About The NextGen
The Next gen… the next generation of electrical workers will take the helm and develop into future leaders of our proud union.
The IBEW in Canada is facing a growing leadership generation gap. The goal of the NextGen initiative is to make our organization representative of all of its members in order to increase youth engagement and grow the union.
The national unemployment rate is 7.1 percent, but among workers aged 15-24, it is more like 14. Overall, young workers today face lower wages and a more aggressively anti-union federal government than previous generations — making it harder than ever to be a union member.
Research shows that Gen Ys [those born after 1982] have little knowledge about the economic benefits of unions. The role labour played in creating and continuing to fight for the middle class is not taught in schools and too many business leaders and elected officials prefer to scapegoat and demonize organized labour. This constant negative bombardment leaves the general public — and Gen Y — with little else to go on when it comes to unions.
Our goal is to show young people that there is the space within our organization for them to develop as leaders and promote union activism in a way that is relevant and rewarding for them and their peers.
The IBEW has many things to be proud of and we need to take every opportunity to educate members about the fundamentals and positive attributes of our organization. And we have to communicate those messages in a way younger people can relate to: using social media with direct and concise messaging.
Newer members respect the experiences and knowledge of the older generation of union leaders, but believe that as young people, they have a unique perspective that can also be used to support the work of the labour movement.
We urge IBEW members under the age of 35 to get involved. This is a place where they can discuss issues relevant to them in their workplace and their community and learn more about the structures and culture of the IBEW.