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International Operating Engineer - Summer 2017

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The quarterly magazine of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

Politics & Legislation

Politics & Legislation Michigan Legislature Funds ‘Helmets to Hardhats’ Initiative Attacks on Prevailing Wage Pushed Back in Congress THE STRONG SUPPORT of Operating Engineers 324 and other building trades unions helped move the Michigan Legislature to approve funding for an initiative that will connect Michigan veterans with quality jobs in the construction trades. The Legislature allocated 0,000 in its Workforce Development budget to help fund a state chapter of the national “Helmets to Hardhats” program. The funds will be used to recruit and assist military veterans in transition to certified apprenticeship programs in the construction industry. As a result of the set-aside, Michigan will become the third state, after New York and Minnesota, to have its own state director to coordinate and administer the Helmets to Hardhats program. “As we look to fill the growing demand for highly skilled construction workers, veterans have the experience and determination that is necessary to succeed in the trades,” said Doug Stockwell, business manager for Operating Engineers 324. “The Helmets to Hardhats program here in Michigan is an example of what is possible when we put supporting our nation’s veterans ahead of partisanship. I want to thank the Legislature for supporting this important and innovative program.” Helmets to Hardhats is a national non-profit that connects veterans in all branches of service – National Guard, Reserve, retired and transitioning active duty – to opportunities for skilled training and careers in the construction industry. The innovative program takes advantage of G.I. Bill benefits that cover the costs of moving back to their home state or relocating to Michigan to pursue a job opportunity. 12 INTERNATIONAL OPERATING ENGINEER “Our veterans protect us and keep us safe every day,” said Sen. Mike Kowall (R-White Lake), whose leadership on veterans’ issues was instrumental in getting the Helmets to Hardhats program started in Michigan. “I am proud to help ensure the men and women who serve our country have opportunities back home to use their expertise, skills and training to find good-paying jobs and opportunities. Jobs for our veterans is good news for Michigan.” “Operating Engineers keep Michigan running, from building and repairing roads to operating the stationary boilers that keep our kids warm and safe in school,” said Lee Graham, director of labor management for Operating Engineers 324. “Many veterans have prior experience with heavy equipment, construction tools and other equipment, giving them a solid foundation for the skilled trades. Through the Helmets to Hardhats program we look forward to putting more of our nation’s veterans to work in important careers that make an impact every single day.” The demand for skilled trades people is the highest in decades in Michigan as road rebuilding and other infrastructure projects, like the new bridge to Canada, get underway. “States like Michigan that have a dedicated state coordinator see the number of veterans in the skilled trades triple and even quadruple,” said Darrell Roberts, executive director of Helmets to Hardhats. “For many of the 150,000 to 225,000 men and women discharged from military service every year, the building and construction trades represent a huge opportunity to build on their skill sets and find goodpaying careers back at home.” Helmets to Hardhats was founded in 2003 and operates nationwide to connect honorably discharged veterans, both enlisted personnel and officers, with high-quality, engaging careers in the building trades. Helmets to Hardhats is administered through the Center for Military Recruitment, Assessment and Veterans Employment (CMRAVE). Helmets to Hardhats is not a placement program, but with mentoring and counseling they help make the connection between career providers and potential candidates. Each year, Helmets to Hardhats receives 14,000 to 30,000 resumes and registrations from military service members’ who have an interest in a career in the construction trades. [article] Dan McKernan, IUOE Local 324 ENGINEERS ACTION & RESPONSE NETWORK REGISTER TODAY! WWW.IUOE.ORG A LITTLE MORE than six months into the 115th Congress and antiworker forces are launching multiple attacks on the wages and working conditions of blue-collar folks by trying to weaken or repeal the nation’s prevailing wage laws. The most recent attacks on working folks came in the nation’s annual defense legislation. John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, renewed his decades-long attack on prevailing wages. In the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act, the one-year annual authority for defense policy and spending, Senator McCain included a repeal of both the Service Contract Act and the Davis- Bacon Act. Thousands of Stationary Engineers are employed at Department of Defense facilities around the country, operating and maintaining those major institutions. The Service Contract Act establishes wage and benefit standards that support IUOE members at those operations and ensure that American taxpayer dollars are not used to undermine our standard of living. Davis-Bacon prevailing wages sustains the wages and working conditions of millions of construction workers, supports local hiring and local contractors, and helps ensure high-quality public construction on some of the biggest engineering feats in the world. Become a Skilled Construction Professional... At NO COST to You! Connects Men & Women to Challenging Careers in the Construction Industry EARNING POTENTIAL thru the Best Apprenticeship Training Programs in the Country Opportunity to Utilize Your G.I. BILL Education Benefits to Supplement Your Income NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED – Earn While You Learn BENEFITS PACKAGE – Medical, Retirement and Pension Serve Your Country Secure Your Future Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) worked closely with Jack Reed (D-RI) the lead Democrats on the committee to prepare an amendment to remove the repeal language from the bill. Seeing the united opposition of Democrats, combined with the support of Republican Senator Dan Sullivan (AK), Chairman McCain relented and agreed to remove the language – without a vote. Senator Donnelly said, “I believe hardworking Americans should be paid a fair wage, which is why I introduced an amendment to strike the antilabor provision from the bill. I have long supported policies that provide workers fair wages, a safe workplace, and the right to collectively bargain. SUMMER 2017 13

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