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International Operating Engineer - Summer 2017

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The quarterly magazine of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

International Operating Engineer (ISSN 0020-8159) is published by the: International Union of Operating Engineers, AFL-CIO 1125 17 th Street, NW Washington, DC 20036 Subscription Terms - per year Change of Address - Requests must be submitted in writing to the IUOE Membership Department (address above). Include your new address, registration and local union number. POSTMASTERS – ATTENTION: Change of address on Form 3579 should be sent to: International Operating Engineer Mailing List Dept. 1125 17th St., NW, 3rd Floor Washington, DC 20036 Publications Mail Agreement No. 40843045 Canada Post: Return undeliverables to P.O. Box 2601, 6915 ​Dixie Rd, Mississauga, ON L4T 0A9 Printed in the U.S.A. International Union of Operating Engineers AFL-CIO general officers James T. Callahan, General President Brian E. Hickey, General Secretary-Treasurer Jerry Kalmar, First Vice President Russell E. Burns, Second Vice President James M. Sweeney, Third Vice President Robert T. Heenan, Fourth Vice President Daniel J. McGraw, Fifth Vice President Daren Konopaski, Sixth Vice President Michael Gallagher, Seventh Vice President Greg Lalevee, Eighth Vice President Terrance E. McGowan, Ninth Vice President Louis G. Rasetta, Tenth Vice President Mark Maierle, Eleventh Vice President Randy Griffin, Twelfth Vice President Douglas W. Stockwell, Thirteenth Vice President Ronald J. Sikorski, Fourteenth Vice President Got Big News ? from Your Local trustees Kuba J. Brown, Chairman Bruce Moffatt, Trustee James T. Kunz, Jr., Trustee Joseph F. Shanahan, Trustee Edward J. Curly, Trustee We want to hear about it. International Operating Engineer appreciates the stories and photos we receive from local affiliates throughout North America. Send us your submissions or ideas for stories you would like us to consider. Send your submissions, plus photos (digital images are preferred), to Jay Lederer at, or mail 1125 Seventeenth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20036 From the General President Get Back to the People’s Business Summer in Washington, DC is famous for its sticky heat and humidity. But the hot air being generated by Congress on Capitol Hill these days could set new records. We know that an Operating Engineer worth their salt could harness all that steam and do something productive with it. The problem is there aren’t any Operating Engineers serving in Congress. As we go to press, the Senate is still wrestling with the subject of healthcare. Weeks and months have been wasted while the House and Senate have been spinning their wheels, trying to justify passing a law that would make healthcare unaffordable for tens of millions of Americans. No matter what your political affiliation, this is bad policy. It does not move us forward as a country. It does not create jobs. A large majority oppose it. It’s time to move on. That doesn’t mean we should ignore healthcare. On the contrary, it is vitally important and must be addressed. As Operating Engineers, we know how important high quality, affordable healthcare is to us and our families. Our Health & Welfare programs are such a central benefit in our collective bargaining agreements that we would rather strike than see that coverage diminished. As working people, we also know that healthy workers are productive workers. When we are on the job, we can focus on the work, not worrying about getting quality care for a child or spouse, or how we will afford it. We can feel even better when we are on a job site or in a building where we know those working alongside us are also covered. That should be the goal. As a technical matter, the current healthcare law needs some changes. It can, like so much public policy, be improved. But throwing it out and throwing millions of hard working people into poverty, just because it was passed by a previous President is, in a word, malpractice. Governing out of spite will not put our country or its people on a path to prosperity. Meanwhile, other equally important matters have been kept on the sidelines. During the election, Republicans and Democrats alike made bold promises and equally bold, if vague, policy proposals for a massive investment in infrastructure. Popular by all accounts and critically important to creating jobs and boosting prosperity throughout the country, almost nothing of substance has been done to date. I know you have heard it here before, but it bears repeating. The jobs created through building and repairing our aging transportation, water and energy infrastructure is the lifeblood of our union. Operating Engineers, along with millions of other workers in the building trades, count on these jobs to buy a home, send a kid to college and retire with security and dignity. What little progress we have seen these past six months is a mixed bag. Some positive steps towards streamlining permits and regulations around pipeline and infrastructure projects have moved forward. However, we have also faced attacks on prevailing wages. In the Senate, during committee debate on defense spending, an attempt was made to repeal both Service Contract Act and Davis-Bacon Act prevailing wages. Critically important to both Stationary and construction side Operating Engineers; a bipartisan group of Senators was successful in having the language removed from the spending bill before a vote was held. On the House side, an amendment to weaken Davis-Bacon prevailing wages was also offered in a defense spending [James T. Callahan] bill and was defeated resoundingly by a strong bipartisan vote on the House floor. These victories are a product of Local and International union efforts to have close working relationships with lawmakers from both parties. The bipartisanship on display in these significant, yet behind the scenes instances is exactly what’s missing on the main stage today. It wasn’t very long ago that Congress actually worked together to get big things done, like infrastructure, or Social Security, or even healthcare. It’s time for that kind of action now. We need our elected officials to come out of their trenches and get to work. We need to stop the attacks on working people. We need to strengthen healthcare, not diminish it. We need to get back to work rebuilding this country, from rural to urban and everywhere in-between. I hope you take a minute this summer to call your members of Congress or go see them when they are back home for recess. Tell them we need teamwork and we need to move forward. Tell them we need more Operating Engineers getting the job done out there, or we may need to send some up to Capitol Hill to do something about all that hot air. Have a great summer. Work safe. 4 INTERNATIONAL OPERATING ENGINEER SUMMER 2017 5

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