Officers Looking Forward to Good Year in 2017

On behalf of the officers and staff of IUOE Local 793, I would like to wish all union members and their families a happy and prosperous new year. 2016 was a very busy – and good year – for our union. We successfully completed another union election in accordance with our constitution and I am […]

On behalf of the officers and staff of IUOE Local 793, I would like to wish all union members and their families a happy and prosperous new year.

2016 was a very busy – and good year – for our union.

We successfully completed another union election in accordance with our constitution and I am pleased with the team that the members chose to lead our organization.

I am proud to say that our union continues to grow. We now have about 14,500 members – up from about 8,500 members 10 years ago.

Our pension plan remains healthy. It is earning good returns and now has assets of about $2.4 billion. Because the fund has grown, we plan to invest another $110 million in the OE Infrastructure Fund. The money will be invested in infrastructure projects across North America.

Our life and health benefits plan is also doing well. Over the last year, trustees and I made a number of improvements to the benefits available to active members and retirees.

For a complete list of new benefits, log in to the members section on our website at www.iuoelocal793.org, go to ‘union information’ and click on ‘business manager’s update.’

We are continually striving to make the plan better. In fact, I held the presses on printing the benefit book recently because we came up with another benefit for members and I wanted to make sure it was made known to operators and their families.

In March, trustees will consider starting an online wellness program for members and their families to be overseen by a doctor. As we get older, it is sometimes beneficial to have an expert that can help with diet, nutrition and the efficacy of our prescription drugs. I would like to hear your views on such a program prior to the trustee meeting.

Collective Bargaining

We achieved industry-leading settlements in 2016 on the bargaining front without the need for strike action.

A report by the Ontario Construction Secretariat indicates we had the highest average collective agreement settlement of all trades in the ICI construction sector in 2016.

The average increase over three years for Local 793 operators was 7.3 per cent, or 2.4 per cent a year. The Ontario average was 4.8 per cent over three years, or 1.7 per cent a year.

Click here for more information on the report.

OETIO Expansion

We completed an $11-million renovation at the OETIO campus in Morrisburg in the fall.

The OETIO now has a two-storey dormitory with 70 single-occupancy rooms. A full fitness area complements a gym on site and all the rooms in the dormitory have WiFi. Our members have a modern, state-of-the-art training facility they can be proud of.

We did the project on budget and without taking on any debt or dipping into our reserve fund. The training campus also didn’t lose any student hours as a result of the project.

We’ve also purchased a Liebherr 85 EC-B5 tower crane for the Oakville campus of the OETIO. The crane will enable us to train students in top- and bottom-climbing procedures. We are the only training centre that offers such training on tower cranes.

Click here for photos of the tower crane installation.

Social Media

The executive board has approved a social media policy that was drawn up by staff and outside legal counsel and sets out how members should conduct themselves online.

The policy is aimed at protecting the privacy of Local 793 members.

Click here to view the policy.

Aboriginal Outreach

In 2016, we continued with our outreach programs to Aboriginal communities in Ontario.

I signed a Statement of Partnership with the Chiefs of Ontario, which represent 133 First Nations communities in the province. By signing the document, Local 793, the OETIO and First Nations chiefs have agreed to work collaboratively and get Aboriginal people into pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship, and fee-payer training programs.

Click here for more information on the Statement.

Renewable Energy Alliance

This year, I spearheaded formation of the Renewable Energy Alliance of Ontario, a coalition of employers, labour and industry groups that is calling on the province to renew its commitment to producing energy via a mix of wind, solar, geothermal and hydro projects.

The province has cancelled about $3.8 in green power projects. The coalition submitted a brief to the Ministry of Energy in an effort to convince government that it’s important for Ontario to remain a leader in the investment and development of renewable energy.

Many people think that renewable energy is to blame for high electricity prices but the truth is increased prices are mostly the fault of service charges directly billed to consumers.

We must continue to invest in renewable energy projects and build on the early progress that has been established. Otherwise, Ontario will fall behind the rest of the world.

Click here to learn more about the alliance.

Discount Programs

Local 793 members, active retirees in good standing and family members can now get a discount at GoodLife Fitness locations across the province.

We negotiated a discount that provides for an annual rate per member of $499 plus tax. A membership can also be purchased for ongoing bi-weekly payments of $24 plus tax.

The benefit is available for up to four family members of members or retirees as long as the eligible member is a participant of the local’s program with GoodLife. For information, contact corporateprograms@goodlifefitness.com or call 1-800-287-4631.

Click here to learn more about the discount.

Meanwhile, we distributed cards in the winter issue of Making Tracks that give Local 793 members, retirees and family members a 10-per-cent discount at Mark’s Work Warehouse.

Within a few weeks, I will also be announcing a new home and auto insurance program with TD Meloche Monnex.

Future Plans

As for the future, the officers and I will not be resting on our laurels.

In 2019 our union will celebrate its 100th anniversary and I intend to keep us moving forward.

A challenge is to ensure that new leaders are being groomed to fill vacancies created by retirements. It is imperative that we hire good people, train them properly and provide them with the knowledge they need to succeed. That is something we are doing now.

I want to make sure that those who are moving into leadership positions are passionate about the union. When I hire people, I seek people who are true believers in the labour movement. I want to make sure they are the right people to represent the good members that we have.

I plan to hire a dozen more organizers over the next three years, bringing the number to 22. That will be the most perhaps of any IUOE local in North America.

I also plan to increase training opportunities and bring the benefits of unionization to the far north and Nunavut.

We are the largest IUOE local in Canada but I see no reason why we can’t be the largest in North America.

We still have non-union contractors out there and workers who are not unionized so we must organize and bring them into the fold.

I also want to double the size of our banquet hall in Oakville. Presently, it can hold about 500 people but I want capacity for 1,000 so we can hold our 100th anniversary celebration in the hall.

I also plan to build a 40- to 50-room residence for students at the training campus in Oakville so our students can remain on campus instead of having to stay in nearby hotels.

In 2017, the officers and I intend to keep the momentum going. I look forward to reporting on the progress of our plans at future monthly and general membership meetings.

Again, all the best in the New Year.

Fraternally Yours,

 

Mike Gallagher
Business Manager
IUOE Local 793

 

Holiday Office Hours

Please be advised that all Local 793 offices will be closed the week of December 26 to 30, 2016 and will reopen on Tuesday January 3, 2017. Following is the schedule for all Local 793 offices over the holiday season: Friday, December 23, 2016 – (Half Day) 8:30 a.m. to Noon Monday, December 26 – Closed […]

Please be advised that all Local 793 offices will be closed the week of December 26 to 30, 2016 and will reopen on Tuesday January 3, 2017.

Following is the schedule for all Local 793 offices over the holiday season:

  • Friday, December 23, 2016 – (Half Day) 8:30 a.m. to Noon
  • Monday, December 26 – Closed
  • Tuesday, December 27 – Closed
  • Wednesday, December 28 – Closed
  • Thursday, December 29 – Closed
  • Friday, December 30 – Closed
  • Monday, Jan. 2, 2017 – Closed
  • Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017 – (Normal Office Hours) 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Season’s Greetings from Business Manager Gallagher

On behalf of the officers and staff of IUOE Local 793, I would like to wish all union members and their families a joyous holiday season. Christmas is a time for relaxing with family and friends, remembering the past and hoping for the future. I encourage all members to take some time during the Yuletide […]

On behalf of the officers and staff of IUOE Local 793, I would like to wish all union members and their families a joyous holiday season.

Christmas is a time for relaxing with family and friends, remembering the past and hoping for the future.

I encourage all members to take some time during the Yuletide season to spend time with their loved ones.

Personally, I would like to thank all members for the support you have given the officers and I in 2016. We had a very good year. We achieved industry-leading collective bargaining settlements, our pension plan is healthy and our finances are in good shape.

We are looking forward to a prosperous 2017.

I hope that this holiday season brings you and your families plenty of joy and good times.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

Fraternally Yours,

mike-signature

 

 

Mike Gallagher
Business Manager
IUOE Local 793

Holiday Season Meeting Schedule Changes

Please be advised that several monthly district meetings have been cancelled in December due to their proximity to Christmas. Meetings in London, Hamilton, North Bay, Sarnia, Belleville and Ottawa are cancelled in December and will resume at normal dates in January. Following is a list of meeting locations, dates and times: TIMMINS 54 Waterloo Rd., Unit […]

Please be advised that several monthly district meetings have been cancelled in December due to their proximity to Christmas.

Meetings in London, Hamilton, North Bay, Sarnia, Belleville and Ottawa are cancelled in December and will resume at normal dates in January.

Following is a list of meeting locations, dates and times:

TIMMINS
54 Waterloo Rd., Unit 2, Timmins, 7:30 p.m., 1st Wednesday of the month.

OSHAWA
1255 Terwillegar Ave., Unit 7, Oshawa, 7 p.m., 1st Thursday of the month.  

THUNDER BAY*
107 Johnson Ave., Boardroom, Thunder Bay, 8 p.m., 1st Thursday of the month.

ST. CATHARINES*
188 Bunting Rd., Unit 5, St. Catharines, 7:30 p.m., 2nd Tuesday of the month.

WINDSOR*
3383 Walker Rd., Windsor, 7 p.m., 2nd Tuesday of the month.

SAULT STE. MARIE*
432 Great Northern Rd., Suite 203, Sault Ste. Marie, 7:30 p.m., 2nd Wednesday of the month.

KITCHENER*
100 Sheldon Dr., Unit 10, Cambridge, 7:30 p.m., 2nd Wednesday of the month.

SUDBURY*
430 Westmount Ave., Unit H, Sudbury, 8 p.m., 3rd Tuesday of the month.

TORONTO*
2245 Speers Rd., Oakville, 7:30 p.m., 3rd Wednesday of the month.

BELLEVILLE*
1 Millennium Parkway, Suite 102, Belleville, 7 p.m., 4th Tuesday of the month.

LONDON*
523 First St., London, 7 p.m., 4th Tuesday of the month.

HAMILTON*
35 Goderich Rd., Unit 5, Hamilton, 7:30 p.m., 4th Wednesday of the month.

OTTAWA*
Best Western Plus, 1274 Carling Ave., 7 p.m., 4th Wednesday of the month.

NORTH BAY
Voyager Inn, Greenery Room, 123 Delaware Ave., North Bay, 7:30 p.m., 4th Wednesday of the month.

BARRIE*
240 Bayview Drive, Unit 12, Barrie, 7:30 p.m., 4th Thursday of the month.

SARNIA*
1390A Lougar Ave., Sarnia, 7 p.m., 4th Thursday of the month.

Alliance Presents Brief to Ministry of Energy

The Renewable Energy Alliance of Ontario (REAO), which includes Local 793 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, is calling on the province to renew its commitment to producing energy via a mix of wind, solar, geothermal and hydro projects. “Now is the time to invest in renewable energy, not just because of popular support […]

The Renewable Energy Alliance of Ontario (REAO), which includes Local 793 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, is calling on the province to renew its commitment to producing energy via a mix of wind, solar, geothermal and hydro projects.

“Now is the time to invest in renewable energy, not just because of popular support – but because it has never been cheaper,” the Alliance said in a brief presented to the Ministry of Energy on Dec. 14. “Now is the golden opportunity to demonstrate consistent and ongoing support for the renewable energy and clean technology industry.”

The 16-page brief explains in detail why the province must continue to be a world leader when it comes to the investment and development of renewable energy technology.

The Alliance is making five recommendations to the Ministry of Energy. Among the suggestions, it wants the province to commit to a 10-year target of a 50-per-cent renewable energy supply mix that includes wind, solar, geothermal and hydro power.

The brief was submitted to the Ministry of Energy because it is in the process of reviewing the province’s Long Term Energy Plan. A new plan will likely be rolled out in spring.

The brief notes that Ontario needs to support more renewable energy and build on the early progress that has been established.

It also states that renewable energy use continues to increase rapidly around the world and Ontario could be a key player in supplying demand across North America and globally.

The REAO is a broad coalition of employers, labour and industry groups dedicated to working with the Ontario government to ensure renewable energy continues to play a vital role in Ontario’s energy mix. In addition to Local 793, membership includes

  • Laborers’ International Union of North America
  • The Ontario Crane Rental Association
  • The Canadian Wind Energy Association
  • The Canadian Solar Industries Association
  • The Aboriginal Apprenticeship Board of Ontario
  • Rankin Construction
  • Pumpcrete
  • Surespan Wind Energy

The REAO has an online portal set up where members can email letters of support for renewable energy projects to their MPPs. Click here to go to the portal. As of Dec. 14, 194 emails had been sent to 71 different MPPs.

A Facebook page has also been set up by the REAO. Click here to go to the page.

The REAO is concerned about the renewable energy sector because the province announced recently that it plans to scrap $3.8 billion in future wind, solar and biomass projects under the Large Renewable Procurement 2, also known as the LRP2 program.

The brief notes that, with the passage of the Green Energy and Green Economy Act and phase-out of coal-fired electricity generation, Ontarians were pleased to see their government roll out an ambitious effort to develop a renewable energy industry.

By phasing out coal, Ontario undertook the most significant environmental act in North America – the equivalent of taking seven million cars off the road, cutting smog days and creating cleaner air, the brief states.

Nevertheless, the brief states, the future of Ontario’s renewable energy industry is uncertain.

The province is behind schedule on its 2013 Long Term Energy Plan forecast target of a 46-per-cent renewable energy mix by 2025 and has fallen behind other provinces, especially Alberta and Saskatchewan, which both recently announced renewables targets of 30 and 50 per cent, respectively, by 2030, the brief states.

Despite routine public attacks orchestrated by proponents of non-renewable energy sources, the brief states that renewable energy remains popular amongst Ontarians.

According to a recent EKOS Poll, more than 80 per cent of Ontarians say they would like to see their province generating more power from renewable sources.

Wind energy costs 61 per cent less than it did in 2009 while the cost of utility-scale solar projects are down 82 per cent, the brief states.

The brief notes that Ontarians deserve an honest, fact-based conversation about renewable energy and a government that fights back against a constant barrage of myths and half-truths.

One myth, states the brief, is that renewable energy is to blame for high electricity prices while the truth is increased prices are mostly the fault of service charges directly billed to consumers.

A second myth is that Ontario has too much electricity and pays other jurisdictions to take our excess supply. The truth is that as Ontario grows, our demand for energy is growing too.

The Conference Board of Canada estimates that $347 billion in investment in Canada’s electricity system is needed between now and 2030.

The brief states that investments in renewable energy projects have yielded enormous benefits for Ontario, both economic and otherwise.

Nearly $12 billion worth of investments have flowed from both the wind and solar power industries, leading to the creation of at least 180,000 net new jobs from these two industries alone.

As of early 2016, the brief states, about 600 projects with indigenous participation were under way or in development.

For example, the Aamjiwnaang First Nation from the Sarnia area and the Bkejwanong First Nations from Walpole Island are partnering with Northland Power to develop a 100-megawatt wind power project along Lake Huron near Grand Bend.

The brief states that investments have expanded the tax base at a crucial time for governments, with municipalities alone receiving close to $2 billion in revenues in the form of land lease payments, municipal property taxes, and community vibrancy funds.

The investments have also led to the development of a sophis­ticated renewable energy supply chain for the province, the brief states. For example, steel manufactured in Sault Ste. Marie is used to fabricate wind turbine towers in Windsor, solar panels manufactured in Guelph are mounted on steel frames built in Toronto, and wind turbine blades made in Tillsonburg are installed on turbines throughout the province.

The brief states that wind energy is becoming the lowest-cost option for new electricity supply in most Canadian provinces.

Ontario recently procured new wind supply as low as 6.5 cents per kilowatt-hour (or $65 per megawatt hour), which compares very favourably against an average electricity supply cost of 11.14 cents per kilowatt-hour as of May 1, 2016.

The supply of renewable energy is infinite, the brief states, because once a wind farm or solar generating station is built, the price of electricity it produces is set and remains at a relatively steady level for the entire life of the project.

The brief states that Ontario cannot ignore the social and economic opportunities that are being unleashed by relevant energy efficiency policies and measures around the world.

“To do so is to be left behind as jurisdictions like China make massive productivity gains and discover new levels of social wellbeing.”

Following are the recommendations of the REAO:

  • Commit to a 10-year target of a 50-per-cent renewable energy supply mix including wind, solar, geothermal and hydro power. This will help sustain local demand for renewable energy and give renewable energy manufacturers and installers assurance they need to keep their operations active in Ontario.
  • Solidify Ontario’s domestic market for renewable energy. Building on prior successes, Ontario must develop a strategy aimed at enabling exports of both renewable energy related manufactured components as well as the electricity generated from renewable energy sources in order to take advantage of the need for non-emitting renewable energy in neighbouring jurisdictions with renewable energy targets they are unable to supply for themselves.
  • Maintain low levels of greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector even in the face of potential risks to supply/demand and increased electrification of other sectors of the economy.
  • Ensure a robust and competitive bid process for non-emitting resources to secure lowest cost of power while managing greenhouse gas emissions. It is unclear how existing and future generations will commercially operate once contracts have expired. The mechanisms that will be used in the future to help ensure Ontario has adequate resource capacity is just as important as pre-defining Ontario’s future supply mix based on policy objectives of affordable, non-emitting and reliable resources.
  • Follow through on the commitment to create a robust solar net metering regulatory framework that encourages cost efficiencies, customer choice and innovative business models to transition away from the FIT Program effectively.

Operating Engineers Encouraged to Send Letters

A campaign that was launched by Canadian IUOE locals to promote Operating Engineers working in the pipeline industry is expanding its online presence. A French-language version of the #Ready2Work campaign website is now up and running and a Facebook page has also been launched. The main website of the campaign is here. The French language […]

A campaign that was launched by Canadian IUOE locals to promote Operating Engineers working in the pipeline industry is expanding its online presence.

A French-language version of the #Ready2Work campaign website is now up and running and a Facebook page has also been launched.

The main website of the campaign is here.

The French language site is here.

The Facebook page is here.

The campaign is funded by all IUOE locals in Canada that have members working in the pipeline industry.

Operating Engineers are being encouraged to take the time to fill out and send a ‘thank you’ letter to their MPs for the federal government’s approval of two major pipeline projects. The letters are prepared and online and can be found here.

The Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project from Hardisty, Alberta, to Superior, Wisconsin, and the Kinder Morgan TransMountain Expansion project from Edmonton to Vancouver, are expected to create thousands of construction jobs.

The government will be in receipt of no shortage of negative feedback about pipelines from a vocal minority and the IUOE locals feel it is critical to show there are lots of Canadians who support these decisions. 

Beyond their economic benefits, pipelines are the most environmentally friendly way of transporting oil. 99.999 per cent of crude oil moved by pipeline arrives safely at its destination. They are safe for our environment and safe for our communities.

Defence Assessments Due for 2017

Local 793 members are being reminded to make sure their defence assessments are up to date. The annual assessment is $30. Payments for 2017 are due by the end of 2016. Members can make payments in several ways. For example: Members can pay business representatives. Members can make payments in person at head office or […]

Local 793 members are being reminded to make sure their defence assessments are up to date.

The annual assessment is $30.

Payments for 2017 are due by the end of 2016.

Members can make payments in several ways. For example:

  • Members can pay business representatives.
  • Members can make payments in person at head office or any district office. Payments must be made by credit card, debit or cheque. Offices do not accept cash.
  • Members can login to the members section of the union website at www.iuoelocal793.org and make a payment.
  • Members can mail payments to head office at 2245 Speers Road, Oakville, Ont., L6L 6X8.

When mailing a payment, please ensure it is marked on the envelope as a defence assessment payment. The cheque should be made payable to IUOE Local 793.

The fund provides money for the “defence of actions commenced in labour disputes against the local, its officers or members,” according to the bylaws.

The fund is administered by a committee comprised of the business manager, president, recording-corresponding secretary, one other officer selected by the executive board, and five other members who represent different regions of the province as determined by the executive board.

Money in the fund is used to help defray costs incurred by the union as a result of a labour dispute, including strikes or lockouts, and any legal and other fees and expenses incurred in the defence of interests of Local 793.

The account of the defence fund is audited annually by a chartered accountant.

Local 793 is Tops in 2016 Settlements

Local 793 Operating Engineers had the highest average collective agreement settlement of all trades in the industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) construction sector in 2016. A preliminary analysis of 2016 collective bargaining settlements by the Ontario Construction Secretariat indicates that of 25 trades in the ICI sector, Local 793 fared best. The average increase over three […]

Local 793 Operating Engineers had the highest average collective agreement settlement of all trades in the industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) construction sector in 2016.

A preliminary analysis of 2016 collective bargaining settlements by the Ontario Construction Secretariat indicates that of 25 trades in the ICI sector, Local 793 fared best.

The average increase over three years for Local 793 operators was 7.3 per cent, or 2.4 per cent a year. The figures are based on settlements involving five categories of operators in the ICI sector.

The Ontario average was 4.8 per cent over three years, or 1.7 per cent a year.

The average for trades in Toronto was 5.4 per cent over three years, or 1.8 per cent a year, while the average for trades in the rest of Ontario was 4.7 per cent over three years, or 1.6 per cent a year.

As for individual trades, the Steeplejack and Sprinkler Fitters were second on the list with average increases of 6.7 per cent over three years, or 2.2 per cent a year.

Third on the list were Electrical and Elevator workers with average increases of 6.5 per cent over three years, or 2.2 per cent a year.

The average increase for Labourers over three years was 4.1 per cent, or 1.4 per cent a year.

Increases over three years sometimes do not exactly match the annual numbers because figures have been rounded off.

OCS director of research Katherine Jacobs noted in the analysis that the figures for each trade are calculated by gathering the total wage packages for each local and averaging them.

Changes to Bill 70 Supported by Local 793

Following is a press release issued by Local 793 regarding Bill 70. CONSTRUCTION UNION APPLAUDS PROPOSED CHANGES TO BILL 70 OAKVILLE — Mike Gallagher, business manager of Local 793 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, says he fully supports amendments being proposed by the Ontario government to Schedule 17 of Bill 70. “The government […]

Following is a press release issued by Local 793 regarding Bill 70.

CONSTRUCTION UNION APPLAUDS PROPOSED CHANGES TO BILL 70

OAKVILLE — Mike Gallagher, business manager of Local 793 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, says he fully supports amendments being proposed by the Ontario government to Schedule 17 of Bill 70.

“The government is recommending changes that will make Bill 70 better for all the trades and the public,” he said. “The changes will address concerns that had been raised by industry stakeholders and go a long way towards improving the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act.”

Gallagher and representatives of the union had met with Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn and ministry staff to discuss the Bill, as well as language in the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act that will protect and promote the trades in Ontario.

The union is pleased that amendments being proposed require the Ontario Labour Relations Board to recognize and give consideration to the duty to protect the interests of the public and “objects” or core responsibilities of the College of Trades when reviewing decisions made by College inspectors.

“These changes are important because they will ensure that the original vision of the College of Trades is maintained,” said Gallagher. “Going forward, inspectors from the College of Trades will have the tools to maintain professional standards and ensure the public is adequately protected.”

Gallagher said Local 793 was in a good position to work with the government on this because the union represents operators in compulsory trades like tower and mobile cranes, as well as voluntary trades such as concrete pumps, excavator, dozer and tractor-loader-backhoe vocations.

“It was important to balance the interests of both certified and non-compulsory trades,” said Gallagher. “These proactive changes will go a long way towards making the Bill better for all trades.”

The amendments will be presented Dec. 6 to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.

Local 793 of the International Union of Operating Engineers represents more than 14,500 highly skilled crane and heavy equipment operators across Ontario. The union has a head office, banquet hall and training campus in Oakville, and another training campus in Morrisburg.

For additional information contact:
Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher
905-469-9299, ext. 2202

Hundreds Attend Local 793 Dinner Dance

Local 793 has faced many challenges over the years but has managed to overcome them and continues to grow, business manager Mike Gallagher said in a speech to more than 500 people attending a dinner dance in the union’s banquet hall Dec. 3 in Oakville. “We have had some bumps along the way and that’s […]

Local 793 has faced many challenges over the years but has managed to overcome them and continues to grow, business manager Mike Gallagher said in a speech to more than 500 people attending a dinner dance in the union’s banquet hall Dec. 3 in Oakville.

“We have had some bumps along the way and that’s life,” he said. “It’s happened with our organization but I can say we came through it quite nicely.

“If you take a look at where we are right now as an organization, we’re over 14,500 members, which is up 7,000 members from 10 years ago.”

Gallagher noted that pension plan assets are close to $2.4 billion and the fund is doing well in tough markets.

“It’s difficult now for all pension plans out there because of the low interest rates. But I’m happy to tell you that the performance of our pension plan year-to-date is 8.1 per cent.”

He said the union is also leading the way in training and is presently erecting a Liebherr 85 EC-B5 tower crane at the Oakville campus of the OETIO, which will enable students to be trained in top- and bottom-climbing procedures.

Oakville is the only training centre that offers top- and bottom-climbing training on tower cranes.

Meanwhile, Gallagher said, the local is now a very respected and strong organization and pension plan trustees have been able to build the fund despite some very rough seas, including one years when the fund lost 19 per cent of its value.

“You can imagine what it felt like to be business manager or a pension trustee that year,” he said. “It didn’t feel very good at all and we thought it was the end of the world.

“But we regrouped, we made some changes, we diversified, we changed our actuary and went around the province convincing members that we had a very strong plan.

Going forward, Gallagher noted the union will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019 and one of the plans is to double the size of the present banquet hall.

“We’ve got 500-plus people in here right now and by the time we get to 2019 we are going to be able to get 1,000 people in this hall. I don’t want to have to turn anybody away.”

Gallagher also said he also wants to build a 40- to 50-room residence for students at the training campus in Oakville. Presently, they stay at nearby hotels.

He said the union also plans to hire 12 more organizers in the coming years. Presently, there are 11.

Gallagher said Local 793 is now the largest IUOE local in Canada but he plans to continue growing the union.

“I see no reason to stop there. One day we will be the biggest local in North America, never mind just in Canada. There’s no reason we can’t have a bigger local than California or New York or anywhere else.

“Why would we have non-union contractors and workers out there competing with our members for jobs and driving wages down when we can go out and organize and bring them into this great organization and move the yardstick further down the field for all of us?”

Gallagher said he will continue to look for ways to improve the benefit plan.

“I think we have one of the leading benefit plans among all the building trades right now and I want to still make it better. We’re taking money in through negotiations so that we can give it back to the members and to their families.”

One of the challenges facing the union, said Gallagher, is ensuring that new leaders are being groomed to fill vacancies created by retirements.

“It’s very important that we hire good people, that we train them and that we impart knowledge before people leave,” he said. “That is what we are concentrating on now.”

Gallagher said he wants to ensure that those who are moving into leadership positions are passionate about the union.

“I want them to be a true believer in the labour movement like I am. I want them to be honest. I want them to be trustworthy. I want them to make sure that the things that they do and every waking moment that they have is about how they represent the good members that we have.”

Gallagher also spoke at length about the state of labour in the U.S. as a result of the election of Donald Trump for president.

“It’s brand new territory for the world, it’s brand new territory for Canada and the relationship that we have with the United States,” he said.

Gallagher said Trump has said a lot of things, including that he would scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement and build a southern wall and make Mexico pay for it.

“I got thinking about that,” he joked, “and I thought, ‘You know what, maybe we should build a wall.’ It would put a lot of us to work. We could build a great big wall between us and the U.S. I’m sure there would be a lot of union jobs there and we could make sure we keep Trump and the rest of them out of Canada because we like Canada just the way it is.”

Gallagher said a lot of working people in states in the northeastern U.S. voted for Trump because they were sick and tired of being controlled by the big banks and seeing their jobs being lost to other countries and were looking for a solution to the problem.

Unfortunately, he said, the solution that Americans picked is the wrong one.

One of the first things Trump is going to do, Gallagher said is bring in federal right-to-work legislation.

“That’s what you’re going to see over the next four years. They’re going to move to put a Conservative judge on the Supreme Court because there’s a vacancy there and they’re going to move to undermine freedom of association and freedom of being in a trade union movement by bringing in right-to-work.”

Such a move would undermine unions and destroy the labour movement, Gallagher said.

“Unfortunately, the working people in America have elected the worst possible person if they wanted somebody to look after their interests.”

Gallagher said Canada and the U.S. have never been more different than they are right now.

“Hopefully, in four years they’ll have a change and change direction. Let’s hope that Donald Trump doesn’t drag them into some kind of foreign war or some other problem.”

Gallagher said Canadians, however, must continue to build the “just society” that former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau spoke of many years ago.

“The union movement in America is going to be on life support and our job here in Canada is to keep it alive,” he said. “We’ve got to keep on fighting and doing what we’ve done and keep electing progressive governments like we have done with Justin Trudeau.

“We have to continue to fight for the right to be union because every free democracy in the world has a free trade union movement.”

Gallagher said Canada must continue on the present path.

“It’s incumbent on us for our children and our grandchildren to make sure that it stays that way, to make sure that we don’t listen to the seductive lies and propaganda and whatnot that’s put out there to convince us to sell what is most dear to us.

“I think that’s something that our labour movement in Canada, including myself and yourselves, need to pay very, very close attention to in the time ahead.”

Gallagher also noted that assistant business manager and union treasurer Alex Law will be retiring at the end of the year.

He said Law did a great job as area supervisor for South Central Ontario for many years and more recently as assistant business manager.

Law was a great help in providing insight into the crane rental sector, he said, and, in the last round of bargaining, helping to negotiate a Provincial Collective Agreement that gave Operating Engineers the highest settlement of any of the trades.

“He is one of the most dedicated people that I have ever met and I’ve been around for 30 years in the labour movement now,” Gallagher said. “Alex here has been supporting me and I’m very, very grateful for that. He will be hard to replace.

“As much as I’d like to talk him out of retirement, the respect that I have for him prevents me from doing that because I understand the toll that this job takes. It’s 24, seven, it never stops.”

Law said he is planning on spending a lot of time with his grandchildren

“That’s going to be my hobby.”

He thanked business manager Gallagher, the executive board and union members, and said he’s proud of what the local has accomplished since he started in 1976.

“There wasn’t even a pension at that time,” he said. “We’ve come a long, long way.”

Also at the dance, a cheque for $88,804 was presented to Irene Salvani of the Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation for research into esophageal cancer. The money was raised at the Gary O’Neill Memorial Golf Tournament held this past summer.