3 years ago

International Operating Engineer - Summer 2019

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  • Infrastructure
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  • Apprenticeship
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The quarterly magazine of the International Union of Operating Engineers

From the General

From the General President [James T. Callahan] THE SUMMER SEASON is typically when Operating Engineers are the busiest. Construction sites are in overdrive. Kids are out of school and more time is spent with family and friends to take advantage of the pleasant weather. However, I am asking every member to take five minutes out their day to help protect what many of us would agree gave us the opportunity to have the kind of life we enjoy today. Our IUOE Apprenticeship programs. Regulators at the Department of Labor (DOL) are about to change the rules that have governed our apprenticeship programs for decades. The DOL wants to expand apprenticeship programs through an Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP). It creates a parallel track of apprenticeship that no longer maintains the accountability standards of our current programs. For now, the new rule excludes construction, and does not allow the parallel system to exist in the sector, but we need to make sure the exclusion stays in place in the final version of the rule. Anti-union contractors are applying maximum pressure at the DOL to have construction included in the new, less rigorous system. That, coupled with recent changes among DOL leaders that favors employers over workers, is cause for concern. The IUOE invests over 0 million in training each year. IUOE Local Unions sponsor 100 apprenticeship and training programs at 127 training sites. If construction were to be included in the new IRAP system, it would allow greedy contractors to destroy our apprenticeship programs by lowering our standards, cutting corners, and boosting their profits on the backs of their workers. I urge every IUOE member to submit comments to the DOL by August 26, 2019. Tell the DOL to keep the exclusion for construction in the industryrecognized apprenticeship program in the final rule. The International has created a website to assist members in submitting their own comments. More details can be found on the next two pages. Please take action today! Meanwhile, we have seen some positive signs from Congress this summer that they plan to increase federal investments in transportation infrastructure, which is the leading source of job creation for Operating Engineers in the United States. The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee recently passed a new five year, 7 billion bill with a rare unanimous vote. The legislation, America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act (ATIA), would be the most substantial surface transportation law in history. Although it is a far cry from the amount experts estimate we need to get our nation’s roads and bridges rebuilt, and not even close to the trillion in infrastructure investment President Trump and Congressional Leaders agreed to a few months ago, it is a solid step in the right direction. The question of where the money will come from to fund the ATIA and other legislative hurdles remain unanswered and will no doubt be hotly debated. It will take a bipartisan solution to get the measure all the way to the President’s desk for a signature. The bill contains comprehensive Davis-Bacon prevailing wage coverage and will, when enacted, create tens of thousands of jobs for IUOE members. It will remain a top priority for our union for months to come. Looking ahead, IUOE members in Canada have a federal election in October. Unlike in the U.S., the Canadian campaign season is blessedly short, usually lasting only a couple of months. However, that does not make the decision to vote any less consequential. Four years ago, the votes of Operating Engineers and their families helped bring about fundamental change in leadership and the Federal Government’s treatment towards organized labour in Canada. This election is no different. IUOE Locals will work alongside other labour unions to turn out votes for candidates that promote our issues, regardless of political affiliation. To earn our votes they must support basic principles like secure retirement benefits, family-supporting wages, job creation in energy and infrastructure, and mandatory hiring of apprentices on federal projects. I urge every member in every Province to get educated on the candidates’ policy positions, get engaged in your Local’s mobilization efforts, and most of all, get out and vote on October 21. Take a family member or friend along with you. Summer is a busy time on the job, on the highways and at home. Enjoy the long days and take care of each other. Take a minute to appreciate what you have worked so hard for and take another minute to help future IUOE members by supporting our training programs. Work safe. 4 INTERNATIONAL OPERATING ENGINEER SUMMER 2019 5

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