Local 793 is successful in large part because of the investments made by the union in training and turning out skilled operators, business manager Mike Gallagher told a group of 40 tower and mobile crane apprentices May 21 in the union’s banquet hall in Oakville.

“If we didn’t have the investment in training like we do and we didn’t have the skilled operators that we have, young people like yourselves coming forward and building our bench, we wouldn’t be able to have that type of success,” he explained.

Gallagher, along with union president Joe Redshaw, vice-president Joe Dowdall, and treasurer Alex Law, spoke to the group and handed out medals to three mobile crane level 2 and 3 apprentices who placed in the top three in their category at the Ontario Skills Competition held May 5, 6 and 7 at RIM Park in Kitchener.

The top three students were:

  • First place – Nicholas Mireault
  • Second place – Devin Killoran
  • Third place – Scott MacEachern

The students were evaluated on pre-operational inspection, control operation and accuracy, post-operation, efficiency, a simulation exercise, and theory test.

Eight Local 793 apprentices participated in the competition.

Gallagher congratulated the apprentices and noted that the competition was a very important first step in having mobile cranes recognized in the Skills Canada National Competition.

He noted that the Canadian Operating Engineers Joint Apprenticeship and Training Council (COEJATC) recently decided to get involved in supporting Skills Canada and the first step in that initiative was to get involved in the Ontario program.

Now that the apprentices have been recognized at the Ontario level, he said, the next step is to be recognized at the national level with Skills Canada.

“So, consider yourselves in this group as pioneers,” Gallagher said.

The Skills Canada National Competition is important because it brings together young people from all regions of Canada to compete in more than 40 trade and technology areas.

The competition provides an opportunity for those studying a skilled trade or technology to be tested within exacting standards and against their peers from across the nation.

Gallagher told the apprentices that he’s proud of the training provided at the OETIO.

“Everywhere I go as a manager I feel very good about the qualifications of our apprentices.”

Gallagher said it makes his job easier when he goes out to meet with non-union contractors in an effort to promote Local 793.

For example, during a meeting with representatives from Surespan and DLB Cranes, which are erecting a lot of wind turbines in Ontario, he touted the reputation and skills of Local 793 operators. DLB Cranes ended up signing a voluntary recognition agreement.

“When I met with them one of the strongest cards that I held in my hand was our skills as Operating Engineers, as crane operators, our safety record and our reputation.”

Gallagher reminded the apprentices that they represent the union when they go into the field.

“Remember that you’re a 793 member and you’re carrying that badge,” he said.

“It helps us maintain one of the strongest reputations in North America, if not the world. So, take that very seriously please because we’ve got to protect that. All of us own that.”