Category Archives: Union News

Building Trades Amends Constitution

As a result of efforts by Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher over the last four years, the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario (PBCTCO) voted unanimously at its 60th annual convention recently to amend its Constitution and Bylaws to promote mutual respect for the core jurisdiction of each other’s trade.

In light of the resolution, the executive board of Local 793 passed a motion on Oct. 16 in favour of Gallagher meeting with PBCTCO business manager and secretary-treasurer Pat Dillon to discuss the possibility of the union re-joining the organization.

Local 793 had left the PBCTCO in September 2013 because it was faced with 10 jurisdictional disputes (JDs) at various stages of the process with affiliates of the Building Trades regarding work done by Operating Engineers. In other words, many of the other trades weren’t respecting the core jurisdiction of Local 793 members.

The disputes were with the Carpenters, Pipefitters, Labourers, Ironworkers and Electrical Workers. All these disputes have now been settled.

Gallagher sent a letter to Dillon on Sept. 4, 2013 clearly explaining why Local 793 would not longer be attending building trades meetings.

In the letter, he stated that the unity required at the PBCTCO to face challenges is non-existent.

“We are currently faced with a large number of jurisdictional disputes regarding our work, with some of our affiliates to the building trades,” he stated. “We therefore feel that our time is best spent representing our members and protecting our jobs rather than listening to reports at the building trades meetings.”

In the letter, he said the decision was not made lightly but was the right decision at the time, as there did not seem to be any resolve to the matter.

Gallagher noted it is interesting that at a time when construction unions faced a number of challenges, such as CLAC and right-to-work challenges, some affiliates seemed more interested in doing work other than their own.

PBCTCO business manager Dillon responded with a letter on Sept. 9, 2013, stating that he agreed that JDs are completely counter-productive to the overall mission of the building trades.

He noted that the Operating Engineers were a key part of the establishment of the PBCTCO and fragmentation has the potential to negatively impact the lives of construction workers and their families in a number of ways.

Since leaving the PBCTCO, Gallagher has had informal discussions with Dillon about the issue and actions by the Building Trades on Local 793’s request. Throughout, he made it clear on a number of occasions Local 793 would not re-join the Building Trades until there was an amendment to the organization’s Constitution, requiring trades to have mutual respect for each other’s core jurisdiction.

Gallagher and Local 793 president Joe Redshaw were invited as guests to the PBCTCO annual convention in Niagara Falls on Oct. 12.

At the meeting, the executive board of the PBCTCO presented the resolution to amend the organization’s Constitution and Bylaws.

The purpose, as stated in the resolution, is to “promote industrial peace among building and construction trades through mutual respect of each other’s core jurisdiction.”

The resolution states that solidarity among the Building Trades is a core principle of organized labour in Ontario’s construction industry and that JDs between PBCTCO unions cost members millions of dollars per year in legal and other fees, in addition to incalculable reputational damage.

If those same resources were devoted to organizing and growing the number of represented workers in the construction industry, the resolution states, the collective voice of all construction workers would be much more formidable in the province’s political and economic life.

The resolution states that a working committee of Building Trades representatives from each affiliated union, engaging an industry-respected mediator/facilitator, will determine the precise language of respect for each other’s core jurisdiction.

In light of the resolution, Gallagher will now meet with Dillon to talk about how the union and PBCTCO might re-affiliate.

If the terms are acceptable, Gallagher will present a recommendation to Local 793’s executive board for approval.

While the precise language must still be determined, Gallagher said the resolution passed by the PBCTCO is a step in the right direction.

“This will mark the beginning of discussions, but the Building Trades appear to have stepped up and made good on their commitment to address our concerns.”

Gallagher said he looks forward to working with the PBCTCO working committee, and perhaps re-joining the organization, as a provincial election looms next year.

“We are obviously much stronger when the building trades are united,” he said. “There will be a provincial election next spring and it makes sense for us to come together as a cohesive group.”

IUOE Responds to Pipeline Cancellation

The following statement regarding the decision by TransCanada to shelve the Energy East Pipeline Project was released Oct. 5 by the Canadian office of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

“The Energy East Pipeline is a nation building project. Its cancellation is a huge loss of opportunity for Canada and our country’s highly skilled tradespeople who would have built this pipeline. A true opportunity squandered.”  – Lionel Railton, Canadian Director of the IUOE.

The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) expresses great disappointment with the announcement of the cancellation of the proposed Energy East Pipeline. Despite TransCanada’s significant investment in this project, the combination of changing market conditions and an uncertain National Energy Board (NEB) regulatory approval process have impacted the viability of the Energy East Pipeline Project. 

TransCanada’s Energy East Pipeline would have safely transported Canadian bitumen over 4,500 kilometres from Western Canada to refineries and port terminals in Quebec and New Brunswick. This project would have offered significant social and economic benefits to Canadians across all provinces and territories. As a nation building project, the Energy East Pipeline would provide energy independence for Canada and would not only have allowed Canada to get market access for its natural resources, but also curb the importation and use of foreign oil by Canadian customers.

Most importantly, the Energy East Pipeline would have created tens of thousands of good, high paying jobs for Canadians. Upwards of 14,000 full-time jobs would have been open to Canadian workers over the course of the project’s seven-year construction and development phase. For young people starting a career in the trades, this project would have represented a fantastic opportunity for developing their much needed skills. 

Local communities across Canada, including First Nations and Métis communities, would have seen significant new economic opportunities become available with the employment of local people from their communities. This would have had a huge positive impact on many areas of the country, particularly in Northern Ontario and New Brunswick, which have been severely hurt by years of economic decline and slow job growth.

Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between TransCanada and the Pipe Line Contractors Association of Canada, the IUOE would have participated in building the Energy East Pipeline. A project which would have been built to the highest safety and environmental standards. The signing of the MOU demonstrated TransCanada’s commitment to employing Canadian contractors, First Nations and the highly skilled men and women of the Building Trades. 

Our members have safely built nearly all NEB approved pipelines over the past 60 years. When we build and maintain pipelines, they are built right, built safe, and built to last. In keeping with our long and proud history of pipeline construction, our various Locals across Canada invested significantly to upgrade and enhance capacity in our training facilities to ensure the next generation of skilled tradespeople were available and ready to work on Energy East. We look forward to working with TransCanada and the federal government to find employment through Project Labour Agreements on other pipelines, specifically Keystone XL.

The Energy East Pipeline would have supported Canadian tradespeople and Canadian communities across the country. Highly trained and skilled men and women are committed to building these state-of-the-art pipelines. Energy East Pipeline Project cancellation is a huge setback for them, and for all Canadians, in particular to the province of New Brunswick who will be devastated by this announcement. This is a very sad day for Canada.

Pipeline Proposal Meetings Scheduled in October

Proposals for upcoming Pipeline Maintenance & Service Agreement for Canada negotiations will be taken at all district monthly meetings throughout the month of October 2017. Following are the dates for the October monthly meetings across the province.

TIMMINS
October 4
54 Waterloo Rd., Unit 2, Timmins,
7:30 p.m.

OSHAWA
October 5
1255 Terwillegar Ave., Unit 7,
Oshawa, 7 p.m.

THUNDER BAY*
October 5
979 Alloy Drive, Suite 101,
Thunder Bay, 8 p.m.

ST. CATHARINES*
October 10
188 Bunting Rd., Unit 5,
St. Catharines, 7:30 p.m.

WINDSOR*
October 10
3383 Walker Rd., Windsor
7 p.m.

SAULT STE. MARIE*
October 11
432 Great Northern Rd.,
Suite 203, Sault Ste. Marie,
7:30 p.m.

CAMBRIDGE*
October 11
100 Sheldon Dr., Unit 10,
Cambridge, 7:30 p.m.

SUDBURY*
October 17
430 Westmount Ave., Unit H,
Sudbury, 8 p.m.

TORONTO*
October 18
2245 Speers Rd., Oakville,
7:30 p.m.

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

LONDON*
October 24
523 First St., London, 7 p.m.

HAMILTON*
October 25
35 Goderich Rd., Unit 5,
Hamilton, 7:30 p.m.

OTTAWA*
October 25
Best Western Plus,
1274 Carling Ave., 7 p.m.

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

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

SARNIA*
October 26
1390A Lougar Ave., Sarnia, 7 p.m.

* District hiring hall present

 

Gallagher says Health of Union is Excellent

The union is doing well financially and the pension and benefit plans are on solid footing, business manager Mike Gallagher told a general membership meeting Sept. 24 at head office in Oakville.

“The health of the union is excellent,” he said in his remarks, noting that the number of active and retired members has surpassed the 14,500 mark, up from 8,500 11 years ago.

“That growth opens up opportunities for us to do other things because it brings more revenue into the local so we can expand. It won’t be long before we surpass 15,000.”

Gallagher said the union’s consolidated assets were $103 million, and members’ equity was $96.7 million as of June 30, up 10.2 per cent from the prior year.

Members are working on a number of large projects in the province, he said, one being the $5.3-billion Eglinton Crosstown in Toronto.

He said work is also under way on the $1.2-billion Highway 407 East extension project and a $12.8-billion refurbishment project at Darlington, work is expected to start on the Gordie Howe International Bridge project in 2018 and on a $13-billion refurbishment at Bruce Power in 2020, and a road into the Ring of Fire has been approved.

Gallagher said the pension plan, meanwhile, has surpassed the $2.5-billion mark and is on stable footing.

“Our pension plan is very solid and as strong as any of the government plans that are out there.”

While it took several years for the plan to fully recover from the recession in 2008, the plan is now doing well and on track to have another positive year, he said.

In 2016, the plan earned 10.7 per cent, up from 5.8 per cent in 2015.

Gallagher said trustees, acting on information from the actuary that advised the plan is in good shape, have made unreduced early retirement at age 60 a permanent feature. This means members can retire between age 60 and 65 with an unreduced pension.

The change has been approved by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario.

“It does not need trustee consent and isn’t based on whether we have a good or bad year,” said Gallagher.

The benefits plan, meanwhile, he said, collected $64 million in contributions and investment income in 2016 and paid out $62 million, while costs of the plan increased by 5.6 per cent in 2016 over 2015.

Gallagher said prescription drugs account for 30.9 per cent and dental procedures account for 24.8 per cent of claims and the top prescribed drugs are Humira and Remicade for arthritis.

Gallagher said the executive board recently approved the purchase of 6.14 acres of property next to head office from Procor Ltd. and eventually will tear down an existing building on the site.

For the time being, he said, Procor has leased half of the space back until December and another company is also renting space for two years.

Gallagher said construction will start in the spring on expansion of the banquet hall next to head office and, when completed, the facility will be 70 per cent larger with capacity for 750 people.

On the training front, he said the OETIO has erected a Liebherr 85 EC-B5 tower crane at the Oakville campus, which will enable students to be trained in top- and bottom-climbing procedures.

“There’s no other training institute in the world that offers this training,” he noted.

The OETIO, he said, has also completed a simulation lab at the campus in Morrisburg and has added to its fleet of simulators with various training scenarios.

Gallagher said the OETIO has purchased a 50-ton Liebherr duty-cyle crane that is scheduled to be delivered to Oakville by the end of October.

On the organizing front, he said the union is attempting to organize Baffinland, a large mining company in the Territory of Nunavut.

He said the union charter was expanded to include the Nunavut and it is incumbent on Local 793 to represent workers in the area.

He said staff and organizers have been at trade shows and are getting to know the people and lay of the land in Nunavut.

“It’s not one of those things that’s going to happen overnight,” he said. “But we’re determined.”

Gallagher said the union has been training Inuit on a fee-payer basis for more than 10 years and found they are very hard-working people and excellent operators.

“I’m hopeful that it will all come together at one point. This is going to be an ongoing thing.”

As for the future, Gallagher said a provincial election is on the horizon for next spring and, although some members might be frustrated at Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, PC leader Patrick Brown and the Conservatives are very dangerous.

“A lot of them seem to be the same as the extreme Republicans in the U.S.”

Gallagher said Ontario needs a government that does the right things, not a government based on an ideology.

“We want people that are rational in government.”

Gallagher advised members to vote for a Liberal or NDP candidate who is friendly to the Operating Engineers in the upcoming election.

Union Heading in Right Direction: Gallagher

Local 793 continues to head in the right direction, business manager Mike Gallagher said at a special e-board meeting Sept. 23 in Oakville.

“You’re starting to get used to me always getting up here and giving good news,” he said in remarks to more than 100 area supervisors, business reps, staff and delegates at head office. “But the truth is that the local continues to be on an upward trajectory.”

Gallagher noted that Local 793 has invested heavily in advanced equipment at the two OETIO training centres.

A new 85 EC-B5 tower crane erected recently in Oakville is a “jewel,” he said, and training staff should be congratulated, as a bottom climb of the crane has now been completed.

“Now we can get busy and provide the latest training to the industry.”

The crane will enable students to be trained in top- and bottom-climbing procedures. A six-storey steel structure has been erected around the base of the crane so it can be raised and lowered.

Gallagher noted that the OETIO will also be purchasing a 50-ton Liebherr duty cycle crane to augment its mobile-crane-training program.

“When you’re on top you got to stay on top,” he said.

Gallagher said training has advanced a lot in the last few years.

“Just take a look at the residence we built at the OETIO in Morrisburg,” he said, referring to the 70-room dorm that was part of extensive renovations to the building there.

“It’s a real class facility and we pulled that off without borrowing any money.”

Gallagher said the union purchased 6.14 acres of property next to head office in Oakville from Procor Ltd. and plans to build a residence on the land so students can stay on-site rather than at area hotels.

The property was purchased in June without a hitch, he said, and Procor is leasing part of a building on the property back from the union until the end of the year while another tenant will be leasing additional space for another two years.

“The property we bought has already been put to use bringing in revenue for the local.”

Gallagher said the value of the property has also increased, partly because of its proximity to a nearby Go Station so it’s already paying off.

“It’s been a great purchase and we’re lucky to have been able to buy it.”

Gallagher told the meeting that organizers are in the process of trying to organize Baffinland, a large mining company in Nunavut.

The union’s charter was expanded a while ago to include the Territory of Nunavut because it made sense for one local to be doing organizing there, he noted, and organizers are attempting to make inroads.

“We have taken that seriously and have been going to trade shows,” he said. “It’s not one of these things that you can snap your fingers and it’s going to happen. They don’t have a lot of experience with unions.”

He noted that manager of organizing Kyle Schutte was in Nunavut and met with the president of Baffinland.

Gallagher said he was also pleased that the provincial government intends to go ahead with a road to the Ring of Fire area and the union hopes to work with Indigenous communities and unionized contractors like Aecon when the bidding opens.

He pointed out that the union has already been training members of Indigenous communities in the area.

“My hope is that when the $1-billion-plus road goes to tender it’s our contractors and our Aboriginal members that they bring on board.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rightly spoke about Canada’s sad history with Indigenous peoples at the United Nations, Gallagher said, but Local 793 has already been working over the years to bring Indigenous people into the Operating Engineer trades.

Over the centuries, Indigenous people had promises to them broken all the time, and the best way to avoid that is to have a collective agreement in place to ensure contractors keep their promises, he said.

“We are match made in heaven when it comes to working with native communities.”

Gallagher said the union signed a Statement of Partnership with the Chiefs of Ontario last year in an effort to get more Indigenous people into the trades.

In his remarks, Gallagher said the union recently received good news from the province that Durham College will not be getting training delivery agent status for training tower crane operators.

The College had applied for status about 18 months ago and the matter was resolved by the Ministry of Training, but the school went back to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) with more information and applied again.

Gallagher said he and OETIO executive director Harold McBride reached out to people in different ministries and he recently received notice that the College will not be approved.

“We got what we wanted which is very good for our local.”

On the green energy front, Gallagher said a coalition that he brought together, called the Renewable Energy Alliance of Ontario (REAO), has made inroads into ensuring renewable energy projects remain part of the government’s Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP).

The REAO was formed when the province announced it was cutting some projects.

“Instead of just sitting back and letting things happen, we got out and made things happen,” he said. “We’re going to keep after that.”

“We’re trying to keep the government on point and investing in an important sector, and I think we’re being successful.”

Gallagher said he is hopeful the government’s LTEP will include some of the REAO’s recommendations.

Renewable energy projects, he said, provide good jobs for members and the jurisdiction of Local 793 looks good in those sectors, as Operating Engineers are running forklifts and doing rigging on the projects.

On staffing, Gallagher said the local has 147 staff members across the province and 19.7 per cent have been hired in the last two years.

As a result, he said, the local will continue to train staff and develop internal policies so knowledge is passed to newer recruits as older members retire.

One duty of the business manager, he said, is to ensure new staff is being hired and knowledge is being transferred.

“We’ve worked way to darn hard over the 20 years I have been here to lose one iota of momentum. We’re not forgetting that we have to take care of business in-house as we look to retirements of senior people.”

Also at the meeting:

  • Gallagher said the local had 22 jurisdictional disputes (JDs) when it left the Provincial Building Trades organization a few years ago and now has only one. The rest were settled in favour of Local 793. He noted the local also signed a Mutual Co-operation Agreement with LIUNA Local 183 and reports suggest it is working.
  • The insurance committee voted to add retiree Brian Madigan to the list of honorary lifetime members. Brian was area supervisor for Northwestern Ontario, a trustee and executive board member, and pension and training trustee.

Local 793 Participates in Terry Fox Run

Local 793 is supporting the 2017 Terry Fox Run in Oakville on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.

Business manager Mike Gallagher is encouraging all union members and staff to participate in, or donate, to the cause.

The event is being held at Coronation Park, 1426 Lakeshore Road West, near Third Line, in Oakville. Registration is at 9 a.m. with runs starting at 10 a.m. Local 793 participants will gather by the main stage (left side). There is no parking on site.

Participants can run, walk, bicycle, rollerblade, do the route in a wheelchair or pushing a stroller or walking the dog.

Route distances are two, five and 10 kilometres.

Fruit will be provided and there will be activities for children.

Please click here to register and donate. Under the ‘Run Team Search’ tab look for IUOE, Local 793. Then click on the link and register or login.

Click here for the park location.

Click here for more information about the Terry Fox Foundation.

Appointment Made to Union Board

Please be advised that Andre Chenier tendered his resignation as a Local 793 Trustee on Aug. 18, 2017.

In accordance with Article XXIV, Subdivision 1, Section (f) of the IUOE Constitution, and as a result of an Officer’s Meeting held Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, business rep Jeff Hewitt has been appointed as a Local 793 Trustee to fill the unexpired term.

Deadline Approaching for Student Award Program

Applications for the Pipe Line Contractors Association of Canada student award program were available online as of Sept. 1, 2017.

Deadline for applications is Oct. 13, 2017.

To qualify, an applicant must be a son, daughter or ward of a person whose principal income is derived from the pipeline construction industry. The parent or guardian of the applicant must be employed or have a history of employment with a company that is a member or partner of the Pipe Line Contractors Association of Canada.

Click here for an online application form. For more information, contact the Pipe Line Contractors Association of Canada at 905-847-9383 or email plcac@pipeline.ca.

Local 793 Members Invited to Labour Day Parades

Local 793 members and their families are being encouraged to march in a number of Labour Day parades and attend events being held across the province on Monday, Sept. 4, 2017. Union shirts and hats will be supplied. Following are details about the parades and events in various districts:

Toronto

Please assemble by 8 a.m. on the east side of University Avenue north from Queen Street West to Armoury Street. The parade starts at 9:30 a.m. Union apparel will be supplied upon identification of being a Local 793 member. At the end of the parade, members will be admitted free to the CNE grounds.

Hamilton

Members, please note that there is a change to the assembly location and the parade route this year. Please assemble by 10 a.m. on Stuart Street at Caroline Street North. The parade starts at 10:30 a.m. and heads south on Bay Street, east on Main Street to James Street, north on James Street to Strachan Street, west on Strachan to Harbour Front Drive and into Bay Front Park. A barbecue and picnic will be held following the parade at Bay Front Park

Ottawa

Please assemble by noon at Ottawa City Hall at Elgin and Lisgar streets. The parade will end at McNabb Park at Gladstone and Bronson avenues. There will be a picnic at the park from 1 to 4 p.m. with pony rides, games, clowns, face painting, live music and food.

Belleville

Local 793 members and their families can march in the Kingston parade sponsored by the Kingston and District Labour Council. Please assemble by 10 a.m. at McBurney (Skeleton) Park. The parade starts at 10:30 a.m. and ends at city hall. There will be a picnic, live music and a free barbecue in the park after the parade.

London

Local 793 is sponsoring a picnic for members and their families at East Park, 1275 Hamilton Rd., in London. The picnic runs from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Hats, t-shirts and jackets will be provided.

Windsor

Please assemble by 9 a.m. at the corner of Seneca Street and Turner Road. The parade will start at 10 a.m. from the Unifor Local 200/444 Union Hall. The parade route is along Walker Road to North Service Road and on to the Fogolar Fulan Club. The parade is sponsored by the Windsor District Labour Council. There will be free hot dogs, pop and water while supplies last.

Sarnia

Please assemble at 8:30 a.m. behind the Sarnia Public Library on Julia Street. The parade will start at 9:30 a.m. Food and refreshments will be offered following the parade at the union hall at 1390A Lougar Ave.

Sault Ste. Marie

Members can meet at the Sault Ste. Marie office at 432 Great Northern Rd. at 10:15 a.m. and from there they can proceed down to the Roberta Bondar Tent Pavilion to assemble for the parade which starts at 11:15 a.m.

Sudbury

Members are invited to a Labour Day picnic at the Sudbury office at 430 Westmount Ave., Unit H. The picnic runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Timmins

Members can gather at Local 793’s hall at 54 Waterloo Rd between 10 and 11 a.m. A Labour Day Walk will begin at 11 a.m. and go around Gillies Lake. A barbecue and family activities will be held at Gillies Lake beginning at noon.

Thunder Bay

Members can attend a Labour Day picnic at the Current River Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is organized by the Thunder Bay District Labour Council. If it’s raining, the picnic will be held on Sept. 5.