Category Archives: Union News

Local 793 Staff Raise Funds for Prostate Cancer Research

Local 793 and OETIO staff across the province participated in the national ‘Plaid for Dad’ campaign June 16.

Staff wore customized t-shirts that said, ‘Mad for Plaid’ in support of the campaign, which is held annually to raise awareness and vital research funds for research into prostate cancer.

There were 146 t-shirts ordered by staff and $2,382 was raised.

‘Plaid for Dad’ was launched in 2015. It has quickly become a fun and easy way for Canadians to celebrate dad and help the one in eight men who will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.

This year, more than 1,000 workplaces and thousands of individuals from across Canada participated in the campaign through donations, fundraising and events.

The Friday before Father’s Day is officially designated as the day of the campaign.

 

100th Anniversary Photo Contest Announced

Local 793 is sponsoring a photo contest as part of the lead-up to the union’s 100th anniversary in 2019.

Prizes will be awarded for best photos in several categories:

  • 1919 – 1920
  • 1921 – 1929
  • 1930 – 1939
  • 1940 – 1949
  • 1950 – 1959
  • 1960 – 1969
  • 1970 – 1979
  • 1980 – 1989
  • 1990 – 1999
  • 2000 – 2009
  • 2010 – Present

Deadline for submissions is Friday, June 29, 2018. A winner will be announced at the general membership meeting on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018.

Some of the photos may be used in a special commemorative book being published to coincide with the 100th anniversary year.

The photos will be judged by a three-member committee.

Here are the rules:

  • All photos must be high resolution, at least 5×7 inches at 300 dots per inch (DPI).
  • Photos must be accompanied by a caption with information on the year the photo was taken, who or what is in the photo, where the photo was taken, and what’s happening in the photo.
  • Only submissions with the required information will be considered.
  • Please also include your union registration number when submitting the photo(s), so we can verify you are a member in good standing.
  • Union members can submit more than one photo. In fact, multiple entries are encouraged.

Photo(s) can be sent via email to gcameron@iuoelocal793.org or mailed to Grant Cameron, director of communications, IUOE Local 793, 2245 Speers Road, Oakville, Ontario, L6L 6X8.

If you have any questions, please call Grant directly at 905-469-9299, ext. 2276.

Information Sought on Founding Fathers of Union

Local 793 will be producing a video and special commemorative book to mark the 100th anniversary of the union in 2019.

We’re trying to find out more about the 11 original founders of the union.

The 11 members met at the Elliott House hotel at Church and Shuter streets in Toronto on Dec. 11, 1919 and signed a letter, requesting a charter for the local.

If you have any information about the founders, or any of their existing family members, we’d like to hear from you.

We’d also like to hear from any members who may have a steam ticket, or whose relatives may have had a steam ticket, and may be able to provide information on the original founding members.

Following are the names of those 11 founders:

Frank Dennis
Joseph Valin
James Hawkins
William Wells
J.S. Miller
Thomas Lahey
Dave McBlaine
Mat Clark
A. Richardson
J. Wright
R.J. Elliott

Any member with information about the founders is encouraged to get in touch with Local 793 director of communications Grant Cameron at 905-469-9299, ext. 2276, or via email at gcameron@iuoelocal793.org.

Suggestions Welcome for 100th Anniversary Year

Local 793 will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019 and we’re asking members for suggestions on how to mark the special occasion.

A committee has been formed to co-ordinate activities during the commemorative year.

The committee consists of:

  • Business Manager Mike Gallagher (chair)
  • President Joe Redshaw
  • Assistant Director of Toronto Area Mike Scott
  • Assistant Labour Relations Manager Dave Turple
  • Financial Controller Lloyd Nakaza
  • Director of Communications Grant Cameron
  • IT Manager Armand Dowdall
  • Junior Executive Assistant Heather Hamer

If you have any ideas for events, activities, contests or promotions that you would like to see during the centennial year, please send your suggestion via email to 100th@iuoelocal793.org.

Medals Presented to Local 793 Crane Apprentices

Three Local 793 mobile crane apprentices were presented with medals for receiving top marks at the 2017 Skills Ontario Competition, a three-day event held May 1 to 3 at the Toronto Congress Centre.

In the competition, mobile crane apprentices were put through a series of practical exercises and had to complete a written test.

From left to right in the photo are: assistant director of training and apprenticeship Brian Alexander, OETIO lead instructor Craig Giles, Skills Ontario competitions assistant Solange Saraiva, gold medal winner Patrick Perreault, silver medal winner Dalton Koks, and bronze medal winner Nick Sentance.

Local 793 Buys Property Next to Oakville Head Office

The executive board of Local 793 has approved the purchase of a 6.14-acre parcel of property next to the union’s head office in Oakville.

The board voted unanimously to approve the purchase for $7.1 million at a meeting May 5.

The deal officially closes June 15.

The property is at 2201 Speers Rd and is adjacent to the east border of the union’s current property at 2245 Speers Rd.

There is a single-storey, 27,000-square foot building on the property.

“The purchase of this property is an investment in the future of our union,” said Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher. “The property came up for sale and it made sense for us to purchase it because Local 793 is growing and in need of more space.”

Gallagher said the union will now be able to build a new residence on the property for students training at the Operating Engineers Training Institute of Ontario (OETIO) at head office.

In the future, he said, the union might also consider adding additional office space on the property.

Gallagher said the property came up for sale in March and he raised the idea of purchasing it with the executive board.

“With the growth of our union, I felt it was the right move to make,” said Gallagher. “
“The officers and I intend to keep growing this union and we have taken another step in the right direction by purchasing the property.”

The property was purchased from Procor Ltd., a company that manages conventional and special purpose rail tank and freight cars.

There were two other purchase offers on the table and the offer from Local 793 was selected.

Local 793 president Joe Redshaw said the local had to make a serious offer or risk losing the land. The local had CBRE Ltd., a real estate brokerage and transaction advisory firm, determine if the asking price for the property was within reason.

“If we didn’t purchase this property, we’d be locked into the approximately 13 acres that we presently own,” said Redshaw. “This purchase will allow us to grow our union.”

Redshaw said the new residence planned for the property will enable students at the OETIO to reside at one location and not have to seek accommodation in hotels around the area.

“It certainly will be good for students to be housed in one location in one residence,” he said. “Apprentices won’t be required to commute back and forth to their training.”

Procor will continue to lease half the building on the property until December.

The purchase of the building will be internally financed and the union will not have to borrow any money.

With the new property, the union will own close to 20 acres at the site in Oakville.

EI Hiring Hall Rules When Conducting an Active Job Search

Here’s what Local 793 members need to know about EI hiring hall rules when conducting an active job search. According to section 10.6.4 of the Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles  Chapter 10 – Section 6 from Employment and Social Development Canada:

Pursuing employment through a union hiring hall may be evidence that a claimant is available for work. Work through the claimant’s union hiring hall can equate to employment in the claimant’s same occupation.

However like all other claimants, union hiring hall members must expand their willingness to seek and accept less favourable types of employment after a certain number of weeks on claim.

Union hiring hall exemptions are calculated as follows: a claimant in good standing with their hiring hall may restrict their job search to their union hiring hall for three weeks from the start of their claim, plus one week of exemption for each year of experience in the occupation with their union, to a maximum exemption of 16 weeks. After the exemption period, the worker is expected to expand the type of employment they are seeking and to conduct an active job search outside their Union Hiring Hall and their normal industry.

Once these claimants are expected to seek and accept work outside their union hiring hall, on-going registration with their union hiring hall can be considered as one activity, for the purpose of proving that reasonable and customary efforts are being made to obtain suitable employment. The onus is on the claimant to personally seek jobs outside their union hiring hall, even if they continue to be a member of that hiring hall.

If a claimant is restricting their availability for work to only certain types of work, they may be disentitled from regular benefits until they expand the types of work they are willing to seek and accept, if this is a restriction and not just a preference. A claimant will not be disentitled from benefits as soon as they impose restrictions on their availability for work, if they have not previously been warned that such a restriction is not permitted. They will be given a short period of time to adjust their job search before a disentitlement is imposed. Each claim will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

 

Day of Mourning Ceremony at Head Office

Labour unions, employers and various levels of government must work harder to make sure that safety is the top priority on construction sites and in workplaces across Ontario.

That was one of the messages conveyed by Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher at a ceremony at the union’s head office April 28 to mark Canada’s National Day of Mourning.

“We all have to redouble our efforts and make sure that we don’t have to add any more names to the monument behind us,” he said referring to the structure erected at head office with names of members who’ve died in jobsite accidents or due to occupational illness.

“There is no shortcut that should ever be taken that puts at risk a single worker. We don’t want to add any more names here or to any of the rolls in the province of Ontario.”

About 80 people attended the morning, hour-long ceremony, including some family members of Local 793 operators whose names are etched on the monument. During the event, the names of operators on the monument were read out, followed by a minute’s silence.

One new name was engraved on the monument this year – that of Claude Joly, a crane operator and 45-year member who died from mesothelioma on Dec. 15, 2016 at the age of 85. There are now 40 names engraved on the monument.

Gallagher said safety is a priority for the union and Local 793 is prepared to spend as much as it takes to ensure its new recruits are properly trained and receive appropriate heath and safety instruction because a traumatic injury can take a terrible toll on a worker’s family.

“Us as heavy equipment operators know how important training is,” he said. “We invest a lot of our local members’ money into the most advanced training that’s available and we know that prevention is so important.

“If we can eliminate operator error that eliminates the vast majority of accidents out in the field.”

Gallagher noted that when training apprentices, the union advises them to always put safety first.

We want them to bring professionalism to everything that they do, and to do it with an eye to safety and doing it the very best possible way they can because the responsibility is not just to themselves and their own family, but also to the workers that they work with and the general public.”

Gallagher said it’s disconcerting that a national survey showed more than 40 per cent of employers do not share their workplace health and safety policies with new workers when they start on a job. The survey was conducted for Toronto law firm Fasken Martineau.

The statistics, he said, shows there’s more to be done on the employer’s side.

“We have to put into practice what is in our policies,” he said, “and we have to make sure of that, especially with young people.”

Gallagher told the ceremony that it’s also vital that more of the Operating Engineer trades become compulsory, rather than voluntary.

“We need more of the work out there that is dangerous to the public, and dangerous to the workers on the jobsites, to become what we call restricted trades.”

He said Local 793 is seeking compulsory status for concrete pump operators but other heavy equipment trades should also become restricted trades.

“Somebody working on an excavator, for example, and working on a jobsite should be well-trained and know what they’re doing.”

Local 793 president Joe Redshaw emceed the ceremony and told those attending that a survey done for the Ontario Construction Secretariat showed that the unionized construction industry is 23 per cent safer than the non-union sector.

The study examined worker compensation data from the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board for close to 45,000 construction firms and 1.5 million construction workers, reporting for the period from 2006 to 2012.

“So what we’ve been preaching for years is true,” said Redshaw.

Researchers, he said, are now digging deeper to find out why the unionized sector is safer.

“We on the inside have our own opinion,” Redshaw said. “It’s our commitment to training, the health and safety atmosphere in the unionized sector, and the apprenticeship programs that we all invest heavily into to train our members on how to operate the equipment.

“The secondary factor is that workers know they have the right to refuse to work under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. In the non-union sector they are a little bit afraid to go out for fear of their jobs, whereas a union worker knows if he goes out and complains about issues on the project he has the backing of his union.”

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton and Oakville North-Burlington MP Pam Damoff also spoke at the ceremony.

Burton said he and leaders of surrounding communities have made safety a high priority and he is proud that millions of hours have been worked at Oakville Hydro without serious incident.

Damoff, meanwhile, said it’s important for workers to be able to go to work and return home safely to their families.

“Let’s not just today, but every day, make a commitment to having a safe workplace and ensuring everyone is educated on their rights and responsibilities.”

 

View on the Provincial Budget

The provincial budget tabled April 27 by Finance Minister Charles Sousa promises to balance the books while keeping tax rates for individual and corporations unchanged.

It is the first balanced budget in the decade since the global recession of 2008.

Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher says he’s pleased with some items in the budget but is disappointed with others.

He likes the fact it is a balanced budget, and that the Kathleen Wynne government has delivered on a commitment originally set by her predecessor.

The governing Liberals have fulfilled their pledge to return to black ink by 2017-18. The budget forecasts a deficit of $1.5 billion for 2016-17 before forecasting three straight years of balanced books beginning in 2017-18, all due to a booming economy that’s bringing higher than expected revenue into government coffers.

Gallagher also likes some of the measures, such as the launch of the new OHIP Children and Youth Pharmacare drug coverage proposal, and more money for hospitals and social housing.

The OHIP Children and Youth Pharmacare plan would provide universal drug coverage for all children and youth aged 24 and under, effective Jan. 1, 2018. It will cover the cost of all medicines covered by the Ontario Drug Benefit Program with no deductible or co-payment. Four million children up to age 24 will be covered for prescription drugs.

The government also announced it would be increasing operating funding for all Ontario public hospitals with an additional $518 million or three-per-cent increase in the sector.

Five major hospital projects have also been approved:

  • A redevelopment project will take place at Hamilton Health Sciences that will see aging infrastructure updated to meet current hospital standards.
  • A new hospital is to be built in support of service transformation in the Niagara Region.
  • A new hospital is to be built in support of service transformation in the Windsor region.
  • Investments will also be made in the Mississauga Hospital and Queensway Health Centre to add spaces and renovate existing space.
  • Ontario has committed to the provincial share of project costs for a new hospital to serve the population along the James Bay coast.

Meanwhile, the 2017 budget committed an additional $30 billion in infrastructure investment over the next 11 years. This brings the government’s total infrastructure investment between 2014-15 to 2026-27 to $190 billion, up from $160 billion.

On the social housing front, the province will allocate some of its unused lands, worth between $75 and $100 million, for the development of 2,000 new housing units in Toronto.

However, Gallagher is disappointed there was no money for the Ring of Fire or announcements about funding for more renewable energy projects.

He says he would like to see the province commit to funding for infrastructure to support developments in the Ring of Fire area, but there has been no follow-through on that.

He’s also disappointed the government did not commit to any funding on the energy file.

However, he noted he is awaiting release of the province’s Long Term Energy Plan and hopes the government can be convinced to go to 50 per cent generation of electricity by renewables.

On the economic front, the government forecasts that growth will slow over the next few years, but non-residential construction will increase.

Ontario’s gross domestic product is expected to decrease to 1.7 per cent in 2020 from 2.7 per cent in 2016.

However, non-residential construction is expected to increase by 3.5 per cent in 2018, followed by an even greater increase of 5.3 per cent in 2019.

Campaign Launched by Unions Over BC Pipeline

A coalition has been formed and an online campaign has been launched to tell Kinder Morgan to keep its promise to British Columbians and build the Trans Mountain Expansion Pipeline with unionized labour.

Business manager Mike Gallagher is encouraging Local 793 members to visit the web page set up by the B.C. Coalition for Safety Before Profits at www.safetybeforeprofits.ca and sign up to receive information on the issue.

“This is a very important issue for our Brother and Sisters in British Columbia, and those who work in the pipeline industry,” said Gallagher. “Pipelines built by experienced Canadian union workers will be safer than those built using unqualified or temporary foreign labour.”

At the website, you will find a link to a Facebook site, where stories will be showcased, and where you can like and share with friends, relatives and neighbours. The Coalition plans to add new stories as the campaign unfolds over time to build momentum. The Facebook site is at https://www.facebook.com/SafetyBeforeProfits/.

The Coalition was formed in response to a growing community of British Columbians who are concerned about Kinder Morgan’s level of commitment to safety.

Founding coalition members include the International Union of Operating Engineers, the Labourer’s International Union of North America, United Association Canada (Canadian Piping Trades), and Teamsters Canada.

Collectively, members of these unions have safely built the majority of pipelines in Canada.

However, in spite of efforts by the trades over many months to meet with Kinder Morgan, they have still not secured a commitment from the company to hire union trades for the pipeline. The trades are seeking a Project Labour Agreement for the pipeline project.

The question then is: Why would Kinder Morgan rely on anyone other than the most experienced workers to build its Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline?

The Coalition wants Kinder Morgan to hire the same union workers that built the original pipeline without incident.

It also wants people to join B.C.’s skilled, unionized workers in telling Kinder Morgan to keep its promise to B.C. and put safety before profits.

The campaign is built around the following key positions:

  • Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion project is a significant opportunity for British Columbians.
  • For B.C., that means ensuring all of the government’s five conditions are met and that B.C. gets a fair share of the economic benefits of the project.
  • For B.C.’s skilled trades workers and workforce of the future, that means not getting undercut by temporary foreign workers so Kinder Morgan can cut costs.
  • For Kinder Morgan, that means meeting B.C.’s five conditions and keeping its promise to put safety before profits.
  • If Kinder Morgan is willing to cut costs with unqualified cheap labour, then it is definitely putting profits before safety.

The Coalition notes that to grow and support the workforce of tomorrow, pipeline unions have invested $85 million in rigorous training to ensure well-paying middle class jobs for B.C. and for Canada.