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Northern Gateway will create 3,000 jobs during construction and 560 long term jobs in B.C.

June 18, 2014

Three of British Columbia's leading building trades unions – the Labourers' International Union of North America, Local 1611; The International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 115; and the Teamsters Local Union 213 welcomed the federal governments decision to approve the Northern Gateway Pipeline. 

Read more here.

Trade Unions and Northern Gateway Announce MOU  

April 15, 2014

"As proud trade union members representing tens of thousands of hard-working Canadians, we believe that Northern Gateway will benefit working families. It will create thousands of well-paying jobs and training opportunities we need to build strong communities," said Lionel Railton, Acting Canadian Regional Director, International Union of Operating Engineers. 

Read the full article here.

NDP’s Keystone XL Opposition Fails Canadian Construction Workers

November 7, 2013

The following statements were issued today by the International Union of Operating Engineers objecting to the New Democrat Party’s Opposition Day motion on the Keystone XL.

IUOE Press Release

IUOE Canadian Regional Director James Murphy's Letter

Province legislates binding arbitration for paramedics/EMC

July 10, 2013

The act will send a dispute between Emergency Medical Care Inc. and Nova Scotia paramedics (International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 727) to binding arbitration, final offer selection, to ensure a fair solution for all parties.

Read more here.


Federal Conservatives poised for major convention debate on union rights

June 4, 2013

Canada’s union movement will find itself in the crosshairs of the federal Conservative party as thousands of delegates gather in Calgary later this month for their biennial convention.  The Conservatives will be discussing multiple resolutions that could clip the wings of unions and limit their involvement in political activity.

Read more here.

Local 793 Reaching out to First Nations Communities

April 19, 2013

IUOE Local 793 has embarked on an aggressive campaign to recruit and train more First Nations peoples for careers as Operating Engineers.

The union and its training arm – the Operating Engineers Training Institute of Ontario (OETIO) – are reaching out to First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples to fill the skills gap.

The goal is to get First Nations peoples into apprenticeship programs, train them, and then match them with contractors across Ontario.

About $3.7-billion in work is expected to come on stream in northwestern Ontario in future years – mainly roads and infrastructure to support growth of the mining industry. Much of that work is expected to be near First Nations communities.

Local 793 wants to ensure that young people from First Nations communities are properly trained and ready for the jobs.

Mike Gallagher, business manager of Local 793, has spoken repeatedly about the importance of getting Aboriginals into training.

He firmly believes that First Nations peoples should be trained for jobs in the construction industry instead of bringing in temporary foreign workers from abroad.

“We need to reach out to them,” he told a general membership meeting of Local 793 on March 24 in Oakville.

Gallagher also spoke about the issue at a conference of Aboriginal leaders and training officials in Thunder Bay on March 26.

The conference brought together First Nations skills and employment training agencies to discuss a solution to bridging the skills gap in Canada.

“One of the best things we can do for our children is give them a career, give them a skill, and an apprenticeship offers them that,” Gallagher told delegates at the conference.

He said unions like Local 793 will bargain collective agreements that protect workers and ensure First Nations communities benefit from developments that take place on their lands.

“I want to encourage the elders and the chiefs of the First Nations peoples to work with organizations like mine – the Operating Engineers – or other groups out there because you have to have some permanent benefit from development that occurs on your land,” he said.

Local 793 has been working with First Nations communities for some time now.

Ten years ago, the local negotiated a collective agreement with Kiewit for a road project known as the Garden River Project in Sault Ste. Marie. The project employed many First Nations workers.

Since 2006, the OETIO has trained more than 700 First Nations, Inuit and Metis people from Ontario, Nunavut and Saskatchewan. Many successful graduates are now working in the mining, construction, roads and pipeline sectors.

In the past two years, the OETIO has trained at least eight First Nations crane apprentices. One of those apprentices is Tanya Uiselt, a 20-year-old member of the Moose Cree First Nation who is Local 793’s first Aboriginal female tower crane apprentice. She is working at the Lower Mattagami hydroelectric generating project in northern Ontario.

In the last six months, though, Local 793 and the OETIO have stepped up efforts to reach out to First Nations communities.

Six staff members were appointed to committees that support the Aboriginal Apprenticeship Board of Ontario. The staff members are business reps Robbie Hierons, John Kelly, Martin Jacques, Rob Catling, Eastern Ontario area supervisor Rick Kerr, and OETIO director of marketing Carla St. Louis.

The OETIO has also developed a new IUOE trade-entrance upgrading course for crane and heavy equipment candidates. This enhances the ability of First Nations peoples to pass the IUOE trade entrance exam.

The OETIO, meanwhile, has also hired Brian Pelletier, an Ojibway and member of the Serpent River First Nation, for its outreach program. Brian has worked with First Nations communities across Canada for more than 30 years.

The initiatives appear to be paying off as training staff has noticed that more First Nations funding agencies are coming to the OETIO campuses for two- or three-day site visits. More First Nations funding agencies are also sending their clients to the OETIO, as agency representatives are more aware of the training possibilities being offered at the campuses.

Last December, 20 First Nations peoples came to the OETIO in Morrisburg for a four-day introduction to heavy equipment program. Eight of the 20 returned afterwards to participate in a 10-week heavy equipment program. In April, another 15 First Nations trainees attended the same introduction to heavy equipment course at the OETIO in Morrisburg.

As part of the effort, Local 793 and the OETIO are also helping employers hire First Nations peoples when a project is undertaken near where Aboriginals live. For example, the local recently helped employer HP White recruit several First Nations peoples for work on the McLean’s Mountain Wind Farm project on Manitoulin Island.

Getting First Nations peoples into training opportunities is a win-win situation for both the Operating Engineers and First Nations communities. 

Local 793 needs people to take up the trades and First Nations communities have young people who are eager to work.

Half of the First Nations population is under the age of 25 and First Nations peoples are the fastest growing population in Canada.

In 2001, there were 1,066,500 First Nations peoples in Canada, representing 3.4 per cent of the population, according to Statistics Canada. By 2017, the First Nations population could account for 4.1 per cent of the population.


Fight continues to reform the Temporary Foreign Workers Program

April 19, 2013

Local 115 under the leadership of Business Manager Brian Cochrane continue their efforts to raise awareness of protecting Canadian jobs and highlighting the flaws in the current Temporary Worker Program designed by the Federal Conservatives to lower wages for Canadians and import cheaper labour. It is crucial that we do what we can to curb the direction of this program. Local 115 has created a website to spread the word and awareness: http://www.labourspeaksout.com 

Lead by Brian Cochrane,  British Columbia labour Affiliates met with RBC Executives on Tuesday, April 16th to discuss their use of Temporary Foreign Workers.  This very important issue has garnered the attention of RBC CEO Gordon Nixon, who flew out from Toronto to meet with all of us face-to-face.  Not often ( or ever) you get a CEO of one of the major banks in Toronto to rearrange his schedule to come meet with a few Unions in Vancouver on 24 hours notice! It was a landmark event.

Please see the below video clip, as well as the news article from CBC, for further details. Please click here if you cannot see the video.

Member Spotlight: Local 793 Member Robert MacFarlane

March 14, 2013

Robert MacFarlane, a crane operator and Local 793 member, was the subject of a recent article on The Toronto Star website.

Crane operator tweets Toronto’s lofty beauty in photos snapped from a sky-high perch (The Star, March 1, 2013) by Curtis Rush with photos by Richard Lautens. 

MacFarlane has an unparalleled view from his "office" 702 feet above ground. The 54-year-old Scarborough father of three has been working on the L Tower in Toronto.

“You only get a shot at this once,” he said. “Every day there is beauty on the lake, and little swaths of the city that will light up while everything else is in shade, and one chunk in Mississauga will be glowing in the sun. I just gotta get that picture.”

Click here to read the story.

Local 115 Protects Canadian Workers Rights and Challenges Federal Government

March 4, 2013

IUOE Local 115 in partnership with the Building Trades of British Columbia has been in the media spotlight nationally since early November 2012 due to the high-profile challenge of the Canadian Federal Government’s Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program.  

Local 115 was prompted to commence legal action when a company called HD Mining (HD) was granted TFW permits allowing it to conduct a 100,000-tonne coal sampling using 201 workers brought in from China.  “It was an unacceptable situation,” explained Business Manager Brian Cochrane.  “We had qualified members on Local 115’s dispatch lists and out of work Members of our sister locals throughout Canada and the USA ready to assist with the exploration in Murray River.  It was clear that HD hadn’t made a legitimate attempt to recruit Canadian workers first which is a requirement of the Federal Governments Temporary Foreign Worker program.”

The Canadian Federal Government and HD Mining fought every step of the way in court, resulting in numerous pieces of litigation, from not only the Federal Government but from HD and its shareholders as well.  HD threatened at one point to close down other resource extraction projects in the Murray River region which they quickly retracted.    

Local 115’s campaign has not been an easy one.  After first winning the right to apply for a judicial review based on considerations of public interest, Local 115 went on to win again in court to obtain access to hundreds of documents related to the approval of the Murray River permits.  In early January, when key information was withheld by HD, and the government argued that it was unable to compel the firm to produce the missing data, the local forced full disclosure by filing a contempt of court application against Canadian Human Resources Minister Diane Finley.  Again Federal Court ruled in favor of Local 115 stating the government must continue to obtain the documents from HD.

In mid-January HD finally complied with the Court order and turned over the 315 resumes of Canadians who responded to their job ads. Although HD Mining claimed there was no Canadian applicants qualified to do this work, the evidence from the resumes clearly shows that is not factual. 

Within days after releasing the resumes as a part of the court order, HD Mining announced it was going to send the Chinese workers that had already arrived in Canada back home to China. Local 115 have now filed an additional submission to the courts after reviewing the resumes of the people who had applied for these jobs. “There were people who applied that had over 30 years’ experience and why they were deemed unqualified by HD Mining is completely absurd” said Business Manager Cochrane in several interviews with the media. 

The real issue is the Temporary Foreign Worker Program:  it’s a broken system in urgent need of reform.  Until the TFW program is changed to be both more effective and more transparent, these kinds of abuses will continue.  The good news is that this story has garnered national attention and overwhelming positive support, and that puts pressure on the federal government to set up an independent review. The Local wants to try and find a better solution to protect Canadian jobs and provide opportunities for our membership in the United States when they become available.  

This campaign is not over , and there are more legal battles on the forefront, but taking on this challenge successfully has brought the importance of unions  back into a National Spotlight.

Stay tuned for future updates…


Gary O’Neill Learning Centre

December 7, 2012

The training building adjacent to Local 793’s head office in Oakville has been officially named the Gary O’Neill Learning Centre.

More than 150 people gathered at the site Dec. 7 to unveil the new name and honour the late president’s accomplishments.

Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher thanked all those who attended the event, including Gary’s wife, Denise, his children Nicole, Kristofer and Owen, and his father, Loran, a 55-year member.

A number of dignitaries also attended, including Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn, Oakville Mayor Rob Burton, Labour Minister Linda Jeffrey, and Pat Dillon, business manager of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario.

Local 793 president Joe Redshaw emceed the event.

Gallagher told the audience that training trustees unanimously decided to re-name the centre to mark Gary’s accomplishments during his 30-year career as a member of Local 793.

The idea was supported by the Local 793 executive board and extremely well received by members, Gallagher said.

“This is what we needed to do to recognize his accomplishments,” said Gallagher.

Gary died in September 2011. He had been president of the local for 13 years.

Gallagher said it is fitting to have Gary’s name on the building because he was such an integral part of the union and the labour movement in Ontario.

He described the late president as a leader, a perfectionist, and “a standout” from the very beginning. “He was always on the go and he wanted to get things done.”

Gallagher said Gary would have been proud to have his name on a building where apprentices are trained. He noted that Gary became a leader in everything he was involved in, and chaired the Working Families Coalition.

As chair of that organization, Gallagher said Gary helped lead it to success and ensured a progressive government was in power, he said.

Gallagher noted that Gary also chaired the board of directors of De Novo, and was always ready to lend a helping hand to those in trouble.

In negotiations, meanwhile, Gallagher said Gary always had the ability to find a compromise.

Dillon of the provincial building trades told the audience that Gary was a colleague and a friend. He was very committed to the union movement and realized that the safety of workers was paramount, he said.

Dillon noted that Gary was chosen for the helm of Working Families because he was a leader. He said the union couldn’t have chosen a better way to honour Gary’s memory than by naming the training centre after him.

MPP Flynn said he often had dealings with Gary and always felt like he was talking to a friend. Flynn said that through his work Gary made life better for everybody in Ontario.

 

2012 Easter Seals Fund Raiser

September 24, 2012

The Canadian Regional Office participated on September 24th in the Easter Seals Drop Zone Challenge which requires participates to rappelle 220 ft.down a building. Easter Seals provides programs and services to children and youth with physical disabilities to help them achieve greater independence, accessibility and integration. 

Jim Murphy, Canadian Regional Director, and Steven Schumann, Canadian Government Affairs Director successfully took the plunge and survived their rappelling adventure. The Canadian Office easily surpassed their goal and raised just over $7,000. As a team, the Regional Office was the third best fundraising team and Jim Murphy was the second highest individual fundraiser. The event raised nearly $105,000 making it an outstanding success. Click on each picture below to enlarge.

The Canadian Office looks forward to participating next year in this worthy fundraising event and hopes to surpass their total from this year.

54th Annual Canadian Conference

September 9, 2012

The 54th annual Canadian Conference was head from September 5th to 8th in Winnipeg, Manitoba. With Delegates, invited guests, and speakers came from across Canada and the United States, the conference was a huge success. For the first time ever, a currently elected Premier spoke at our Conference. Premier Greg Selinger of Manitoba thanked the Operating Engineers for their support and work in his election as Premier and told the audience to continue the fight against right-wing governments and organizations who are aggressively attacking labour and trade unions.

The ongoing attacks from these right-wing groups was a common theme throughout the presentations and speeches.  General President James T. Callahan echoed these sentiments in his address to the delegate. He also announced that:

  • Canada Operating Engineers Joint Apprenticeship and Training Council (COEJATC) be recognized as a partner organization to the IUOE National Training Board with the aim of improving training standards and raising the profile of Operating Engineers in Canada and the U.S.
  • Going forward the Canadian director will be the chair of COEJATC.
  • All applications for funding to support future training projects go through COEJATC to the IUOE National Training Board.
  • The Operating Engineers in Canada will have a permanent position on the IUOE NTB
General President Callahan went on to announce the appointment of Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher to the National Training Board. He is the first Canadian appointee.

Canadian Director James Murphy not only touched on these issues but raised other challenges and threats facing our organization including union mergers, the growth of CLAC. Mr. Murphy focused specifically how the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and Canadian Energy and Paper workers (CEP) are working with the La Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ) with an agenda to organize in the construction sector.  He reminded the delegates that the IUOE has worked hard and will continue to work to defeat Bill C-377 and other right-wing legislation that will be coming in the future, like dissolving the RAND formula. He also discussed how the organization must continue to adapt to the changing economic and political climate. There are many opportunities for the IUOE in Canada so long as we remain proactive.