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International Operating Engineer - Summer 2018

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The quarterly magazine of the International Union of Operating Engineers

Canadian News Local 115

Canadian News Local 115 Receives Sizeable Federal Government Training Grant at Annual Open House Locals Stand Together During Natural Disasters Members in Alberta and British Columbia pick each other up IUOE LOCAL 115’s Annual Open House is a day when members and their families get to try out the heavy equipment at its training site. This year, there was added excitement, when Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan announced funding to support training for apprentices, including women and indigenous peoples. “We recognize that labour is at the heart of our growing economy,” said Sajjan “and we know that labour is the reason we have a strong middle class in Canada.” The 5,000 grant was matched by Local 115 to purchase a Manitowoc 8500 mobile crane and a Caterpillar 323 excavator. “IT WAS PROBABLY one of the scariest days of my life!” recalls IUOE Local 955 Business Agent Anthony Noseworthy, remembering the wildfires that swept through Fort McMurray in May of 2016. “When I drove through town, there must have been 200 foot flames.” Earlier in the day, there was no sign of any imminent danger when Noseworthy went to his job as a cranes manager at Suncor. Some neighborhoods were on evacuation alerts and a wildfire was burning near town, but the smoke had cleared and it was a beautiful clear, sunny day. With no warning, the winds suddenly shifted and monster flames began devouring the city. By the time it was over, 2,600 homes in Fort McMurray were gutted by fire including some owned by IUOE members. Local 955 Business Manager Chris Flett’s house was among them. “There was no warning. I picked up my kid at school and rushed home to get the dog. We only had a few minutes to get out.” The massive blaze forced the largest wildfire evacuation in Alberta’s history. More than 88,000 people were forced from their homes. Many escaped with only the shirts on their backs. When Flett was allowed to return home, he discovered only the charred remains of his house. Everything he owned was lost in the fire. His insurance paid for the cost of rebuilding, but not everything was covered. IUOE’s International Disaster Relief Fund provided ,000 to Fort McMurray members who lost their homes and Operating Engineers across the country also made significant donations. That led to the creation of a Canadian Disaster Relief Fund. “When we learned that IUOE members were losing their homes during the Fort McMurray wildfires, we knew we had to help,” says Local 115 Business Manager Brian Cochrane. “Local 115 donated 5,000 to Local 955 to help our brothers and sisters get through the crisis.” IUOE Local 115 Business Manager Brian Cochrane said the grant recognizes the value of trades training. “This equipment will ensure training focused on safety and quality, and help us build a skilled and inclusive workforce for the future.” More than 1,500 people turned out to enjoy the Open House – a record for attendance. The training site spans over 40 acres and has more than 25 pieces of equipment to give students a realistic hands-on experience. Three hundred-plus students access training and upgrading annually. The site is considered one of Canada’s leading Heavy Equipment Operator training centres. Fort McMurray was still rebuilding in the summer of 2017, when BC was hit by the worst wildfire season in history. At its peak, 39,000 people were evacuated from their homes and the Province declared a state of emergency. Back in Alberta, IUOE members remembered how Local 115 had supported them during the wildfire crisis. So Noseworthy spearheaded a campaign to help BC members. He passed the hat around at worksites and raised ,500. Their members also signed a jersey and it was presented to Local 115 earlier this year. “We want to thank Local 955 for the donations and the jersey,” said Cochrane. “IUOE really shows its strength in times of crisis and I’m so proud to be a member. This is what our union does -- we’re there for one another when it counts.” [above] Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Local 115 Business Manager Brian Cochrane. Minister Sajjan was on hand to announce the awarding of a federal grant that will help support the Local’s training programs. [left] Mariana Pope and Goretti Guilbault enjoy the annual Open House. Fortunately, Local 115 members did not experience home losses in the BC fires. The ,500 from Local 955 was donated to the Fire Fighter Burn Fund, as some of their members fought fires in Fort McMurray and one was seriously injured in a car crash. [article & photos] IUOE Local 115 [article & photo] IUOE Local 115 12 INTERNATIONAL OPERATING ENGINEER SUMMER 2018 13

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