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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 erected the turbines, they were then connected to the mainland by an underwater cable. Yet another strong source of employment for I.U.O.E. members was put in place when the federal Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (or FAST Act) was made law in the United States on December 4, 2015, allowing state and local governments to move forward with critical transportation projects such as new highways and transit lines with the assurance of federal financial backing. Representing an overall investment of 5 billion, the FAST Act would keep thousands of operating engineers employed on ongoing projects while creating thousands of new job opportunities for the members over the ensuing five years. The union made even more progress in 2016, during which it conducted its Jurisdictional Best Practices training sessions at 12 different locals, which were attended by roughly 100 business managers and business agents. The training was part of what the union called its “all-hands-on-deck approach” that had already led to the successful resolution of eight impediment-of-job-progress complaints filed before the “Plan for The Settlement of Jurisdictional Disputes” (a tool established by NABTU and five major construction-industry employer associations), with all rulings going in favor of the I.U.O.E. In Canada that year, the union was extremely active in securing various agreements in the pipeline industry, including an arrangement on the -million TransCanada Pipeline Limited providing first right of refusal on all of its projects when entering the construction phase. The union also successfully lobbied the Canadian Federal Government for approval on three projects involving Enbridge Energy Partners totaling .8 billion and Kinder Morgan’s proposed .8-billion Trans- Mountain Pipeline expansion. As the economy continued to support strong employment for I.U.O.E. members through 2017 and into 2018, demand for the union’s skilled operating engineers remained high. As such, the I.U.O.E. further strengthened its position within the industries it serves when it opened its International Training & Education Center, a state-of-the-art training facility near Houston, Texas, in April 2018. Many of the more than 40 members of I.U.O.E. Local No. 150 of Chicago who worked at the Newton County (Indiana) Landfill in 2018 stand tall during a break from moving 1.2-million yards of dirt. (Photo courtesy of Local 150 and member Tony Walker.) Cranes operated by members of I.U.O.E. Local No. 15 of New York City construct multiple highrise buildings in the new Hudson Yards mixed-use, planned development in the Chelsea and Hudson Yards neighborhoods of Manhattan in July 2018. Staying Strong into Year 125 When more than 600 delegates convened for the I.U.O.E. 39 th General Convention on May 6, 2018, in Hollywood, Florida, they were fully prepared to embrace the convention’s theme, “The Future is Now,” and take on current challenges the union was facing while also maintaining the positive gains it had made over the previous few years. In doing so, the delegates passed 32 resolutions dealing with skills training; occupational health and safety; prevailing wage; economic and labor issues; and pension and healthcare benefits. They also voted unanimously to re-elect General President Callahan to a second full, five-year term, as well as the entire international staff of General Secretary-Treasurer Brian E. Hickey, 14 international vice presidents and five trustees who represent members from every region of North America. LABOR OMNIA VINCIT While also helping to get more unionfriendly candidates elected at local, state and federal levels around the United States, the union played a major role in most of the labor movement’s significant triumphs that year, including a victory in Missouri when voters in August balloting rejected that state’s proposed anti-union “right-to-work” law. A massive statewide campaign in which all I.U.O.E. locals were heavily involved culminated in a resounding 67-percent of voters voicing their opposition to the effort to weaken Missouri’s unions. As a result of those and other positive developments, including its locals winning 75 percent of their N.L.R.B. elections for union representation in shops around North America, the union grew in numbers despite an overall decrease in union membership in the labor movement in 2018. During the year, the I.U.O.E. would add more than 6,000 new members to boost its total international WORK CONQUERS ALL

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