After leaving the Military, Greg choose to start his Electrical Apprenticeship with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 568 (Montreal) because they offered him a higher wage and superior benefits. In 2004, he moved to Winnipeg and IBEW Local 2085 where his love for the labour movement was kindled.
He immediately made arrangements to complete his apprenticeship. Through hard work he obtained his Red Seal Certificate for Construction Electrician in November 2006.
It was during this time that IBEW did not have a lot of work and he obtained a job in the non-union sector. He worked with his Local’s organizer to attempt to organize the workforce at this company. While working non-union he noticed the distinct difference in the work environments between union companies and non-union companies. Wages were low, safety was compromised, there were few or no benefits, breaks, etc. This was unacceptable to Greg. After a few months, he was called back to work with IBEW local 2085 and he never looked back. He learned a lot from the brothers and sisters at 2085. He got experience as a journeyperson, foreman and steward.
In early 2008, Greg received word that the current local union organizer was resigning and that the position was available to applicants. He was hired. His duties as organizer included membership development, promotion of the union and new member orientation.
To this day, he takes every opportunity to provide information to his members and promotes organized labour, the IBEW and the Building Trades. He also gave presentations to apprentices at Red River College, Winnipeg Technical College, Tech-Voc high school and Assiniboine Community college.
During his time as organizer he has found himself involved in all aspects of the labour movement. He represented his union on the Winnipeg Labour Council (WLC) and has been elected 1st Vice President of the WLC. He also sits on the Executive Council of the Manitoba Federation of Labour as the Vice President representing Young Members. Brother Greg also undertakes extensive volunteer work through the United Way campaign, the Labour Christmas Tree Party for elementary school students, the Rossbrook House Picnic, and in election campaigns. He has worked on the Canadian Labour Congress’ Public Pension Reform campaign and the CLC Municipalities Matter Campaign, the United Way Union Counseling service (now known as Community Advocacy Training). The list goes on.
Greg’s passion for his trade has taken him to Ottawa, representing Manitoba’s electrical workers to help create the criteria and qualification examination questions for the Red Seal National certification exam.
Among the things he has helped create that he is very proud of is the IBEW’s National Young Workers Initiative. Brother Greg and a colleague successfully lobbied his union’s national president who, in turn, presented it to the International President. The International embraced the initiative, allotted funding and it us now in place and flourishing across Canada.
Greg was also able to assist the MFL Young Member’s Committee to create a Scholarship fund for young student-workers who contribute, or are working to contribute, to the labour movement as part of their career. This scholarship has been in place since 2009 and Greg and the committee are now working hard to make it sustainable for students, in the future.
Brother McFarlane won the 2011 "IBEW Has Talent" competition and was recognized at his Union’s 2011 International Convention in Vancouver, British Columbia. More than 500 entries from across North America were entered. One entrant from each of the IBEW’s eleven districts were invited to the convention to compete.
Brother Greg’s passion for the Labour movement guides his daily actions and is part of his very being. He has dedicated his life to winning Fairness for Working Families. His central focus remains to be to represent the IBEW and the Building Trades. United We Bargain! Divided We Beg!