December 2012

Departmental Reports of the Canadian Region

EASTERN DISTRICT COUNCIL REPORT

 

by Jacques Dubois

 

A Solid and Prosperous District Council

 

Members of our local unions have always known "United we stand, divided we fall."

Know that your officers also know it, and this is what guides us in all actions undertaken by the District Council of Eastern Canada, and it is the same for all other district councils across North America.

The current economic situation is very favorable to ironworkers in the steel industry across Canada and the same goes for our district council.

Throughout the territory, we have taken up the challenges and delivered on time and on budget for the following projects.

In Quebec, Montreal's Saputo Soccer Stadium required 713 tons of steel for the new roof, 47 tons of steel for the services buildings, 1,210 tons of steel, and 113 tons of aluminum for the bleachers. The employer was Montacier who used a team of structural and ornamental ironworkers. Mining and processing are steady, and windmill erection is resulting in hundreds of units being ordered and erected.

In New Brunswick, a treatment plant for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and the installation of three gigantic concrete storage tanks (150 feet high x 200 feet wide) procured employment to our reinforcing ironworkers and substantial structural and miscellaneous steel for structural and ornamental ironworkers.

In Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, without restrictions, the commercial and institutional sectors always go with the highest unionization rate despite the presence of non-union. The industrial sector is going well with the building of a new fab shop at Cherubini and wind energy supply contracts are strong with increased units and more scheduled.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, it's the Klondike. Not only have most of their members left the other provinces and returned home to work, but also Local 764 (St. John's, Newfoundland) is lacking manpower and employing boomers, particularly from the District Council of Eastern Canada. This situation should also last a few more years.

Let's not forget Shop Local Union 809 which, under the good guidance of its president Robert Morin, his fellow officers, and the support of outside local unions from the DCEC, have renewed collective agreements with an average of three percent per year of wage and benefit increases.

It is now official; the DCEC will be receiving organizing funds from Washington to allow the hiring of a full-time organizer, who will be reporting to Organizing Executive Director Bernie Evers. Our territory is big and we intend to do all that is necessary to obtain 100 percent certification of all employers and workers in our trade.

I congratulate the officers, members, and staff of the affiliated local unions and district council for their hard work. I take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year with whatever your heart wishes and desires!

 

ONTARIO DISTRICT COUNCIL REPORT

by Kevin Bryenton

The Northern Rush

 

Ontario just finished one of the best 12-month periods in recent history in terms of man-hours worked. The typical layout of where those hours came from has changed dramatically over the last decade. Work has moved north of the golden horseshoe for the first time in a generation! Mining and headwater development lead the way for large expansions of existing hydroelectric capacities, new head frames, expansion of existing ore facilities, and revitalization of projects long left dormant. Steel mills are undergoing vast refurbishment of their emissions control systems and regular development of commercial work carries on.

All locals in the province are doing a great job of keeping their work and expanding into new markets, growing the membership in the province by more than 250 in the last year. Highlights of projects, initiatives, and updates:

Local 700 (Windsor, Ontario) Some larger projects are getting out of the ground, including a dozen bridges associated with the Windsor Parkway - the secondary bypass to the long awaited second Ambassador Bridge Crossing between Windsor and Detroit, which was recently announced by the federal government. Local 700 is also completing an 8,000 metric tonne aquatic center in the city and continues to fare well in the electrical power system sector and commercial work with over 100 units on wind farms scheduled to go in the next year. Congratulations go out to Brother Enoch Greenwell, multiple term business agent, who recently hung up the belt - a big thanks for your many years of dedication and all the best in your retirement!

Local 721 (Toronto, Ontario) The power sector has seen some recent news of action with a major refurbishment of Darlington Nuclear Generating Station getting off the ground. Curtain wall has been the mainstay, with many of the office towers built in the late '60s needing recovering of cladding, panels, and glazing, being secured by local union signatory contractors. Numerous projects are coming their way in conjunction with the Pan-American games scheduled to take place in 2015. The reinforcing sector is booming with large-scale ICI projects dotting the cityscape, including the Humber River Hospital, a $1.8 billion project ongoing with local hands leading the way.

Local 736 (Hamilton, Ontario) Steel and Hydro continue to dominate the landscape of Hamilton as solid performers such as Dofasco and U.S. Steel carry on with ongoing refurbishments, and OPG Nanticoke and Sir Adam Beck G.S. see large upgrades. The Pan-American Games will be shared between Toronto and Hamilton as the host venue, and will include a velodrome amongst other facilities to outfit the games. A new stadium is set to go for the Hamilton Tiger Cats once the season finishes this year. Another big thank you goes out to Brother Jim McNeil, president/BA, who also hung up his belt. Thank you for your many years of dedication and good luck in your retirement!

Local 759 (Thunder Bay, Ontario) Thunder Bay has exploded! The work hours in the area have increased by a factor of 15 over the past two years with major expansions at headwater generation projects of Kipling, Harmon, Lac Des Illes, and Little Long and Smokey Falls Hydro-Electric Generating Stations. Existing dams have been refurbished as well as adding additional capacity at some of the sites dramatically increasing the need for ironworkers and their skills. Detour Gold and KAP are doing major construction projects employing hundreds of ironworkers. Congratulations to Local 759 BM Wayne Thibault and President John Garry for their fortitude in maintaining their jurisdiction and herding the cats to man the work.

Local 765 (Ottawa, Ontario) Ottawa carries on with relative stability in good or bad times staying fairly immune to boom and bust, being the nation's capital. Many projects are ongoing in the reinforcing sector and structural side with commercial work and heavy expansion of the light rail transit system. Some notable projects employing members are the B.O.O.R. project - a 6,000 metric tonne Canadian security information building; ongoing development of the Landsdowne Park project that includes a football stadium and residential commercial complex; expansion at C.F.B. Pettawawa; and two notable bridges - the Three Nations Crossing in Cornwall and the Strandard Bridge project, the first cable-stayed bridge constructed in the province in a generation. Congratulations also goes out to Local 765 officers and membership for the recent grand opening of their new training center and union hall in Metcalfe.

Local 786 (Sudbury, Ontario) Sudbury/Sault Ste. Marie has ongoing refurbishment at the two main employers sites in the respective towns at ESSAR Steel and Vale Nickel. Ongoing headwater development across the north and the coming mining development in the Ring of Fire will have work opportunities for years to come in their jurisdiction.

Local 834 (Toronto, Ontario) After the exodus of manufacturing from the province in late 2009, the local was very hard hit in terms of layoffs at existing shops and the closure of two of the signatory employers businesses. Local 834 has come through the grind and is starting to see some rebound with many of its contractors picking up new work and hiring additional members back, as well as adding new ranks from the low point in 2010. Congratulations to President Duncan Smith and the local union officers for toughing it out and working hard to keep the conditions, fought for in previous rounds of bargaining.

 

Canadian Shop Department Report

by Eric Bohne

 

2012 has been a solid year for the shops in Western Canada as the economy continued to improve. Most of the jurisdiction had seen significantly improved employment numbers throughout the year thanks to the demand for resources in energy and mining. Several ongoing and large infrastructure improvement projects provided many hours of work for our shops. We have also started to see more employers signing onto IMPACT. We look forward to having our members and their employers benefit from future IMPACT initiatives and training courses like the shop supervisor/leadership training course that was held in Vancouver this past October.

Business Manager Sean Hennon and his membership at Navy Yard Riggers Local 643 (Victoria, British Columbia) have been busy working on several large-scale refit projects for BC Ferries and the Canadian Navy. Two long-range hunter killer submarines, the HMCS Corner Brook and the HMCS Chicoutimi, are in the dry dock undergoing major refit work. The members and their employers have also been working on the HMCS Calgary, the HMCS Winnipeg, and the HMCS Protecteur. "These projects should keep our members working through 2012," says Business Manager Sean Hennon. The future looks bright for Local 643.

Tom O'Neill, business manager of Local 712 (Vancouver, British Columbia), the largest shop local in the organization with 2,000 members, has experienced near full employment since March. Much of the membership has been busy on several large scale projects. The Port Mann bridge project is coming to an end. It has kept one of Local 712's major employers and over 100 members busy for several years running. Much of the membership and several employers have also benefitted from a busy mining sector in BC. In other areas, miscellaneous work in the aerospace industry has provided increased hours of work for over 100 of the local`s members, as sizable contracts from Boeing and Airbus were awarded to one of the local's largest employers. Large-scale window manufacturing and gas fireplace production have provided over 500 members with employment.

2013 looks promising for Local 712 and its members as work in the oil sands and major theme park work will begin for hundreds of members and their employers. "There appears to be plenty of work in the near term, which will help mitigate the ongoing 'China Syndrome' that is costing us jobs. The issue is a major concern for this local as the province is having more and more fabricated steel showing up on projects in BC. Look no further than the multi-billion dollar Alcan expansion project in Kitimat," says OÕNeill. "It's costing us too many jobs in our shops and in our country, something must be done."

Local 805 (Calgary, Alberta) Business Manager Bill Mercer has experienced a very positive year as his membership is at full employment and growing strong. The Bow Tower, Calgary's tallest skyscraper, was completed and provided the local's members and their employer with countless hours of work. The Kearl Lake project in Northern Alberta has been providing work for hundreds of members over the last five years. In the city of Edmonton, "the Henday Drive roadway project has generated a lot of jobs over the last four years as numerous overpass bridges were fabricated in Local 805 shops," says Mercer. In the last two years, Local 805 has also been involved in several piping and equipment module projects that were the benefit of two key top down organizing campaigns in northern Alberta. With a projected economic forecast that looks strong in Alberta, Local 805 looks set to remain busy for the foreseeable future.

Lee Guldiman, business manager of Local 838 (Regina, Saskatchewan), is also experiencing an improved work picture as his membership and their employers have benefitted from Potash expansion. The demand for Potash is providing the bulk of work for the members of Local 838. "Demand for gold, uranium, and other rare earth elements, along with oil and gas expansion, have helped our local attain 100 percent employment," says Guldiman. The manufacture of agriculture and farming equipment continues to remain strong and helps provide jobs for members and employers alike.

Western Canada continues to remain robust during a fragile global economy. Shop Iron Worker members, their families and employers alike, all hope the trend continues and spreads to other jurisdictions throughout North America very soon.