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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 As the I.U.O.E. moved into the new “Y2K” millennium, it was in excellent financial condition as the result of wise investments and thoughtful, attentive expenditures. The union was also wellpositioned to service its members through a host of programs, which General President Hanley reminded nearly 300 representatives from locals throughout the United States and Canada attending the 2000 General Executive Board open session in January would remain the union’s main mission: “Servicing our members is the rock-solid foundation for all that we have accomplished in our 100- plus years of existence. ... It is the principle that will guide the I.U.O.E. through its next 100 years and beyond.” The union’s organizing activities were also continuing to yield dividends, and by August 2000, it had gained nearly 10,000 new members over the preceding year alone. Indicative of the increased organizing activity, backed by the Cooperative Organizing Grant Program, were a number of significant wins registered by local unions, including some 830 workers at the J. Ray McDermott fabrication yard in Amelia, Louisiana, voting for Local No. 406 of New Orleans to serve as their collective-bargaining representative. The employees withstood a virulent anti-union campaign by the company, which builds large offshore structures such as oil rigs, and some local politicians and voted for I.U.O.E. representation in an N.L.R.B.- conducted election. Members of I.U.O.E. Local No. 37 in Baltimore take part in the local’s firstever hazardous materials training class at its training center in October 1990. Fueled by relatively robust economies in both the United States and Canada, construction work boomed in 1999 and, in turn, spurred work opportunities in the stationary industry. The I.U.O.E. then earmarked million for a newly established Cooperative Organizing Grant Program in June 1999 to further encourage and assist locals with organizing by providing matching funds for up to half of the cost for a local’s new staff and rank-and-file organizers. In addition to the grants, highlights of a comprehensive agenda General President Hanley outlined at the General Executive Board meeting held June 17 to 19 included development of organizing programs specifically aimed at youth and Hispanic workers. Demonstrating its dedication to fostering a productive and diverse membership, particularly in view of the increasing numbers of minorities and women who were entering the labor market (in 1998, 24 percent of I.U.O.E. apprentices were minorities and 21 percent were female), the I.U.O.E. reached out to the growing number of Latino- Americans in the building-and-construction and building-services industries. Such efforts were underscored on January 25, 2000, when the union signed a five-year Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to establish and implement a national Hispanic Outreach Program to provide Latinos with the tools to make them skilled, productive operating engineers. Introduction of those programs and others once again displayed the union’s commitment to organizing as a primary means of increasing the strength of the I.U.O.E. and its locals. Momentum Paused by 9/11 Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (Photo credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF.) The union then won a months-long fight after launching a full-scale counterattack in May 2000 when Maintenance Technologies Group, a building-services employer, took over work at LaGuardia Airport in New York Members of I.U.O.E. Local No. 132 of Charleston, West Virginia, construct the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in Green Bank, West Virginia, in 1998. When completed in 2000, it would be the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope. LABOR OMNIA VINCIT WORK CONQUERS ALL

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