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International Operating Engineer - Summer 2017

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The quarterly magazine of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

Canadian News Local 115

Canadian News Local 115 Open House Features Heavy Equipment, Family Fun and Politics MAYBE IT WAS the change of season, or the winds of political change. Either way, June 17th brought good weather and a large and energetic crowd, to IUOE Local 115’s 22nd Annual Open House and Heavy Equipment Rodeo. Among the guests were two new NDP members of the British Columbia legislature, part of the first labouroriented government to be elected in the province in 16 years. The New Democratic Party (NDP) was founded in the early 1960s as a partnership between the Canadian Labour Congress and progressive legislators. Local 115 looks to the newly elected NDP government to make changes that will benefit union families. After gaining the support necessary to form a minority government, in the provincial election on May 9, 2017, the BC NDP has promised action on labour relations, housing and public transit – priorities that would be good for the construction sector as well as for all British Columbians. Local 115 Business Manager Brother Brian Cochrane said, “We are long overdue for balanced Labour Legislation which gives workers the rights to organize, and a greater scrutiny on the employer dominated unions in BC which has had a major negative impact on our members in construction over the last 16 years. “With a long list of issues important to Operating Engineers and the Labour movement, Local 115 has wasted no time in meeting with the new government leadership to make sure our voices are heard,” said Cochrane. “We need good jobs for our members, a strong economy and more training funds to create career opportunities [above] Local 115 member Leanne Hugh, HEO/APLT Apprentice, guiding a visitor on digging a hole with a mini excavator at the annual Open House. for Operating Engineers in the years ahead.” Local 115’s 40-acre training site, surrounded by forests and mountains at the edge of Greater Vancouver, was an ideal backdrop for a discussion with government officials on the value of training, infrastructure investment and union membership. More than 1,000 people had come to see the heavy equipment, many of them Local 115 members with their spouses, children or grandchildren. Visitors who might be thinking about a career in the trades got the chance to try out a full range of simulators, cranes, and backhoes, or cruise up a dirt road with the operator in a rock truck. “Our training centre is a major asset in building our credibility with political parties’ right and left,” said Cochrane. “We contribute millions of dollars in value to the B.C. economy every year, and we do it with the active support of signatory employers.” “The B.C. Building Trades are an influential force in B.C. public life. The IUOE has been a big part of that, partly due to our commitment to training and workforce development,” said Local 115 Business Manager. On publicly funded projects, the new Provincial Government has committed to Project Labour Agreements which will include opportunities for apprenticeships, and expand union jobs throughout BC. With training activity at the Maple Ridge site expanding steadily over the past 25 years, a growing number of Local 115 members can look back on upgrading their skills here. Local 115 member Brother Randy Grisewood earned B.C.’s first interprovincial journeyman certificate in mobile crane operation when he came to the school in the early 1990s. He is now a trainer and skills assessor. Interviewed at the open house, he said the training centre contributes to union pride as well as union influence. He said the school stands above the community and forprofit colleges because the training is practical and industry-driven. “The benefit of coming here is that you know Local 115 is going to send you to work for their contractors. The Local recruits people who will succeed in their training and on the job. In the mobile crane trade or any heavy equipment trade, you’re almost guaranteed to go from here and get a really good job in the local industry.” “At the IUOE 115 Training Association, we really stress the union advantage,” said Training Administrator Brother Jeff Gorham. “Our contractors are not going to submit the cheapest bid, but our trainee graduates know how to work smarter, work safer and complete the job on time.” “It’s really important to have these types of union-operated facilities,” said Bob d’Eith, a newly-elected NDP MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission, the constituency that takes in the Local 115 training site. “Because the unions are training for the skills we’ll need in the future. I’m really proud to have this facility in my riding in Maple Ridge.” NDP MLA Lisa Beare from Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows brought her own small daughter and her spouse to the event. “It’s so exciting seeing so many families out, and so many kids working with their hands in this beautiful environment,” she said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity, and I thank the Operating Engineers for putting it on.” “B.C. has had one of the strongest economies in Canada in recent years, and that meant jobs for our members,” said Cochrane. “We want that to continue. But we also want the new government to support us in development of the next generation of IUOE skilled craftspeople, invest in building world class infrastructure and creating safer worksites. We know that giving politicians a chance to visit our training site gives them a better understanding of what we bring to the table, and the importance of the work of our membership.” “There will be much work to do in the coming months and years ahead and with a more labour friendly government, the opportunities for IUOE members are looking much brighter.” [above] L to R: Local 115 Training Association Administrator Jeff Gorham; NDP Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Lisa Beare; Local 115 President Wayne Mills; NDP Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Bob d-Eith; and Local 115 Business Manager Brian Cochrane [left] Local 115 Business Representative Josh Towsley, showing a visitor how to work the gears of a little electric excavator. [article & photos] IUOE Local 115 20 INTERNATIONAL OPERATING ENGINEER SUMMER 2017 21

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