January 2013

The Canadian Ironworkers Vision into the Future

The proud Canadian ironworkers, shop and outside, are working together to achieve their vision for the future to grow and recapture the market share in Canada. On November 6, 2012, International Representatives Darrell LaBoucan, executive director of Canadian Affairs, and Kevin Bryenton, general organizer, with the support of Local 643 (Victoria, British Columbia) Business Manager Sean Hennon met with Seaspan Management, Malcolm Barker, vice president/general manager and Ryan Fischer, steel manager, regarding introducing an apprenticeship program for our British Columbia, Vancouver Island, Victoria shipyard rigging local.

Having an apprenticeship interprovincial red seal program would assist Local 643 in meeting the needs of replacing the many shipyard ironworker riggers expected to retire over the next five to ten years. The goal is to dovetail the shipyard apprentices into the provinces existing ironworker apprenticeship program at BCIT Technical Training Center in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Seaspan management team was very supportive in moving the Local 643 apprenticeship program forward in 2013. When we all work together we will succeed. Well done, Local 643.

Eric Bohne, general organizer for the Shop Department, and members of Shopmen Local 712 (Vancouver, British Columbia), thinking outside the box, initiated an organizing drive on October 31, 2012 (UNIONWEEN) to begin to take advantage of the many opportunities in local non-union fabrication shops in the Metro Vancouver area to attempt to grow their membership, educate the non-union workers, and support their needs.

This is the mind set in which we all need to think, envision, and act on in order to recapture market share, prepare for future needs, mobilize and utilize our members effectively to showcase the value of union ironworkers. This attitude is the first step in beginning to grow our great International Iron Workers Union for the future.