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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 I.U.O.E., Brother Giblin began his career working in the stationary-engineering trade in 1964 in his home state of New Jersey with Local No. 68. But before stepping down, in early 2005 General President Hanley joined the general presidents of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, the International Association of Ironworkers and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers and U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao in signing a pact encouraging alcohol- and drug-free workplaces in a cooperative effort to improve worker health and safety. Through the alliance, the organizations would be better able to provide union members and the construction industry with information, guidance and training resources that communicate the benefits of drug-free workplace programs and better protect workers’ health and safety. To help accomplish those activities, the unions would focus especially on educating workers on safety hazards created by the abuse of alcohol and other drugs in workplaces. That year, after more than two years during which passage of a national infrastructure bill was the primary focus of I.U.O.E. legislative endeavors, the U.S. Congress finally passed the largest infrastructure legislation ever, the 4-billion reauthorization of the Federal Public Transportation Act in the form of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act, which was signed into law on August 10, 2005. An I.U.O.E.-led coalition of building-trades unions successfully lobbied to have comprehensive Davis-Bacon prevailing-wage provisions in the measure to protect members’ wages when working on federally funded projects. Over the four-year life of the bill, it would create an estimated 47,000 jobs, half of which would be in the construction industry, for every billion in funds. The I.U.O.E. then took aim at alleviating escalating healthcare costs for its members, beginning with the union’s first-ever Healthcare Initiatives Conference held August 17 and 18 in Washington, D.C. Approximately 150 international vice presidents and trustees, local union business managers, union health Members of I.U.O.E. Local No. 772 of Hamilton, Ontario, employed at the city’s water treatment plant and Business Manager Greg Hoath (center) celebrate their successful 6-1/2-year legal battle over lost wages after an appeals court awarded the some 120 current and former members a total of 0,000. The back-pay award came about as the result of a dispute with the City of Hamilton and American Water Services centered on contractual wage obligations that were frozen and deferred under government legislation for which Local 772 was the only union in Ontario to successfully challenge the legislative implications on its negotiated agreement. Members of I.U.O.E. Local No. 612 of Tacoma, Washington, work on construction of the new, eastbound, second span of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge across the Tacoma Narrows strait of Puget Sound in 2004 for its opening three years later (by which time the original bridge would be reconfigured to carry westbound traffic). and welfare fund administrators and trustees participated in the meeting, whose focus was to provide a united effort to curb rising healthcare prices. During the conference, the union formally introduced four innovative healthcare programs designed to ease the financial and quality-of-services pressures adversely affecting its Health & Welfare funds. While the programs were strictly voluntary for its locals, one of the key roles of the I.U.O.E. international office would be negotiating pricing structures and facilitating business arrangements between participating locals and healthcare vendors. Later that very month, the I.U.O.E. again responded to a devastating crisis after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast region on August 29, 2005. One of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States, the storm affected to varying degrees more than 1,300 I.U.O.E. members with Local No. 406 in New Orleans; Local No. 407 in Lake Charles, Louisiana; Local No. 624 in Jackson, Mississippi; Local No. 653 in Mobile, Alabama; and region-wide Marine Division Local No. 25, based by then in New Jersey. In response, the union established the I.U.O.E. Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund soon after the hurricane hit to help members and their families who were victimized, and countless other members and locals from throughout the union generously answered the appeal for assistance by donating a total of .3 million. To recognize the support his local and the others received, Local No. 406 Business Manager Don Schiro addressed the 2006 I.U.O.E. General Executive Board open session on behalf of those locals whose members were affected by Hurricane Katrina and would receive assistance from the relief fund, saying: “I can tell you that the most uplifting thing to happen to those operating engineers who suffered from Katrina was the response to their plight of LABOR OMNIA VINCIT WORK CONQUERS ALL

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