Nfld. & Labrador

IBEW expels former officers of its Holyrood local, orders them to repay $2.2M

An internal investigation by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers into Local 2330 is complete — but the union's training centre is bankrupt and the entire local is in trusteeship.

Local 2330 in trusteeship, training centre bankrupt

This is a sign from an IBEW Local 2330 protest in 2019. Members have questioned the union's finances for years, and on Oct. 8 received a letter detailing the results of a national-level investigation. (Katie Breen/CBC)

After a lengthy investigation of fishy financial transactions, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has expelled four former officers of its Holyrood-based chapter, Local 2330, and ordered them to repay more than $2.2 million.

Those findings — along with the notification that the local's training centre, the IBEW College, is now bankrupt — were released to local union members in a letter dated Oct. 8 and obtained by CBC News.

The finances of IBEW Local 2330 have been questioned for years — even provoking a public protest by its members — and in June 2019 IBEW Canada suspended the existing executive and put the entire local under trusteeship.

Two months later, an IBEW international vice-president, Tom Reid, detailed in a letter to members how, among other things, a former Local 2330 president racked up taxi fares despite being given a car allowance, and the president's sister had received a "substantial" amount of money as a form of unauthorized "severance."

Reid's Oct. 8 letter detailing the results of the investigation says that former president must pay back $1,576,283.77 in restitution, the most of any of the officers involved. Three other former officers must pay back amounts ranging from $42,000 to a little less than $500,000. 

They are all permanently expelled from the IBEW.

Two other former officers were found guilty, although neither was expelled nor required to pay restitution.

The case reached international levels within the union, as Reid said in the letter he had recused himself from the internal charges involving the officers due to possible appearance of conflict of interest, with an IBEW counterpart based in the U.S. taking over the investigation.

In the letter, Reid said the investigation took longer than it should have, due to multiple setbacks, including the January snowstorm, the onset of the pandemic, and the loss of the lead investigator on the case after his death from cancer in August.

Reid also wrote the "difficult decision was made to close the IBEW College as it was not financially viable," a decision made after "exhausting all options."

The newly built training centre is now in bankruptcy, but Reid said Local 2330 itself "remains intact."

"Some internal changes have been made," Reid said, but local members' pensions and benefits, along with vacation pay and various local funds, were secure.

The union local itself remains under trusteeship.

CBC News has asked Reid for comment.

No audits

Kevin Slaney is a 50-year member and the current vice-president of IBEW Local 2330, elected in September 2019.

"When we started digging into our finances and we realized that the matter was probably much too big for us to even handle ourselves, and the amounts of money that appeared to be missing were enormous," Slaney told CBC News Wednesday. 

"It was unbelievable what was going on there."

Slaney said under the union's constitution quarterly audits were supposed to take place. He said that never happened.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said six former union officers had been expelled. In fact, four officers have been expelled.
    Oct 14, 2020 10:34 AM NT

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