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125 Years Strong – An IUOE History

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Celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the founding of the International Union of Operating Engineers


INTERNATIONAL UNION OF OPERATING ENGINEERS In the longer-term aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks, and recognizing the critical role operating engineers fulfill in such emergency situations, in July 2002 the union established the I.U.O.E. Homeland Security Division and the National Emergency Response Center in conjunction with the federal Office of Homeland Security. The center’s programs would prepare members to deal safely and effectively with emergencies as first-responders. In January 2004 during his address at the I.U.O.E. General Executive Board open session, National Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge recognized the I.U.O.E. for its role in homeland security, stating, “Our nation thanks you for your patriotism, your actions and your continuing commitment to homeland security.” More than two years earlier, shortly after “9/11” (as the attacks have become known) while he and the many other I.U.O.E. members were working on cleanup of the World Trade Center site, Brother Kenny Klemens of Local No. 14, like so many other members, was adamant in his resolve: “The men who broke me in as an engineer built these towers. I feel it’s my duty to them and as an American to be here ... and as an operating engineer to help with the cleanup and to rebuild.” More Wins and More Goodwill With the events of 9/11 emblazoned into its collective spirit, the I.U.O.E. forged ahead and in early 2002 greatly expanded its organizing and political programs. By that time, it was deeply involved in leading the fight on a number of Members of I.U.O.E. Local No. 463 of Niagara Falls, New York, help rebuild the Prospect Point Observation Tower (or Niagara Falls Observation Tower) in Niagara Falls just east of the American Falls between 2001 and 2003. critical legislative issues that had the potential of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the construction industry and related services, the topmost of which were budget proposals on federal highway spending and a comprehensive energy bill. One particular effort alleviated a projected funding shortfall of billion per year for investments needed over the coming 20 years to replace aging and failing pipes and to meet the mandates of the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act. The I.U.O.E. joined the Water Infrastructure Network, a broad-based coalition of local elected officials, water-service providers, state environmental- and healthprogram administrators and engineers formed to encourage greater federal funding assistance to help preserve and protect the health, environmental and economic gains provided by the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure. The following year during the I.U.O.E. 36 th General Convention held April 7 to 11 in Lake Buena Vista, 610 delegates again unanimously re-elected General President Hanley to another five-year term. They also ratified a number of constitutional amendments that included an increase in the per-capita tax from to .75 on July 1, 2003, and to .25 July 1, 2005 which would still be one of the lowest rates in the labor movement. The delegates also approved resolutions calling for increased participation in the political-legislative arena to support the passage of jobs-creating legislation such as investment in infrastructure projects, to protect Davis- Bacon prevailing wage laws, to oppose repeal or weakening of the Service Contract Act, and to oppose passage of any fast-track trade legislation lacking core labor and environmental protections. They further approved a measure Members of I.U.O.E. Local No. 148 of St. Louis working at the Joppa Power Station in southern Illinois in 2001. designating organizing as a priority interest of the I.U.O.E. and urging the union to “continue to pursue innovative programs and strategies to further its organizing efforts and to increase membership participation in those efforts.” Among the ongoing organizing victories gained by I.U.O.E. locals around the country, in 2004 Local No. 39 joined with Service Employees Local No. 1292 to organize over 550 public-sector employees working for Tehama County, California, with the operating engineers representing 475 of the workers. Meanwhile, Local No. 18 of Cleveland, Ohio, secured a first contract for 210 workers at Ralston Foods in Lancaster, Ohio, with a four-year agreement that was ratified by an 80-percent margin among the employees. General President Hanley retired on March 1, 2005, and was succeeded by General Secretary-Treasurer Vincent J. Giblin after the General Executive Board voted for him to serve out the unexpired term, which would run until the next I.U.O.E. Convention in the spring of 2008. A 40-year member of the LABOR OMNIA VINCIT WORK CONQUERS ALL

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