that would represent all the unionized workers of Consumers Gas.
In 1994, after filing with the Ontario Labour Relations Board to unite the Locals, they proceeded to merge their operations and began conducting all union business as CEP Local 975. The next hurdle was to merge five Collective Agreements into one, something the company was opposed to. It took several years but eventually, they recognized the resolve of the workers and in 1998 the five Collective agreements were combined into one and CEP Local 975 was finally united!
Shortly thereafter, the company who by now had changed its name to Enbridge began splitting up and selling off its various business and service operations to allow them to focus their business solely on the distribution of gas. This streamlined version of the gas company then became Enbridge Gas Distribution. The first split involved the sale of the “home service” work to Direct Energy, followed by the sale of the Call Centre work to Accenture. By 2009, Accenture had moved the former Enbridge Call Centre work offshore and over 500 unionized members of Local 975 were displaced.
In October of 2014, Direct Energy sold their “home services” division to EnerCare resulting in the two current Bargaining Units, the EGD/Enbridge Unit and the EHS/EnerCare Unit. The EGD Unit represents both the clerical and operational workers at Enbridge Gas Distribution and the EnerCare Unit represents both the clerical and operational workers at EnerCare Home Services.
In early 2016, Local 975 welcomed the newly unionized members of JRL HVAC Inc. as their third Unit. The JRL Unit is currently negotiating its first contract.