Local 793 is thriving but the officers will not rest on the laurels, business manager Mike Gallagher said at a special executive board meeting at head office in Oakville on April 2, 2016.

“The union is in great financial shape and our membership numbers are growing,” he said, noting that the number of hours worked by members has also been increasing each year.

The union is getting stronger, he said, with membership now around 14,200, Gallagher said.

Total hours worked in 2015 totaled 19,918,517, 6.62 per cent higher than the previous year, he said, while consolidated members’ equity at the end of 2015 was $85,987,666, 12.6 per cent higher than the previous year.

Consolidated assets of the union, meanwhile, were $93,982,580 at the end of 2015, 14.6 per cent higher than the previous year, he said.

Gallagher said the pension fund is also healthy and trustees have done a very good job in challenging times. The fund earned 5.9 per cent in 2015 while the S&P/TSXComposite Index fell by 8.3 per cent.

He said the actuary has informed trustees that consent for unreduced pension at age 60 can be extended for another year to 2017.

The benefits plan is also doing well, Gallagher noted, collecting $68.8 million in 2015 and paying out $58.5 million in claims and expenses.

Trustees of the plan have decided to increase the dental coverage to $3,000 from $2,500, he said.

On the training front, Gallagher said the OETIO is successfully completing an $11-million expansion at the campus in Morrisburg and a 70-room dormitory should be ready by June.

“We have done all that without having to go to the bank and ask for money, which shows just how strong we are,” he said.

While Local 793 is in good shape, Gallagher said the officers are looking to the future and plan to continue growing the union by hiring more organizers.

“We have to keep on building. We have to keep on growing. If you look at our Constitution that’s what we have to keep on doing, going out and building our market share.”

Gallagher said he sees no reason why Local 793 can’t become as big as the IUOE local in California.

He pointed out that Local 793 has the most organizers on board ever and they are working to bring in more members.

When people go home at night to watch a hockey game, the organizers are often still out there doing their job, he said.

“There’s a lot of miles being put in by our organizers and our business reps.”

Gallagher told the meeting that he wants to keep bringing the benefits of unionization to the non-union sector.

“I’m not going to be satisfied until every worker out there has the advantage of belonging to this great organization.”

In addition to growing the numbers, Gallagher said he also wants to expand the union facilities.

Soon, he said, the union may build a 30-to-40-room dorm at the OETIO campus in Oakville and add more offices for training.

The union may also expand its banquet hall, he said, so it can accommodate 350 to 400 more people and allow it to be used for larger functions.

At the beginning of his remarks, Gallagher observed that Republican Donald Trump is attracting a lot of attention in the U.S. with his comments about building a wall on the country’s southern border and having Mexico pay for it.

Gallagher jokingly said he was thinking about building a wall around Local 793 and having CLAC pay for it.

Also at the meeting:

  • Gallagher announced that Ken Boyle, a 50-year member from Sarnia who served on the union’s executive board until his retirement in 2002, has been made an honourary lifetime member along with George Bennett, a 50-year member from Kerwood who served on the union’s election committee and presently is on the union’s insurance committee and Jack Redshaw Scholarship Committee.
  • Gallagher congratulated former Toronto area supervisor John Monti and London business rep Curtis Hynds on their retirements. Monti, a 40-year member, was on staff for 27 years and was union auditor. He was also a trustee on the Training Trust Fund and was a director and then president of the Local 793 Non-Profit Housing Corporation. Hynds, a 32-year member, was on staff for 17 years.