On behalf of the executive board and officers of Local 793, I would like to wish all union members and their families the very best over the holiday season.

It was certainly a productive year for the local.

Our membership grew to more than 12,000 – double the number from 15 years earlier.

Our finances remained healthy with members’ equity at nearly $49 million as of June 30, 2011 – a 14.6-per-cent increase from the prior year.

Our pension plan continued to grow, despite volatile stock markets, topping $1.5 billion in market value as of June 30, 2011.

And our training facilities remained at capacity with the number of apprentices training to become heavy equipment, concrete pump, mobile and tower crane operators at its highest level ever.

We continued to bring new companies into the fold. Between January and August alone, we filed nine certification applications and signed voluntary recognition agreements with 46 companies.

We extended consent for unreduced early retirement pensions and kicked off a pension calculator called Destinations on our website.

The year began in grand style for Local 793 when TV personality Rick Mercer paid a visit to our training facilities and filmed a segment for his show. The episode was aired many times on CBC and is still being shown on Air Canada flights.

In the summer, we had a booth at the CHIN picnic in Toronto and in the fall operators across the province took part in Labour Day parades in Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Kingston, Windsor, Sudbury and Sarnia.

In the run-up to the provincial election, we again participated in the Working Families Campaign, which was a success.

Recently, we handed out Jack Redshaw Scholarships to six aspiring young students. Two daughters of Local 793 members also received bursaries from the Canadian Conference of the IUOE.

Meanwhile, Michael Quinn, retired area supervisor for Northeastern Ontario, was named co-winner of the Roy A. Phinnemore Award presented by the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association.

In September, our union was deeply saddened when late president Gary O’Neill passed away. This precipitated a number of changes to our executive and Joe Redshaw took over as president. In November, staff at Local 793’s head office took up the Movember challenge in memory of Gary and surpassed their goal, raising nearly $5,300 for prostate cancer awareness research.

As for 2012, I am hopeful that the work situation will remain favourable for operating engineers.

The $1.4-billion Windsor-Essex Parkway is under way, subway projects have been started in Toronto, and new mental health care facilities are being started in London and St. Thomas. Work also continues on the Lower Mattagami hydroelectric generating project northeast of Kapuskasing.

While 2011 was a success, the executive and officers of Local 793 fully realize there is still more work to be done.

Again, please accept my best wishes for a happy holiday season.

Fraternally Yours,

Mike Gallagher
Business Manager
IUOE Local 793