Category Archives: Union News

Deadline Nearing for Canadian Conference Bursary Applications

Deadline for applications for the IUOE Canadian Conference bursaries is Aug. 1, 2018.

There are 10 bursaries of $750 each.

The bursaries are intended to provide financial assistance to students who are dependents of IUOE members.

The bursary recipient must be entering the first or subsequent year of a full-time course of study (at least two years in length) leading to a diploma, certificate or degree from any recognized public Canadian college or university.

Applications are considered from four regions:

  • Atlantic Canada
  • Quebec and Ontario
  • Saskatchewan and Manitoba
  • Alberta

Applications must be supported by transcripts of high school achievement and accompanied by a detailed letter of recommendation from an individual with personal academic knowledge of the candidate, outlining reasons why the bursary should be awarded.

In addition, applicants must submit a 1,000-word essay on the reason why the bursary will be of assistance or the impact that being a dependent of a union member has had on the applicant’s life.

An application form can be downloaded by clicking here. They can also be obtained by calling the IUOE Local 772 office at 905-527-5250.

Gallagher Re-elected as International VP

Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher has been re-elected as seventh vice-president on the general executive board of the International Union of Operating Engineers which represents nearly 400,000 union members from across North America.

“I consider it an honour and privilege to be re-elected as a vice-president on the general executive board of the IUOE and to represent Operating Engineers across the country,” Gallagher said.

“I feel humbled and will continue to do everything in my power to raise issues that we face in Canada to the IUOE general executive board.”

The election took place recently at the 39th general convention of the IUOE in Hollywood, Florida.

Gallagher, who is also president of the Canadian Conference of the IUOE, said he looks forward to advancing the union agenda.

“The issues that Operating Engineers face here in Canada are often the same ones faced by our Brothers and Sisters south of the border, namely organizing new companies and training the next generation of crane and heavy equipment operators,” he said. “I look forward to working with the rest of the general executive board to chart a bright future for our union and its members.”

Local 793 president Joe Redshaw said in remarks at the convention that Gallagher is a dedicated, loyal and hard working union leader who has been an advocate for health and safety.

“Brother Gallagher’s honesty, integrity and work ethic will benefit the membership of this great International union.”

Gallagher is a past president of the Construction Safety Association of Ontario and won the Roy A. Phinnemore Award in 2013 for his contributions to construction health and safety. More recently, he was instrumental in convincing the government that rotary drill rig operators in Ontario require mandatory training.

Redshaw said in addition to his union contributions, Gallagher has also spearheaded events to raise money for charitable causes. He helped raise $170,000 to purchase a bulldozer for an orphanage in Kenya, another $100,000 for victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and chairs the Gary O’Neill Memorial Golf Tournament that has raised more than $600,000 for esophageal cancer research.

Gallagher was first appointed to the general executive board as an International trustee in October 2005. In May 2011, he was appointed as an International vice-president on the board. He has been a vice-president for seven years.

 

Day of Mourning Event Held at Local 793 Head Office

Labour, governments and employers must do more to curb fatalities and injuries on construction sites and other workplaces, Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher said in remarks at a Day of Mourning ceremony April 27 at the union’s head office in Oakville.

“The trend this year for fatalities is absolutely going the wrong way,” he said, “and that means that we have to redouble our efforts, find out what the main cause is, what’s happening and make sure that we take actions to prevent these fatalities from happening.”

About 100 people, including many employers, apprentices and union staff, attended the morning, hour-long ceremony, held at a monument at head office that is dedicated to Local 793 operators who’ve been killed or injured on the job.

In the audience were a number of family members of Local 793 operators whose names are etched on the monument. One new name was engraved on the monument this year – that of 54-year-member Wayne McPhail who died from asbestosis on April 6, 2017 at 77. McPhail developed problems from asbestos on the clutches and brakes he worked on.

Gallagher said while efforts are being made to prevent accidents, the fatality statistics so far this year in construction are sobering.

“When we think we’re going in the right direction, we start to go in the wrong direction.”

There have been seven construction fatalities in Ontario so far this year, he said, up from two during the same period in 2017.

In 2017, he noted, 22 people were killed in construction site accidents in the province, up significantly from 14 in 2016, while 271 construction workers were injured, up from 182 in 2016.

According to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), about 200 people are killed each year on the job in Ontario, which, Gallagher said, is “far, far too many.”

He said a large number of the construction fatalities are either from struck-by accidents or falls.

“You can fall just seven feet and end up in a fatality,” he said. “Some of these falls are from much greater heights and some of them are from lesser, but a fall is absolutely a major problem despite all the efforts that have been made for fall protection and everything else.

“It just seems not to be getting through because you can have fall protection gear on, but if you don’t tie off it isn’t worth anything really except decoration.”

Gallagher noted the Ontario government has launched an awareness program called Stand Down for Safety aimed at encouraging construction employers and workers to engage in toolbox-style talks at the start of each workday to ensure safety is a daily focus.

However, he said, more must be done, legislation needs to be tougher, and efforts to prevent fatalities from happening have to move quicker, as workers are still being killed.

Gallagher noted that several years ago two young girls were killed in a tragic accident in the Niagara area on a Take Our Kids to Work Day when the “Gator” utility vehicle they were riding in smashed into the bottom of a parked truck-trailer.

“If that doesn’t tell you there’s something wrong with how we view health and safety nothing will.”

He also spoke about a fatality involving Kyle Knox, a Local 793 apprentice who was killed Oct. 11, 2011 when a rotary drill rig collapsed at a construction site in Toronto. The operator of the drill rig was not licensed and only had 80 hours training.

Gallagher said Knox was a young man with a promising career and the accident likely would not have happened if a licensed, qualified operator had been running the rig.

“It boggles the mind why we would want to take shortcuts when we know the risk is so, so high.”

Gallagher told those at the ceremony that labour has been pushing for more penalties and bigger fines for employers who are criminally responsible for fatalities in their workplaces and on their sites since the Westray mine disaster, but the fact is it’s not happening.

“The law is there but the enforcement of that is not and very few employers have gone to jail. The other thing is that the fines, on average, are just under $100,000 across the country for a fatality and I say to you that that’s a pitifully low amount to value a human life when there’s been absolute cause of an employer ignoring health and safety.”

Gallagher said he believes that fines have to increase but governments also have to put more money into prevention.

“Everybody talks a good game in government and that probably happens in every province across the country where they talk the mantra, but they don’t necessarily follow through with what they’re saying. They’re fine-sounding words but they’re not taking action to prevent accidents and fatalities from happening.”

Gallagher said Ontario has a chief prevention officer but the problem is that everything moves too slowly when it comes to health and safety.

“We’re not moving fast enough on prevention to ensure that we do actually prevent the fatalities from happening.”

For example, Gallagher said, a study done by the Construction Safety Association of Ontario showed that compulsory certification of crane operators coupled with mandatory training reduced operator fatalities in Ontario by more than 80 per cent or higher, but crane licensing regulations across the country are less than Ontario’s standard.

As a result of harmonization efforts, he said, there is pressure on Ontario to lower its standards and reduce the amount of training hours required to become a crane operator.

Instead, he said, the tide should be reversed and compulsory certification should be made mandatory for every piece of heavy equipment.

“You should have compulsory certification and you should have mandatory training. Unbelievably, there is equipment out there on jobsites and various places where the operator doesn’t even need a driver’s licence to operate the equipment.”

Gallagher called on governments to ensure that all types of heavy equipment have certified and licensed, mandatory-trained and qualified operators.

He noted that after four and a half years the union was finally able to convince the province to make crane licensing mandatory for rotary drill rig operators.

“The issue was offshore contractors coming in here and putting less-qualified workers on the equipment, something we have to be absolutely vigilant on,” he said. “But why does it take four and a half years for us to do what we all know needs to be done?”

Gallagher also spoke about a mesothelioma-screening program at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. The early detection program is a pilot project supported by Local 793 and other building trades. The program is designed to detect mesothelioma and lung cancer at an early stage.

He encouraged operators and apprentices to participate in the program. Members can call 416-340-5686 to get more information about the program.

Local 793 president Joe Redshaw, who emceed the ceremony, said fatality statistics are going in the wrong direction and he called on the Ministry of Labour (MOL) to conduct more enforcement blitzes to make sure workers are trained and using equipment properly.

He also called on the WSIB, Infrastructure Health and Safety Association and MOL to review statistics to find out if there’s a common cause for fatalities and determine if that’s due to lack of enforcement, jobsite inspections, training or complacency in the workplace.

“We need to look at those deeper and find out if we can find a cause and then we can focus on that type of training.”

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton said he’s proud that the Region of Halton, Town of Oakville, Oakville Hydro, the local hospital and housing corporation all agree that safety is their top priority.

“We pledge that we will return you and we will do everything in our power and deploy every resource at our command to make sure that you go home to your family and your loved ones in as good condition as you come to work in the morning. That is our reciprocal responsibility we have to the people who work for us.”

Oakville North-Burlington MP Pam Damoff expressed her condolences to families at the ceremony whose loved ones have died.

“No one should send someone off to work and not have them come home,” she said. “Everyone should expect to greet their loved ones exactly the same way that they left for work.”

Oakville MP John Oliver said in 2016 more than 900 Canadians died due to a workplace injury or illness and hundreds more were injured.

“The tragic loss of women and men every year is a reminder that there’s always more that we can be doing to improve workplace health and safety.”

Also at the event, Local 793 vice-president Joe Dowdall read a poem called Do You See Me? that was written by retiree Frank G. Davis of London. Following is the poem:

You will see me in the sunset’s glow
And in the early morning rise
And you will see me in the clouds that float
Across our lovely skies

You will hear me in the thunder
And in the winds that blow
You will see me in the sparkling frost
And on the new falling snow

You will feel me in the warm breeze
That blows every spring
You will hear me in the song
That nesting robins sing

You will feel me in the bark
As you touch a tree
And each leaf that falls
Forever more
Will be a part of me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

London Office Being Relocated as of May 7

Local 793’s district office in London is moving and will be operational at a new location as of Monday, May 7, 2018.

The office is being relocated to 4096 Meadowbrook Drive, Unit 115, London, N6L 1G4.

The phone number for the new office is 519-652-2740 and will be active on May 7, 2018.

The office at 523 First Street, Suite 2, in London, will be closed as of 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 and will remain closed on Thursday, May 3 and Friday May 4, 2018 due to preparations for the move.

Click here for a map of the new office location.

OETIO Receives $936,162 in Federal Funding

Federal Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Minister Patricia Hajdu has announced $936,162 in funding for the Operating Engineers Training Institute of Ontario (OETIO).

The funds will be used to purchase an all-terrain crane for the OETIO campus in Oakville and equip a number of dozers with Global Positioning Systems and laser technology at Morrisburg.

Hajdu made the announcement at an event attended by apprentices, Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher and president Joe Redshaw at the OETIO in Morrisburg on April 4.

In remarks at the event, Gallagher thanked the government for the funding and for being a trailblazer in recognizing the important role that unions play in training the workforce.

“The federal funding will greatly benefit our apprentices and members as well as people from Aboriginal and Inuit communities who are referred to the Operating Engineers Training Institute of Ontario for training by mining companies and communities in the far North.”

The money is part of $10.2 million being made available under the Union Training and Innovation Program to help unions purchase new and up-to-date training equipment and materials.

Gallagher said he’s pleased that Local 793 and the OETIO received nearly 10 per cent of the funds.

“One thing that’s challenging for Operating Engineers, as I’m sure you all realize, is that our tools are a little bit more expensive than most of the other trades, so that will help us.”

Under terms of the program, the federal government is providing 48 per cent of the cost of equipment purchases while Local 793 is providing 52 per cent.

Gallagher said the union will use part of the funds to buy a mobile all-terrain crane which should be on site in Oakville by October.

He said a request for proposals is going out April 6. Total cost of the crane will be $1,130,00. The union is contributing $587,438 and the government is contributing $542,562.

The funds will also be used to outfit six dozers at the OETIO campus in Morrisburg with GPS systems. The union will contribute $335,400 and the government will contribute $309,600.

Another six dozers at Morrisburg will also be outfitted with laser capabilities. The union will contribute $91,000 and the government will contribute $84,000.

All in, Gallagher said, with the government commitment of $936,162 and union contribution of $1,013,938, the purchase budget for the crane and dozer systems is $1.95 million.

“I’m very, very delighted,” he said in his remarks. “I can’t say any more about how well the money will be used to make sure we have the best Operating Engineers and tradesmen and tradeswomen in the province of Ontario and in the Territory of Nunavut.”

Hajdu said in her remarks that she was very excited to announce the funding for Local 793 and other unions because it will help them buy the equipment they need to train workers.

“I’ll be very excited to come back and see the crane when you receive it next October,” she said.

Hajdu, who has a son in the trades, praised unions and the work that they do, and encouraged apprentices at the event to continue with their training.

“The only reason we have a middle class in Canada is because of the efforts of organized labour,” she said. “It was labour movements across this country and across many other countries that led to things like decent work and safe working conditions.”

Hajdu said unions fought for decent working conditions and to get workers good pensions so they can retire comfortably after working 20 or 30 years in the field and that’s why the government is focused on ensuring they have the tools to keep growing.

She said there are 65,000 skilled trades positions vacant across Canada right now and the stigma associated with the trades is one of the reasons there aren’t enough applicants.

“We still have a narrative out there in this country that college and skilled trades training is okay, but university is better.”

She congratulated apprentices at the event for taking up training and changing the narrative.

“You have made absolutely the right choice for you and you need to be part of the generation that turns that story around and that teaches people that these trades are noble professions that require intelligence and precision and a degree of discipline.”

Hajdu said it’s exciting to see what the Operating Engineers and other trades are doing to get women and under-represented communities into the careers.

She noted there will be a lot of jobs in future in the resource-rich Ring of Fire area in Ontario and the government wants to ensure there are enough skilled people to fill those positions.

“That’s exactly what the Operating Engineers are doing right here today – making sure people have those skills so that when those opportunities come about they can take advantage of that.”

Hajdu said unions, government, industry and employers must work together to get more people into the trades.

“When we work together, everybody’s going to have an opportunity to thrive and choose a career for them that’s going to support themselves and also their families and I believe it is the unions that are going to continue that drive towards a healthy middle class.”

Hajdu said a job in the trades provides workers and families with a strong foundation for prosperity.

“I’m really excited about the work we’re going to do to make sure that Canada keeps on that track of a really inclusive, prosperous economy where everybody has the opportunity to thrive.”

Business manager Gallagher, meanwhile, said in his remarks to apprentices at the event that a career as an Operating Engineer is a good one.

“You’ve invested in a career that’s going to enable you to support you and your families and your communities for many, many years to come.

“On behalf of Local 793 and our 15,000 members, we really want to encourage you to stick to it and make a career as an Operating Engineer.”

Click here for Local 793 press release.

Click here for story in Daily Commercial News

Click here for Employment and Social Development Canada press release.

Click here for story in Cornwall Standard-Freeholder

Proposal Meetings for Mainline Pipeline Negotiations

Please be advised that proposals for upcoming Mainline Pipeline negotiations will be taken at all district monthly meetings in April.

Following is the schedule of the meetings in various districts:

TIMMINS 
April 4
54 Waterloo Road
Unit 2
Timmins
7:30 p.m.  

OSHAWA 
April 5
1255 Terwillegar Avenue
Unit 7
Oshawa
7 p.m.

THUNDER BAY
April 5
979 Alloy Drive
Suite 101
Thunder Bay
8 p.m.

ST. CATHARINES* 
April 10
188 Bunting Road
Unit 5
St. Catharines
7:30 p.m.

WINDSOR* 
April 10
3383 Walker Road
Windsor
7 p.m. 

SAULT STE. MARIE* 
April 11
432 Great Northern Road
Suite 203
Sault Ste. Marie 
7:30 p.m.

CAMBRIDGE* 
April 11
100 Sheldon Drive
Unit 10 
Cambridge
7:30 p.m.

SUDBURY*  
April 17
430 Westmount Avenue
Unit H 
Sudbury
8 p.m.

TORONTO* 
April 18
2245 Speers Road
Oakville
7:30 p.m.

BELLEVILLE* 
April 24
1 Millennium Parkway
Suite 102 
Belleville
7 p.m.

LONDON* 
April 24 
523 First Street
London
7 p.m.

HAMILTON* 
April 25
35 Goderich Road
Unit 5
Hamilton
7:30 p.m.

OTTAWA* 
April 25
Best Western Plus 
1274 Carling Avenue
7 p.m.

NORTH BAY 
April 25
Voyager Inn, Greenery Room, 
123 Delaware Avenue
North Bay
7:30 p.m.

BARRIE* 
April 26
240 Bayview Drive
Unit 12
Barrie
7:30 p.m.

SARNIA* 
April 26
1390A Lougar Avenue
Sarnia
7 p.m.

* District Hiring Hall Present

Business Manager says Union is on Upward Tragectory

Local 793 is flourishing on a number of fronts, business manager Mike Gallagher said at a general membership meeting of the union at head office in Oakville on March 25.

“We’re just going to continue on an upward trajectory,” he said in remarks to more than 150 members at the meeting.

Gallagher said the union is on the right track, as membership numbers continue to rise.

“There’s a lot of good news about the union,” he said, “and we’re now just shy of 15,000 members.”

He noted that members’ equity is at $104 million – 10.7 per cent higher than the previous year – and union assets are $111 million – 10 per cent higher than the previous year.

The out-of-work list for Toronto area was at 569 members at March 14, down from more than 800 a year earlier, he said

Meanwhile, the pension plan is now at $2.7 billion – up $200 million from a year earlier, he said, and the plan earned eight per cent in 2017.

The plan was 99.9 per cent funded on a going-concern basis as of the end of 2017, he said.

On the organizing front, Gallagher said more companies are being unionized, with 117 voluntary recognition agreements being signed in 2017 and up to March 14, 2018. In the same time period, the union received 18 certificates from the Labour Board.

Gallagher said the union is growing at a much more rapid rate through organizing than any other construction union.

“The numbers are growing at a faster rate than all our competitors,” he said. “I feel that we’re doing good.”

Gallagher noted the local is preparing to file a certification at the Labour Relations Board on Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. at the Mary River site on Baffin Island in Nunavut.

Organizers have spent more than a year organizing Baffinland and the company has more than 800 workers.

Gallagher said he met earlier with Baffinland’s vice president of human resources and presented the concept of voluntary recognition, but the union will be making an application.

He said workers at the company seem to support the union and feel it can help them improve camp conditions.

“Lets just keep our fingers crossed and hope it turns out,” Gallagher said.

While trying to organize the company, he noted that Inuit workers from Baffinland have been training at the OETIO in Morrisburg, which has brought revenue into the union.

He said the OETIO has already received $416,000 in tuition plus $146,348 in room and board and ancillary expenses as a result of the workers being trained at the OETIO.

Another 12 operators from the company are scheduled to be trained at the OETIO in June, so the total tuition as a result of training employees from Baffinland is expected to be $596,000 plus $210,078 in room and board and ancillary expenses, he said.

Gallagher noted he recently hired four new organizers, bringing the number to 11, and he encouraged members to work with the union’s organizers, as it’s not an easy job.

Gallagher told the meeting that Local 793 will soon be embarking on an expansion of the banquet hall at head office.

The union is working with Michael Spaziani Architect.

Gallagher said the present building will be doubled in size and is being expanded to the east, a hallway is being added to the north, and more office space will also be added.

“We will likely be finished by August of next year in time to do our dinner dance,” he said.

Gallagher said the union also plans to build a 40-to-60-room student residence on 6.25 acres of property at 2201 Speers Rd., adjacent to head office, that it bought in summer 2017.

The building, he said, will enable apprentices to be able to stay in a safe place while training at the OETIO.

Gallagher said the union is also moving to self-administer its pension and life and health benefits plans and staff will be housed in a building on the newly-purchased property.

Eventually, he said, a new building will be built on the property for staff and some of the space will be rented out, bringing revenue into the local.

Gallagher said when members come to the main hall to take care of union business they’ll be able to do everything in one location.

Meanwhile, he noted, the union is planning for the future.

A committee has been meeting for the past year, planning activities for the 100th anniversary of the local in 2019, he said, and picnics and events are planned for many districts.

The union will also be selling commemorative items on its website and plans to get permission to fly flags on tower cranes at worksites.

“It’s a privilege for us to be alive when this great local reaches 100 years,” he said.

Gallagher spoke on a number of other subjects.

He said it was brought to his attention that companies were bringing in cranes that had been de-rated to avoid hiring apprentices and grievances have been filed with contractors.

He said companies were bringing in 110-ton cranes as 90-ton cranes.

“We filed 14 grievances against all of the heavy hitters in the crane rental sectors and I feel very confident that we’re going to win them,” he said.

Since filing the grievances, Gallagher said a couple of contractors have reached out to Local 793 to settle the issue.

Gallagher also congratulated the 21 delegates who were elected to attend the IUOE general convention in Hollywood, Florida in May.

He said it is the largest number of delegates ever being sent to the convention by Local 793.

He thanked the election committee for running a successful election for the IUOE general convention. The members were Mike Chenier, Vince Prout and Dan Davey.

At the meeting, OETIO executive director Harold McBride provided a report on apprenticeship training, new training initiatives, short-course and e-learning training, simulation and the union’s Aboriginal engagement plan.

He noted the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) is providing the OETIO with $2.3 million for training of mobile and tower crane, concrete pump and heavy equipment operators in 2018.

This will enable the OETIO to train 104 mobile and tower crane and concrete pump apprentices and 126 heavy equipment apprentices in 2018, he said.

The MAESD also awarded the OETIO $457,336 in 2018 to train 36 pre-apprentices.

As part of its Aboriginal engagement plan, the OETIO plans to recruit 50 new Aboriginal apprentices in 2018.

McBride said an RFP is going out to purchase a 40-to-60-ton all-terrain crane for the Oakville campus and a second RFP is going out to purchase a 0-8-ton carry-deck crane for Morrisburg. A new 15-ton Elliott boom truck recently arrived at the Oakville campus.

McBride noted that an AZ/DZ driver-training program has been added at the OETIO. Trainees in the course take four weeks of training. So far, six courses have been completed.

A report presented by McBride showed that from the beginning of the year to March 25 1,387 short-courses have been completed by members at the OETIO.

Meanwhile, he noted, six new VxAdvantage simulators and two Vxtraining simulators are up and running at the OETIO and two existing VxMaster simulators have been retrofitted.