Ontario is home to half of the top ten largest construction project starts in Canada – August

Ontario was home to 50 per cent of the top ten largest construction project starts across Canada in August, according to research conducted by ConstructConnect’s Insight Forecast. Four of those projects are in the Greater Toronto Area, and the other in Milton. These five projects alone are valued at a combined $520 million. Source: https://canada.constructconnect.com/dcn/news/economic/2021/09/top-10-largest-construction-project-starts-in-canada-and-trend-graph-august-2021

Ontario was home to 50 per cent of the top ten largest construction project starts across Canada in August, according to research conducted by ConstructConnect’s Insight Forecast. Four of those projects are in the Greater Toronto Area, and the other in Milton. These five projects alone are valued at a combined $520 million.

Source: https://canada.constructconnect.com/dcn/news/economic/2021/09/top-10-largest-construction-project-starts-in-canada-and-trend-graph-august-2021

Take time to educate yourself and your family on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

On National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Local 793 encourages members to take time to acknowledge and reflect on the painful history of residential schools in Canada, and how we can support the communities still grieving. Educating yourself and your family on the experiences of residential school students, and their history is one way to […]

On National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Local 793 encourages members to take time to acknowledge and reflect on the painful history of residential schools in Canada, and how we can support the communities still grieving. Educating yourself and your family on the experiences of residential school students, and their history is one way to support them.

Multimedia

Educate yourself and your family

Business Manager Mike Gallagher reflects on the past and is optimistic about the future

Good evening, As it’s my 60th birthday today I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. First, thank you to all the members and staff sending me birthday wishes! Also, happy ‘co-birthday’ wishes to former business manager, brother Joe Kennedy who is 95 today! Joe hired me when I was a 26-year-old idealistic young man and gave me […]

Good evening,

As it’s my 60th birthday today I’m feeling a bit nostalgic.

First, thank you to all the members and staff sending me birthday wishes!

Also, happy ‘co-birthday’ wishes to former business manager, brother Joe Kennedy who is 95 today! Joe hired me when I was a 26-year-old idealistic young man and gave me a chance. Thanks Joe!

It’s also brother Brad Sisler’s birthday from Sarnia who is the local’s conductor. Have a great day Brad!

On staff in our communications department, we have Danny Celia. Happy birthday to Danny. Thanks for your dedication and hard work.

To members and your families, I want to just thank you for your support of the local and your support of me. We may disagree with each other from time to time but, as in any family, the ties that bind us together keep our faith in one another. I promise you I have never taken your support for me and my team for granted. We have been through a lot together and have grown stronger perhaps not in spite of our challenges but because of them. We have forged together an indestructible solid organization that at its core puts the welfare of our membership first. We must never lose this core value no matter what’s thrown at us!

When I started my career with Local 793 as a young man, I believed that we were without a shadow of a doubt, “the best damn trade union in the world!” Now the world is a much bigger place but nothing over my 34 years on staff has led me to change my mind on this belief. We must bring passion and unbendable will to our struggle as part of a broader labour community seeking justice and prosperity for working families. In the words of the founder of the American Federation of Labor, Samuel Gompers, in 1893 he answered the question of what labour unions want: “We want more school houses and less jails; more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more constant work and less crime; more leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge; in fact, more of the opportunities to cultivate our better natures, to make manhood more noble, womanhood more beautiful and childhood more happy and bright…”

Even when we have had crises, we never faltered or divided against one another. We have stood united and faced every obstacle. For example, we overcame all the difficult times under International supervision in the mid 90s, and succeeded in all of our three major provincial strikes when some employers mistakenly thought that a divide and conquer strategy against members on issues like seniority and hours of work/overtime would work – they were wrong and completely underestimated the solidarity of our membership.

Instead, we survived and indeed grew in numbers and strength through organizing the non-union and focusing on skills training, especially during the anti-union government years of PC Premier Mike Harris. Local 793 made a significant commitment to defeating the Tory government – in dollars, time and effort. Former Local 793 president Gary O’Neill showed his leadership and chaired the Working Families Coalition, a union-backed campaign to keep the Progressive Conservatives out of power in Ontario. In the end, the Working Families Coalition was victorious. The Tories lost the election and Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals gained power.

We were confronted severely when a pension reduction became necessary in January 2006. I asked you then to trust us to fix and strengthen the pension plan and we delivered. In 2012, I marched in the Sarnia Labour Day Parade. At the picnic at the Sarnia Hall, I got a plate of food and was sitting on my own and the late Johnny Johnson came over and sat beside me. He was at the mic a lot during the marathon pension hearing we had. Brother Johnny Johnson, noting that the pension plan had recovered and we had reversed the reduction, told me I had kept my word to the members that evening. I was certainly grateful for the compliment. Perhaps there is a lesson in that for today. At the foundation, we are proud members of a great union. As in any family we have our disagreements, but we must see beyond those differences.

In all our challenges, we still moved onward together. We organized and brought in new members to add to our power, strengthened our training abilities, improved our benefit plan, built a new head office in Oakville, fought to improve our work jurisdiction and gained respect of other trades who saw that we would not roll over.

We expanded our territory into Nunavut and had our charter amended and began to organize in the mining sector. As a result, a few short years ago we welcomed over 900 new members from Baffinland’s iron ore mine on Baffin Island, Nunavut. We welcomed these brothers and sisters, many of whom are Inuit from the northern communities, into our 793 family and pledged to fight alongside them to improve their lives and those of their families.

As a Union, we have faced many struggles. Now as a nation, we face a moment of truth following the discoveries of hundreds of unmarked graves at former residential schools for Indigenous children in Canada. Monday marked the beginning of Truth and Reconciliation Week, and Thursday is the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a new federal statutory holiday. To mark the occasion, the Canadian and Union flags at our head office are being flown at half-mast this week.

Unfortunately, the Ford government has failed to recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This means that all Ontarians won’t get the day off tomorrow to have the full opportunity to reflect, to respect, and to learn on the meaning of this day. This is shameful.

Nunavut will recognize the day as a statutory holiday beginning in 2022.

We pledge to do our best in the upcoming round of negotiations to include language in all of our collective agreements so that all new federal and provincial holidays are automatically recognized as a day off for members.

It was recently announced that Canada’s Roman Catholic bishops will provide funding of $30 million to address the trauma caused by residential schools. The move comes after the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops apologized to Indigenous people for the suffering they endured in Canada’s residential schools – most of which were run by the Catholic Church. This is a step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done.

Now together, we face perhaps our biggest challenge yet – the COVID-19 pandemic. It is ongoing but we must face up to it with the same internal fortitude and solidarity that we met all our other problems with throughout our history.

Lately, I’m making some tough decisions due to misinformation on the internet and social media regarding COVID-19 that is, in my view, poisoning some of our members’ trust of medical science.

It’s unsettling to see how divisive and politicized the simple protection of wearing a mask and getting a vaccine shot has become. We will continue to do our best to educate members to do the right thing and follow public health advice, while keeping in place necessary measures to ensure staff and student safety at our facilities. When this pandemic is finally over we will put our differences aside and extend our hands in friendship and solidarity once again.

We will persevere through this pandemic together and become stronger than ever!  We will continue to improve the lives of members and their families and pave the way for the next generation of Local 793 members.

So today, at age 60, I’m reflective of our past and optimistic about the future. But more, I’m grateful to be alongside of all of you in the best damn trade union in the world.

Thank you.

In Solidarity,

Mike Gallagher
Business Manager

Local 793 honours National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

IUOE Local 793 acknowledges the observance of Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation coincides with Orange Shirt Day, a way of raising awareness of the tragic legacy of residential schools and honouring the survivors.  National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is not a day of celebration […]

IUOE Local 793 acknowledges the observance of Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation coincides with Orange Shirt Day, a way of raising awareness of the tragic legacy of residential schools and honouring the survivors.  National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is not a day of celebration but a day to honour the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities.

The day directly responds to one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) “Calls to Action” and an important step in the reconciliation process and rebuilding Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples.

As part of rebuilding relationships with Indigenous peoples, Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) is making a donation to the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund, which aims to build cultural understanding and create a path toward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Members are called on to mark the day by wearing orange to raise awareness of the tragic legacy of residential schools and to honour the thousands of survivors. Every child deserves to feel appreciated, supported and listened to. Above all, every child deserves to feel hopeful about their future.

Related links:

Government of Canada National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/national-day-truth-reconciliation.html

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR): https://nctr.ca

Orange Shirt Day: https://www.orangeshirtday.org/ 

Downie & Wenjack Fund: https://downiewenjack.ca/

About the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1450124405592/1529106060525

Explore the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences and histories of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples: https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1621447127773/1621447157184

Science Advisory Table: Unvaccinated people are 60 times higher risk of ICU admission

The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table released its latest projections on COVID-19 and is cautiously optimistic about the state of the pandemic in the province. Data continues to show that unvaccinated people continue to make up the majority of cases, hospitalizations and intensive care admissions (see photo below). Those who aren’t immunized against the virus […]

The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table released its latest projections on COVID-19 and is cautiously optimistic about the state of the pandemic in the province.

Data continues to show that unvaccinated people continue to make up the majority of cases, hospitalizations and intensive care admissions (see photo below). Those who aren’t immunized against the virus have a seven-fold higher risk of experiencing symptoms from a COVID-19 infection, 25-fold higher risk of being hospitalized with the virus and 60-fold higher risk of being admitted to intensive care.

Source: https://covid19-sciencetable.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Update-on-COVID-19-Projections_2021.09.28_English-2.pdf

Members staying busy on Scarborough Subway Extension Project

The Ontario government has issued a request for qualifications for the Scarborough Subway Extension project in Toronto, which would aid Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx in selecting a development partner for the second of two contracts for this project. This marks the latest step in the $5.5 billion project that is expected to keep Local 793 […]

The Ontario government has issued a request for qualifications for the Scarborough Subway Extension project in Toronto, which would aid Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx in selecting a development partner for the second of two contracts for this project. This marks the latest step in the $5.5 billion project that is expected to keep Local 793 members busy until 2030. Strabag Inc. started construction on the subway tunnel earlier this year, providing steady work for 12 members and potential for more as the project progresses.

Sources:

Daily Commerical News: https://canada.constructconnect.com/dcn/news/infrastructure/2021/09/rfq-issued-for-scarborough-subway-extension-project

Infrastructure Ontario: https://www.infrastructureontario.ca/Request-for-Qualifications-Issued-Scarborough-Subway-Extension/

Ontario’s construction employment reaches 4-month high

Employment in Ontario’s construction industry has jumped 1.9% in August 2021 compared to the previous month, according to Statistics Canada’s latest labour force data. Employment in the construction industry rose to a four-month high of 534,700. The data also showed that ICI investments in 2021 are up by 3.6% compared to the same time last […]

Employment in Ontario’s construction industry has jumped 1.9% in August 2021 compared to the previous month, according to Statistics Canada’s latest labour force data. Employment in the construction industry rose to a four-month high of 534,700.

The data also showed that ICI investments in 2021 are up by 3.6% compared to the same time last year, the equivalent of almost half a billion dollars.

Source: https://iciconstruction.com/2021/09/14/september142021_ecoupdate/ 

Truth and Reconciliation Week (Sept 27 – Oct 1)

Today marks the beginning of Truth and Reconciliation Week, a five-day national initiative hosted by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR). The week encourages the nation to begin a conversation about the truths of the Indigenous treaties, First Nation, Métis and Inuit land claims, and the residential schools’ system in the days leading up […]

Today marks the beginning of Truth and Reconciliation Week, a five-day national initiative hosted by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR).

The week encourages the nation to begin a conversation about the truths of the Indigenous treaties, First Nation, Métis and Inuit land claims, and the residential schools’ system in the days leading up to the new federally legislated National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

September 30 was established by the House of Commons as a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and it has been recognized as a day of observance in Ontario. The day was chosen as it aligns with Orange Shirt Day, a movement that started as a way to open the conversation about the effects of the residential schools and the legacy they left behind.

Open Response

On September 27, Business Manager Mike Gallagher received a member’s email expressing disapproval over the topic of proof of COVID-19 vaccination and Local 793’s responses and policies concerning this issue. Below is a copy of Business Manager Gallagher’s response. “Good morning, Your numerous letters to the area offices are a waste of yours and our […]

On September 27, Business Manager Mike Gallagher received a member’s email expressing disapproval over the topic of proof of COVID-19 vaccination and Local 793’s responses and policies concerning this issue.

Below is a copy of Business Manager Gallagher’s response.

“Good morning,

Your numerous letters to the area offices are a waste of yours and our time. We have established a mandatory vaccinations policy to protect our staff and members from an international pandemic that has claimed over 4 million lives worldwide. We are following provincial government mandates, Health Canada, World Health Organization, Centre For Disease Control and the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. We have continued to support members with masks distributed to every member, educational videos, worksite inspection protocols, and increased sanitization of offices and training centres, relief grants and a new SUB Plan that has paid out over 2 million dollars to members impacted by job loss.

Our staff are now fully vaccinated who attend our offices, as are our business representatives, organizers, instructors and all support staff. We have protected all our staff and members to the best of our ability from a virus that is potentially deadly to their health and has led to the death of one of our members, and negatively impacted the health of several of our staff and we suspect also a large number of members and their families despite our best efforts.

In order for us to get back to something resembling normal with our union meetings, dinner dance honouring long service members including all activities we once enjoyed with our membership prior to March 2020 we need our membership to support our vaccination efforts and not have unvaccinated members increase our risk by attending union offices or future union meetings. If there is a medical reason supported by legitimate certified documentation from a member’s doctor we will seek to accommodate that member. We will review employers’ health and safety covid policy to ensure it to be in accordance with the laws of Ontario and Canada. Our legal advice to date is those mandatory vaccination policies are legal in the circumstances of the pandemic so long as accommodations are made on medical grounds. We expect policies like our own to be upheld in the courts and at the labour boards across the country.

Our best advice to you is to get vaccinated but that is up to you. If you do not get vaccinated there clearly is a downside risk to your employability, your ability to travel, attend restaurants, shopping malls, and many other indoor venues including future union meetings. You need to understand that rights are not only for individuals but for the health and safety of everyone else as well. Instead of writing letters to us if you continue to disagree in accordance with our constitution you can appeal to IUOE Local 793 Executive Board. If you are not satisfied with our decision of your appeal you can appeal to the General Executive Board in Washington. Following that process if you’re still not satisfied you can appeal to the court system. You will also have the opportunity to apply to the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Unless a member is successful in appeal any one of those challenges our covid protection policy will remain unchanged.

Mike Gallagher”

Ontario government adds more than 100 health and safety inspectors

Earlier today, the Ontario government announced that it has added additional resources to help keep workers and people safe from COVID-19. These new resources include more than 100 new health and safety inspectors visiting workplaces in construction, industrial and health care settings. This addition means Ontario now has a total of 507 labour inspectors, the largest ever number in provincial history. The provincial government also […]

Earlier today, the Ontario government announced that it has added additional resources to help keep workers and people safe from COVID-19. These new resources include more than 100 new health and safety inspectors visiting workplaces in construction, industrial and health care settings. This addition means Ontario now has a total of 507 labour inspectors, the largest ever number in provincial history.

The provincial government also launched the Workplace Safety Plan Builder, a free interactive tool to help businesses easily develop a COVID-19 workplace health and safety plan.

Resources:

Ontario Adding New Resources To Protect Workers: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1000874/ontario-adding-new-resources-to-protect-workers

Workplace Safety Plan Builder: https://www.workplacesafetyplanbuilder.labour.gov.on.ca/