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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 northern portion of the pipeline, required because the project crossed the international border between the United States and Canada, citing potential environmental concerns. Following that announcement, I.U.O.E. General President James Callahan, who had ascended to the union’s top office in November 2011, vowed “to work with our partners in labor and the industry to bring vital energy projects like Keystone XL online and to create the kind of high-paying, skilled jobs that are so vital to our economy, our members and their families.” But ongoing delays of the permit were continued by then-President Obama, after which President Donald Trump on January 24, 2017, signed an executive order to expedite final permit approval for the pipeline, which was granted in March, before new President Joe Biden signed an executive order on January 20, 2021, to revoke the permit granted to TC Energy and stop the work. Meanwhile, the I.U.O.E. did not sit idly by on other fronts, and in early 2011 the union launched a new activist program in an effort to engage every member to advocate for goodpaying jobs. “It is time we change the way we do things,” General President Giblin said in reassessing the union’s political program. With those goals, the new program urged members to register through the union’s website to receive email action alerts from the I.U.O.E. Engineers Action and Response Network that would enable them to easily contact elected officials regarding legislation to create and protect jobs for operating engineers. General President Giblin retired in November 2011, at which time Brother Callahan, a thirdgeneration operating engineer who was serving as the part-time general secretary-treasurer and Local No. 15 business manager, took over the position. The General Executive Board had earlier elected Brother Callahan to complete President Giblin’s unexpired term through April 2013. Cranes operated by members of I.U.O.E. Local No. 49 of Minneapolis erect the city’s new U.S. Bank Stadium, which was built from December 2013 to July 2016 to serve as home of the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League, among other uses. The view of Buffalo-based I.U.O.E. Local No. 17 member Brother Paul Hopkins as he works on construction of the Harbor Center mixed-use development built from March 1, 2013, to August 2015 with two Liebherr tower cranes on site. Prior to his appointment as general secretarytreasurer on July 1, 2011, Brother Callahan was seventh vice president of the international while also business manager of his home local. Upon the resignation of General Secretary- Treasurer Christopher Hanley, the General Executive Board during its May 24, 2011, meeting voted to transform the position of general secretary-treasurer which had essentially been unchanged since at least 1938 from full-time to part-time and ruled that “the occupant shall not be required by virtue of election to relinquish local union office.” Passage of a highway bill, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21 st Century Act, whose job-creating capability for operating engineers dwarfed that of any other single piece of legislation, was the top legislative priority for the I.U.O.E. during the 2012 congressional session. With the union’s efforts, Congress approved the 5-billion highway measure, clearing the way LABOR OMNIA VINCIT for operating engineers and other construction workers to get back to rebuilding the country’s vital transportation network after President Obama quickly signed the bill. But on October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy unleashed its superstorm-level fury on the northeastern United States, decimating communities, including the homes and vehicles of more than 500 I.U.O.E. members, some of whom lost nearly everything they owned. Despite the overwhelming devastation and personal loss, thousands of operating engineers mobilized, using their skills to assist rescue crews and utility workers in gaining access to homes and communities cut off by flood waters or buried beneath sand and debris. In the wake of that disaster, that year the I.U.O.E. National Charity Fund paid out over .7 million in claims resulting from the hurricane and other natural disasters in the WORK CONQUERS ALL

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