First District International Representative Michael Power retired Oct. 1, capping almost 50 years of service. Brother Power was initiated into St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Local 2330 in 1970, then transferred to Churchill Falls Local 2351 in 1972 so he could do electrical maintenance work for the local utility company. In 1976, he was elected president and business manager, a position he held until 1992 when he was appointed international representative.
“I have nothing but the greatest respect for Mike,” said Local 2351 Business Manager Dean Harris. “He’s incredibly knowledgeable and just an all around good guy.”
Power served on the pension, grievance, apprenticeship and labor management and negotiations committees at Local 2351. He was also well versed in provincial labor laws even though his focus was Newfoundland and Labrador, his home province, said International Representative Brian Matheson, who has known Power since 1978.
“If you needed someone to help you, whether it was developing training courses for shop stewards or business managers, or with negotiations or investigations, you asked for Mike,” Matheson said. “He was good at everything he did.”
Among his numerous achievements, Power says the one that stands out was when he negotiated the contract for the Muskrat Falls transmission project, a CA$8.5 billion hydro project that connects Newfoundland to Labrador and its hydroelectric power, and will eventually extend south to Nova Scotia. All the electrical transmission, switchyard and support construction work was done solely by the IBEW under a special project agreement, employing more than 3,000 members during peak construction.
The project, which was done under the Code of Excellence at the request of the company, Nalcor, began in 2013 and is expected to finish in 2019.
“It is a massive job for us,” Power said of the project to build a generating station with a capacity of more than 800 megawatts.
Power says he’s enjoying having more time to hunt and work on projects around the house, as well as spending time with his wife, Tina, and his children and grandchildren. But he does miss his IBEW brothers and sisters, he said.
“I miss the camaraderie,” said Power, who also served as a reserve officer in the Royal Canadian Navy. “I made friends across Canada and the U.S. Being an international representative was a very rewarding and enjoyable career.”
Power said he considers his work with the IBEW to have been more than just a job.
“A career is something that you live and breathe. It’s part of your person,” he said. “It doesn’t just end when you clock out. Whether it was Sunday night or Monday morning, I was there.”
The IBEW officers, members and staff are grateful to Brother Power for his years of service and wish him many happy years of retirement.