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International Operating Engineer - Fall 2019

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The quarterly magazine of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

Politics & Legislation

Politics & Legislation Gubernatorial Results are Good News for Operating Engineers Canadian Federal Election: Liberals Will Lead as Minority Government THE GUBERNATORIAL RACE in Kentucky this November was closely monitored by the IUOE and the overall labor movement. When Matt Bevin was elected Governor four years ago, he wasted no time attacking unions and working families by making Kentucky a Rightto-Work state and repealing the state’s prevailing wage law. In addition, he unsuccessfully proposed slashing unemployment benefits by forty percent and making severe cuts to the pensions of public employees and teachers. Thanks to the hard work of IUOE Local Unions 181, 18 and 20, Kentucky’s Attorney General, Andy Beshear, successfully defeated the anti-union governor by about 5,000 votes. The Governor-elect is a friend of Operating Engineers and is committed to repealing Right-to-Work and reinstating the state’s prevailing wage law. Likewise, IUOE Local 406 was successful in getting Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards re-elected. In a mid-November run-off election, Bel Edwards defeated Eddie Rispone, the former national chairperson of the anti-union Associated Builders and Contractors, by over forty thousand votes. CANADIANS WENT TO the polls on October 21, to elect their next federal government. For the previous four years, the Liberals had governed with a majority of seats, with the Conservatives, the NDP, Bloc Québécois, and Greens forming the opposition. While the Liberals have now won re-election, they no longer rule with a comfortable majority and instead must rely on the opposition parties to help pass legislation and keep them in power. Despite a loss of 20 seats, including two high-profile Cabinet ministers and all seats in Alberta and Saskatchewan, the Liberals were able to retain power with a total of 157 seats. The Conservatives gained 26 seats, for a total of 121 seats, but were unable to make much of a dent in Quebec and were completely shut out from every major urban centre east of the prairies. At the expense of the other parties, especially the NDP, the nationalist Bloc Québécois saw a resurgence in Quebec with a gain of 22 seats for a total of 32 seats. The NDP suffered a loss of 15 seats, including nearly all its Quebec caucus, for a total of 24 seats. The Bloc Québécois and the NDP are expected to play a significant role in shaping government policy and legislation in the years to come. The Greens won their first seat outside of British Columbia but failed to build on any momentum, and their leader has now decided to step down. separatism, provincial governments that are largely antagonistic, and an independently minded Senate undergoing internal reform. The Liberals have now appointed a 36 member Cabinet, and are expected to present their legislative plan for the future on December 5, when the House of Commons resumes. During the federal election, the IUOE remained non-partisan and did not endorse any leader, any party or any candidate. However, the union did send out four different emails during the election period to remind members to go out and cast their vote. As part of those emails, members were reminded of issues that were not only important to them as union workers, but to the IUOE as a whole, such as the development of natural resources, in particular pipelines, and ensuring the highest and safest work standards. Minority governments typically have a life expectancy of 18-24 months before another election is called. As a minority government, the Liberals face many new challenges, including the rise in Quebec nationalism and Western 18 INTERNATIONAL OPERATING ENGINEER FALL 2019 19

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