Delegates at the recent International Union of Operating Engineers 38th general convention voted unanimously to elect James T. Callahan to his first full term as general president.

The vote affirms the IUOE’s commitment to worker organizing and job creation in the United States and Canada.

Brian Hickey was elected as secretary-treasurer, the union’s number two post.

Delegates also elected 14 vice presidents and five trustees who represent IUOE members from every region of North America.

Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher was elected as a vice-president.

Callahan told delegates that he is proud to lead the 400,000-member union of dedicated and skilled trade unionists who build and maintain North America every day.

“Once again, our union is called to action. We must stand up against powerful interests who want to silence workers, kill private and public sector unions, and marginalize working families.

“Now, more than ever, we need to make bold investments and find innovative solutions that will create jobs, pay a fair wage – a union wage – and support middle class families.”

The IUOE convention was held April 28 to May 2 in Hollywood, Florida. During the convention, the more than 600 delegates passed 27 resolutions covering organizing, training, occupational health and safety, prevailing wage, economic and labour issues, and pension and healthcare benefits.

Speakers at the convention included U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Canadian ambassador to the United States Gary Doer, AFL-CIO president Richard L. Trumka, United Brotherhood of Carpenters general president Douglas McCarron, UNITE-HERE president D. Taylor, and Association of Union Constructors CEO Stephen Lindauer.

AFL-CIO President Trumka pledged the labour federation would wage an all-out fight for more infrastructure jobs.

He called high unemployment among building trades workers, including Operating Engineers, “absolutely intolerable” and wrong.

“America needs your skilled workers to rebuild the national infrastructure that is literally crumbling around us,” he said. “Our national infrastructure is a shambles — our highways and bridges, our sea ports and airports. America needs to invest in public infrastructure on a scale unlike anything that’s been proposed … spending measured in the tens of trillions of dollars.”