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International Operating Engineer - Spring 2016

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The quarterly magazine of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

Feature “Some of these

Feature “Some of these rigs are World-War- II-era, built in the 1940s,” said Master Mechanic Greg Wright who works in the Manson Yard in Richmond, Calif. “You can’t just go out and buy the part; you have to make it yourself.” Yard crews consist of Heavy Duty Repairers (HDRs), but as Apprentice Remy Trifforiot pointed out, work on dredging rigs “is a totally different world” from what he learned working on loaders and dozers. That’s why HDR Fred Baca makes it a point to clarify that he is a Marine HDR. Though the work is often hard and dangerous and involves long weeks and long hours, it’s impossible to miss the die-hard enthusiasm members in this line of work have for their jobs. Part of that is because they understand the importance of what they do in the larger scheme of things. “What we do is important,” said Pryor, as he pointed to a large ship being unloaded in Stockton, Calif. “Look at that ship and consider all the jobs that one ship is tied to. If we weren’t here doing this, those ships couldn’t get in here and those jobs wouldn’t exist.” “Our work keeps the cost of shipping and the price of goods down,” added Deckhand Jason Shanahan. “What we do supports our whole economy.” It’s obvious that what dredgermen do creates close camaraderie and provides the satisfaction of skilled and challenging work, a sense of purpose and an understanding of the value of their job. It’s no wonder, then, that die-hard dredgers like Faas would be willing to wear their pride on their (tattooed) sleeves. Water Infrastructure Funding Awaits Action in Senate In March, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016. The .4 billion bill will support the nation’s ports, waterways and clean water infrastructure. The legislation will now go before the full Senate for a vote. This bill “prioritizes projects to improve ports and waterways for increased global competitive advantage and supports needed flood control projects that protect millions of people and billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure,” said Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK). The legislation identifies .5 billion worth of water-related infrastructure projects and contains 0 million in direct emergency assistance for Flint, Michigan, and other communities where the drinking water supply is contaminated. In a letter to Senators, General President Callahan commented that, “the Water Resources Development Act will deliver immediate economic benefits to construction workers and the whole nation.” If the WRDA gets signed into law, it will create thousands of job opportunities for Operating Engineers. WRDA also authorizes .9 billion for drinking water and clean water infrastructure over five years. The bill would increase investments in the nation’s aging drinking water and wastewater infrastructure by modernizing State Revolving Loan Fund programs, reauthorizing funding to control sewer overflows and providing assistance to replace lead service lines. “Many Americans get their drinking water from crumbling pipes,” said Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the committee’s ranking member. “This bill begins the much-needed work to ensure safe reliable drinking water.” In addition, the legislation would authorize 25 new Army Corps projects in 17 states, including projects to restore the Florida Everglades; revitalize the Los Angeles River; improve ports in Charleston, South Carolina; and provide flood and hurricane protection in Louisiana. The legislation includes full Davis-Bacon prevailing wage standards as it moved out of committee. An effort from right-wing Republican Senators to repeal the labor standard when it moves to the floor of the Senate is expected. [photos clockwise from top] Deckhand James Faas displays his tattoos; bucket of sediment dredged from the shipping channels at the Port of Redwood City; [L to R] Dutra Deckhand Jason Shanahan, Capt. Craig Haufler, Deckhand Albert Apodaca and Deckhand James Faas; Capt. Craig Hauffler andDeckhand Jason Shanahanwork at the Port of Stockton; the crew aboard Dutra’s DB 24 includes, from left, Site Safety and Health Officer Karen Maples, Deckhand Cody Mana, Deckhand Kenny Hasbrouck, Deck Engineer Mike Davis and Capt. John Boykin. 14 INTERNATIONAL OPERATING ENGINEER SPRING 2016 15

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