“I got involved with the union because I wanted things to change.”
Jim Lofty has done it all, from studying graphics and printing to working as a heavy-duty mechanic, as well as working in the film industry and stagecraft… all in all, Jim is a “handyman”. He started his journey into the electrical trade and the union in 1990, “It was all very new to me. I came through the old school way where you started off becoming a union member. I applied to the union, they accepted me, set up all my schooling, provided me with some tools, and then I showed up for my first day of work!” Jim started his first day not knowing what to expect, but he really took to it, much to his surprise. He completed his apprenticeship in 1994 and worked for Mott Electric from 1995-to 2012. “I had a well-rounded experience with lots of different pieces of the electrical trade that I got to see and take part in.”
Jim’s varied experiences have helped shape him into the progressive leader he is today – The business manager/financial secretary of the IBEW Local 213. With a strong passion for diversity and inclusion, Jim is currently guiding the development of the electrical industry’s workforce for decades to come. “Being a labour union leader comes with a heavy crown, knowing that your decisions affect people’s lives. If you make a good decision, you can save somebody’s life or improve it; people can lose their jobs if you make a mistake. In this role, you’re not serving any individual member at any given time as much as we’d like to. As we lead the organization, we’re trying to do the best for every one of our nearly 6000 members. That can be daunting at times but rewarding nonetheless.”
Not only is Jim passionate about his union members, but he also has a deep respect for the women, indigenous members, and other under-represented groups in the trade. “I think what the EJTC (Electrical Joint Training Committee) has been doing with their Indigenous programs has been excellent. I am passionate about trade-women issues and enjoy being a facilitator in the ‘Be more than a bystander’ program with BCCWITT (BC Center for Women in the Trades). We are trying to shift the construction industry’s culture to a respectful and safe place for ALL to come to work.”
For more information:
IBEW Local 213: http://www.ibew213.com/
BCWITT–Be More Than a Bystander:
Written by: Savannah Davis, ClearWater Communications Co.