Passing of retired general secretary-treasurer Coutts

It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of former general secretary-treasurer, Norman “Budd” Coutts.

Well-loved and respected, brother Coutts was an integral part of our international union. He elevated the standing of operating engineers in Canada and his endless passion guided him through his leadership in the labour movement in Alberta, Canada, as well as in the United States.

Coutts initiated with IUOE Local 115 in British Columbia in 1957, working as an equipment operator before transferring into Local 955 in Edmonton four years later. He continued to operate equipment until he became a business agent and eventually business manager of Local 955 in 1971.

Under his leadership, he developed and implemented numerous programs including the local’s Training Fund in 1971 and its Pension Fund in 1972.

Coutts was elected international vice president in 1978, making him the youngest ever elected to the position, and later served as the union’s general secretary-treasurer, the second highest position at the international level.

He retired in November 2002.

Today, OE Local 955 extends a student scholarship award proudly bearing his name in honour of Coutts’ commitment to work, fellow operators and the union.

A friend to all of us, brother Coutts is irreplaceable and will not be forgotten by anyone whose lives he touched. May he rest in peace.