December 2014

A Report from Canada 2014

This special time of year is an opportunity for our brothers and sisters to enjoy a few days at home with family and friends. I have asked our Canadian district council presidents and staff to share a year in review, with you and your families, which you will find again in this year’s edition. 

We have increased our International staff here in Canada. General President Walter Wise has recently added additional staff positions that have been allocated to the areas of organizing and safety, which will increase our ability to maintain focus in those important areas.

Our Canadian Iron Worker conference this past summer, focused on growth and why growth is so extremely important to our very existence as local unions. Over 100 contractors, International general officers, HQ department heads and local union leadership, along with guests, were in attendance. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their participation with a special thanks going out to Bill Brown, management co-chair of IMPACT, for taking the time out of his busy schedule to participate.

We are in a competitive business across this country. Other union organizations, alternate unions and other forms of non-union competition, continue to attack our market share. However, there is one strength we own in both countries that separates us from the rest of the pack. That strength is the best top-down training and apprenticeship programs on the planet.

And it all starts with our Iron Worker Director of Training Lee Worley and the National Training Fund staff and it ends with every training coordinator and instructor in Canada who continue to deliver the most highly skilled, safe and quality journeymen you will find anywhere. That is a fact!

Congratulations to Locals 725 (Calgary, Alberta), 736 (Hamilton, Ontario), 752 (Halifax, Nova Scotia), 765 (Ottawa, Ontario) and 764 (St. Johns, Newfoundland) who have, at a cost, upgraded their local union training facilities either through building new facilities, completing renovations and/or expanding existing facilities.

Training is one of our best-kept secrets to success. It’s time for all of us to raise it up a notch in further promoting, to industry, government and the general public, that our local unions and joint contractor apprenticeship and training boards, invest millions of our local union and contractor privately funded dollars every year into producing highly skilled ironworkers to meet current and future supply demands of our industry. That story needs to be told! 

I want to take this opportunity to thank the special committees we formed over the last couple years who worked with Lee Worley’s office. They unselfishly contributed their expertise in making us better this year through the completion of the Canadian Red Seal training manuals and the Canadian Welding Bureau or CWB Ironworker Qualification ID card partnership. 

The Red Seal Committee is manned by Rick Sullivan (retired) and Mike Relyin, Iron Workers International; Kevin Bryenton, president, Ontario District Council; Luiz Barros and Clint Knowlton, Local 721 (Toronto, Ontario); Guy LeBlanc, Local 842 (St. John, New Brunswick); and Wayne Worrall, Local 771 (Regina, Saskatchewan).

On the CWB Committee are Doug Luciani and Mark Redmond, CWB; Ed Abbott and Darrell LaBoucan, Iron Workers International; Kevin Bryenton; Martin Minten, Local 721; Wayne Worrall; and Guy LeBlanc.

Clearly the annual instructors program held in Washtenaw, Michigan was a homerun again this year. The International and the National Training Fund offers over fifty courses to your local union officers, training coordinators and instructors. These pillars of our training programs learn valuable skills and training aids through a demanding week of learning. They bring important skills and education content back home, and pass them along to our journeymen and apprentices, to complete the cycle of producing the best ironworkers in the land. Congratulations to Local 771 Training Coordinator Wayne Worrall and Business Agent Ryan Tappin who completed their instructor certification this year and received recognition for this outstanding achievement at this year’s awards ceremony.

What does this all mean? It means as the industry is ever-changing with new engineering technology, bigger cranes, equipment and building modular systems, new ornamental window installation systems, rigging standards and welding processes, that we are already there in respect to further developing our members skills to safely, efficiently and productively complete any task assigned to them on the job. 

Topping off the year was the Iron Worker’s International Outstanding Field and Shop Apprenticeship Competition, which was hosted by Canada, and led by the Ontario District Council and Local 721 this past September. Thank you to all who worked so hard to make this event such a resounding success. 

As your Canadian director, I want to thank all past and present training coordinators and instructors who prepare our apprentices, with the skills and positive attitudes shaping their careers. I would also like to recognize all the journeyman ironworkers out there who have taken the time to mentor our apprentices. It is with all of your efforts that we have such a proud past and bold future.

Canadian Staff Update

It is with great pleasure that I welcome our new staff members:

• Jeff Norris, Local 720 (Edmonton, Alberta), became our Canadian safety coordinator and District Council of Western Canada representative. Jeff brings an extensive training background and is committed to working with our contractors, local unions and members in our goal of zero fatalities. 

• Steve Seager, Local 771, came on board as a western Canada organizer. Steve was initially recruited from the non-union sector and brings industry experience and knowledge to our organizing team.

• Steve Neveu, Local 721, joined the Ontario team as a district council organizer. He graduated as one of the outstanding apprentices in 2005. Steve has worked in various capacities throughout his career and most recently as a lead hand at the Toronto District School Board through the Skilled Trades Construction Department.

It is with a heavy heart that I convey this year’s report knowing that eight ironworkers will not be spending the holidays with their spouses, partners, children, grandchildren, siblings, parents, friends and union brothers and sisters. The impact of jobsite fatalities wears heavy on us all. But, as we have done since the inception of this great organization, we band together and share in the grieving process, then put our best foot forward and return to one of the most dangerous but self-rewarding professions on earth. PLEASE reflect on safety being your core value in 2015; there are enough things that will kill or cripple you in this world, let’s not let jobsite fatalities and disabling injuries be one of them. Remember!!! “See Something! Say Something!” Together let’s make 2015 a ZERO FATALITY YEAR!

We want to recognize those members who are retiring this year for their outstanding contributions to our industry; you have made us better. On behalf of all the locals and International staff, we send special retirement wishes to Mark Dugal, FST/BM, Local 700 (Windsor, Ontario) and Barry Fawcett, president/BA, Local 765. It’s been more than a pleasure working with you.

Best wishes on a long healthy retirement go out to Dr. Rick Sullivan, former Iron Worker International director of education and training, for your outstanding commitment to making us better! 

In closing, I wish to convey my sincere thanks to our Canadian staff, Jacques Dubois, Kevin Bryenton, Eric Bohne, Bert Royer, James Rodney, Ed Dornia, Steve Seager, Jeff Hendriks, Jeff Norris, Steve Neveu and Sandy Lastiwka, and to all the members for your ongoing support to the organization.

Thank you to the business managers, agents, organizers, training coordinators, instructors, local union administration and service providers. We thank you for your hard work and what you do for the members and the organization every day.

The Canadian office would like to thank all the locals who took the time to submit articles and photos for this year’s Canadian Ironworker edition. 

No one builds this country as safely, efficiently and skillfully as the ironworkers do! Keep up the great work!!!

On behalf of the Canadian office and my family, we wish you a very happy holiday season, a merry Christmas and a safe new year.