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International Operating Engineer - Fall 2017

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The quarterly magazine of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

Labor Notes Fair

Labor Notes Fair Contracting Group Gathers, Callahan Named to Board THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE for Fair Contracting (NAFC) recently convened their annual conference in Nashville, TN. NAFC is a labor-management alliance of fair contracting organizations, contractors, and labor unions committed to promoting fairness in public construction contracting across the nation. Member Spotlight In Vietnam, He Fought With His Back to the Wall Local 139 retiree dedicates ‘transition wall’ for Wisconsin veterans The conference focused on prevailing wage surveys and enforcement, health and safety in the construction industry, and infrastructure financing. In attendance were the Indiana, Illinois and Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting (IIIFC) and compliance staff from various IUOE Locals who administer other fair contracting foundations. MARYBE MCMILLIAN BECOMES the first woman to lead the North Carolina labor movement after being unanimously elected President of the North Carolina State AFL-CIO during the 60th Annual Convention in September. McMillian grew up in Hickory, North Carolina. She became involved with union organizing as a student and is passionate about organizing workers in the South. MaryBe frequently speaks to groups around the country about the importance of building a strong labor movement in the South. She is a member of IUOE Local 465 in Durham, North Carolina. “I look forward to working with our affiliates to build the movement we all want – one that is constantly growing, that is both big enough and bold enough In addition, General President Callahan was recently invited to join the group’s board of directors. The board includes representatives from its member fair contracting organizations, contractor organizations, and labor unions. In accepting the board position, Callahan said, “I am honored to set the agenda and drive our politics, that is unafraid to hold our politicians and our own leaders accountable – a movement with the power to change this state and this nation,” McMillian said after the election. to join such a distinguished group of construction industry leaders. NAFC has an important role to play in guarding against any further erosion of fair industry standards and fighting to get back to a more level playing field.” North Carolina’s Labor Fed Elects First Woman President [above] IUOE Local 465 member MaryBe McMillian was elected President of the North Carolina State AFL-CIO in September 2017. [article & photo] NC State AFL-CIO ON JANUARY 8, 1968, Army Sp4c. Gary Wetzel had his left arm blown off on a Vietnam battlefield. His subsequent heroism earned him the Medal of Honor. Far away in time and location, on July 7, 2017, the retired Local 139 member served his country yet again. Using a wheelchair and crutches to maneuver and to stand, the 70-yearold helped dedicate a “transition wall” that memorializes all veterans while inspiring service to country. The wall symbolizes the rocky road veterans typically follow as they exit the military and re-enter civilian life. It also marks the main entrance to the Gary G. Wetzel Way nature trail, built for disabled veterans in 2016, mainly by Local 139 apprentices who themselves were veterans. The wall stands in a tranquil forest clearing near Camp American Legion, a place where Wisconsin veterans have been coming to rebuild their lives since 1925. It begins as a pile of strewn boulders, turns in a different direction and becomes a series of gabion baskets filled with smaller stones, changes to mismatched types of building materials, then turns into a uniform brick wall before angling off to a wellorganized conclusion. The wall is living monument that will evolve, said American Legion Post 139 Commander Mike Burt. Already, some veterans have inked the names of fallen commrades onto the stones in the baskets, although writing on the wall proper is not permitted. “It’s going to be growing and growing,” Wetzel said. “It’s about life, not death. I’m proud as a peacock to be here. God bless America.” [above] Plaques in the wall recount Gary Wetzel’s heroism and list the organizations, including Local 139, that sponsored the adjacent nature trail bearing Wetzel’s name. [below] Daniel Seehafer, commander of The American Legion Department of Wisconsin, invites all present to touch the wall as part of its dedication ceremony. [left] Wetzel returns a salute from Seehafer. [article & photos] Dave Backmann, IUOE Local 139 8 INTERNATIONAL OPERATING ENGINEER FALL 2017 9

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