Members of Hamilton, Ont., Local 105 worked round the clock to build Joseph Brant Hospital’s temporary COVID-19 patient facility.

For half a decade, the members of Hamilton, Ont., Local 105 made the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation one of the main recipients of their charitable donations each year.

Although the facility is temporary, it still required power to a nurses’ station, 87 beds and HVAC.

So, when the hospital needed a temporary facility immediately to house and treat overflow COVID-19 patients, they came to the people who had been there all along.

The hospital, located in Burlington Ontario, serves what is known as the Golden Horseshoe, the stretch of cities and suburbs to the West of Toronto around the western shore of Lake Ontario. Nearly a quarter-million people would turn to Joseph Brant in an emergency, and despite an expansion four years ago (a new wing built, in part, by members of Local 105) it simply wasn’t big enough.

“We have made substantial donations to their foundation, supporting annual events as a major sponsor” Newick said. “Because of social distancing requirements, they needed two 12-hour shifts, round-the-clock. It speaks to who we are and the quality of work we do that they came back to us.”

Signatory contractor Plan Group got the contract.

Members supplied the electrical service, all the distribution and branch wiring to service the nurse call stations, the 87 beds in the patient care areas, including powering the headboards and heating and cooling. They installed fire alarm and lighting in the structure and the data and communication systems that are the heartbeat of modern health facilities.

“It wasn’t a big job, only about a dozen members, but they needed it now,” Newick said.

Local 105 worked on the hospital expansion about 5 years ago and the hospital called on signatory contractor the Plan Group again when the deadline was tight and quality had to be high.

The punch list was complete in eight days.

But the Local’s work wasn’t finished. Every member on the job got paid full scale, but Newick and the Executive Board of Local 105 voted to soften the blow for the hospital.

“We decided, on behalf of all the members working on the site, we would kick back $10 an hour for every hour worked and put it into our donation from our general fund,” Newick said. “when it was all through, we were able to donate more than $15,000 to the Hospital Foundation which they will use for critical COVID-19 supplies”.

As the IBEW it is not just what we deliver on the job, of course. But it is more than that.

“We serve our community when we do our jobs well,” said First District International Vice President Thomas Reid. “I think we are at our best when we show how the union spirit makes our members leaders in our community. This combined the best of both. In dark times, labor can still light the way.”