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International Operating Engineer - Winter 2019

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The quarterly magazine of the International Union of Operating Engineers

Healthcare It is Time to

Healthcare It is Time to Get Uncomfortable Program provides resources to assist members IT IS TIME to get uncomfortable about addiction, suicide and behavioral health. These issues are affecting everyone on the jobsite and the Operating Engineers have been in the forefront in addressing the issues with local unions and leadership across the United States and Canada. The statistics are staggering! Shockingly, construction has the second highest rate of substance abuse amongst all workforces (SAMSHA) and is first when it comes to suicide (Shoot, 2018), which ends up being four times the national average. A Member Assistance Program is a peer-to-peer based confidential assistance service. It enables union members to talk to other union members who are trained in peer support to recognize the problem, react to the problem by creating a pathway for the member to seek help, and recommending them to resources, which have been gathered through networking with other organizations by the Local. A peer’s main job is to support the person who is struggling. Research shows that early intervention with a peer when dealing with substance abuse, behavioral health disorders and suicide helps save lives. In May 2018, delegates to the 39th IUOE General Convention passed a resolution to assist and encourage all locals to begin a Member Assistance Program. The International is in the process of designing a four-day course that gives interested members, business agents, and business managers the tools they need to build a Member Assistance Program. Participants will attain the basic knowledge on how to begin a peer program within their home local. Peer-to-peer programs have long been successful in creating the pathways to help struggling people receive the help they need. It is time that we recognize the value that peers have and the benefit that they can provide to those struggling. The first offering of peer training will be April 29th to May 2nd at the IUOE Training & Conference Center in Texas. Please note this course will be offered under the National Training Fund. For more information, contact Kyle Zimmer, kzimmer@ or Ashley Dwyer, Against All Odds Apprenticeship helps operator overcome hardships and find happiness BEFORE STEPHEN JONES found the Operating Engineers, he’d had a rough life. When he was 11 years old, he joined his mother when she decided to leave his father, who struggled with drug abuse, but their financial troubles would result in frequent moves from one home to another. “I didn’t really understand why; I just knew it was time to start packing and meet new friends at a new school,” he said. At 13, Stephen was diagnosed with stage 3 fibrosis of the liver, a severe medical condition that added to the hardship he and his family were experiencing. It also required so much hospitalization that he had to be held back during his eighth-grade year. Then one day in high school, he came home and was told to start packing again. “We stayed in a Motel 6, but the money shortly ran out,” he explained. Member Spotlight [above] Local 3 Operator Stephen Jones works on the University of California at Merced’s 2020 project. [above] A new video and other resources are available to Locals and members in the Substance Abuse Resource Center on the IUOE website. Please vist: Stephen and his mother started sleeping in the back of a van, their many pets nestled between them, while a brother slept in the front. It was a hard time, made harder by the fact that Stephen’s older brother was sent to prison. “I was 15, homeless and my role model had just been sent to prison,” he said. “Devastation started to kick in.” Despite his living conditions, Stephen worked hard so he could graduate high school a year early through an independent study program. He not only achieved his goal, graduating in 2010 instead of 2011, but graduated as valedictorian. “It was the proudest moment of my life!” he said. He decided to go to college in Nebraska, only to discover that he didn’t qualify for financial aid because his father had been using his Social Security number to rack-up debt. With college out of the question, he moved in with his grandmother. He saw a Job Corps commercial while watching television at her house, called the number and was accepted into the program a week later. “To this day, it’s the only commercial for Job Corps that I’ve ever seen!” he said. On his first day of training, a longtime friend committed suicide. The grief was tremendous, but a Job Corps instructor took him aside, encouraged him to stay in the program and prayed for him. With the support of the Job Corps staff, Stephen finished the program in only five months, a process that can take up two years. That prayer on his first day also helped him find faith, which continues to be a source of strength for him, motivating him to help others. ...Continued page 18 16 INTERNATIONAL OPERATING ENGINEER WINTER 2019 17

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