“We will build it!”

That was the resounding message of Local 793 Business Manager Mike Gallagher and close to 200 members, officers, executive board members, staff and OETIO instructors and apprentices in attendance for the Ontario government’s announcement that work on the long-delayed Highway 413 will begin next year.

The 52-kilometre highway will eventually link Halton, Peel and York regions and is expected to deliver 3,500 jobs each year of construction and add $350 million to Ontario’s GDP – as well as cut commuting times for drivers by up to an hour each day once it is completed.

Lots of that work will go to members of Local 793 – just one reason why Business Manager Gallagher has thrown the weight of the Union behind Premier Doug Ford’s ambitious plan and why members were given T-shirts emblazoned with the ‘We Will Build It’ slogan.

Business Manager Gallagher was invited to speak at the event held in Caledon on Tuesday and he praised the Premier’s determination to build the highway despite the many obstacles encountered along the way.

“I want to thank the Premier and his cabinet for doing the right thing. We seem to be hitting a home run every single time we come up to bat with this government,” Gallagher said. “So, let’s keep on going, building up this beautiful province into prosperity. Thank you, Premier Ford.”

The large turnout by Local 793 had the desired effect on the Premier, who said he was blown away when he pulled up at the venue and saw the ranks of Union workers lined up waiting.

“These are the folks who are building our province,” he said, gesturing over his shoulder. “We can’t build Ontario without you.”

Ford highlighted his government’s plan to spend $185 billion over the next 10 years on infrastructure he says will provide thousands of jobs for Union workers as well as provide homes, hospitals, schools, highways and transit.

Also at the announcement were Minister for Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development David Piccini, Associate Minister of Transportation Vijay Thanigasalam, and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown.

Some of the Local 793 members at the event said the government’s wide-ranging spending plans could only be good news for Operating Engineers.

Brothers Garrison Charlton, Tim Voortman, Roger Costa, Chris Coghlan and Jason Bastarache are all employed by Dufferin and expect to be kept busy once work on the highway gets underway.

“This new highway means job security. It means peace of mind and a steady paycheck,” Brother Costa, who operates a dozer, said.

“We need more projects just like this one,” added Brother Bastarache, voicing a sentiment that will be echoed by Local 793 members right across Ontario.

CLICK HERE to watch the full press conference.

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