April 2019 Newsletter

The BC NDP government is looking to make positive changes to WCB

To increase the confidence of workers and employers, the British Columbia government will undertake a formal review of its workers’ compensation system with the appointment of retired labour lawyer Janet Patterson.

To shift the workers’ compensation system to become more worker centred, the review will assess:

  • the system’s policies and practices that support injured workers’ return to work;
  • WorkSafeBC’s current policies and practices through a gender- and diversity-based analysis (commonly referred to as GBA+);
  • modernization of WorkSafeBC’s culture to reflect a worker-centric service delivery model;
  • the case management of injured workers; and
  • any potential amendments to the Workers Compensation Act arising from this focused review.

Now that we have an NDP government, our hopes are up that we will see some movement to a fairer system for injured workers. We witnessed the significant changes made by the NDP in the 1990’s. Then, were devastated to watch what the Liberals did to injured workers from 2001 on.

It seems like a good time to cast an eye back over the dismantling of the compensation system over the last 17 years, to remind us just how bad the system is and why we need to pressure the NDP to undo the misery and heartlessness of the last two decades. Certainly, Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark didn’t give two hoots about the suffering of workers injured on the job. We continue to believe that the NDP do, and that they will give us the changes we need to ensure a fair system that protects injured workers.

So, here’s a review of just a few of the many, many changes that have been inflicted on the Workers’ Compensation system since 2001:

NDP Government Era Liberal Government Changes
Pensions: For lifeUntil age 65 (unless you can make a case for a later date, which is not easy.)
Pensions: workers got the larger of a permanent functional impairment award (PFI) or loss of earnings (top-up to match actual earning loss.)PFI in almost all cases. Very difficult to get a loss of earnings pension. The WCB has decided that a loss of 25% of your income is insignificant; your loss has to be more than 25% before they will consider topping up and even then, there are huge hurdles to getting a fair pension.
Benefits: 75% of gross. Indexed to cost of living.Reduced to 90% of net (effectively a 13% reduction). Indexed to 1% BELOW the cost of living to a maximum of 4% regardless of inflation rate, so that the most disabled workers, living on their WCB pensions are dropping at least 1% below the cost of living every year.
Benefits: case managers had greater discretion to adjust wage rate to take factors like prior illness, change of jobs etc. into account.Restrictions on the manner of determining a worker’s wage rate, primarily to earnings in the 12 months prior to injury instead of a flexible or discretionary method; permanent wage rate fixed early in the term, leaving injured workers stuck with incorrect wage rates later on. There is no longer a pension wage rate decision which takes a worker’s probable future earnings into account.
Vocational Rehabilitation: vocational rehabilitation consultants had broad discretion to assist injured workers to get back to work.Severely limited discretion of vocational rehabilitation consultants. Extremely limited assistance available compared to pre-2002.
Return to Work: your own doctor used to have a say in whether you returned to work.Very little weight given to doctor’s opinion now. The employer just has to provide a list of jobs that they say are appropriate. If the doctor disagrees, the board can override her, and usually does. Emphasis now is always on returning to “modified duties” even if your doctor thinks they are inappropriate.
Chronic Pain: discretion to grant a pension for chronic pain based on the degree of pain suffered by the worker. While the Board usually set it low, it could be set much higher on appeal.Fixed rate of 2.5% no matter how great the pain, and that’s if you even qualify. A new format makes it harder to get.
Appeals: the NDP had simplified the appeal process, trying to provide an understandable system that answered all workers’ issues.Appeal processes have become increasingly technical, legalistic, difficult to understand and inaccessible to injured workers;
Appeals: three levels of appeal with the final one being a medical appeal with three doctors NOT employed by the WCB (the Medical Review Panel or MRP). 80% of appeals were allowed by the MRP because the doctors made medical decisions based on medical knowledge and not WCB policy.Liberals abolished the Medical Review Panel completely. Now there is no medical appeal level and if you can't afford a medical/legal opinion from an independent specialist (or are lucky enough to have a union who will pay for one), you have to rely on the WCB doctor’s opinion (a doctor who has never examined or even spoken to you.) The Vice- chairs of the Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal are not medically trained. A Vice- chair can choose to seek an independent health professional opinion, but they are quite rare, you can't make them do it, and they are not obliged to take the advice of the specialist when they get it.
Missing Deadlines: The Workers' Compensation system is extremely complicated and technical. People often miss deadlines to file appeals because they are not used to dealing with bureaucracy, or they are in crisis because of their injury or occupational disease. The old system was more lenient for those who missed filing deadlines. In particular, if a worker asked his union representative or other advocate to represent him, and that person missed a deadline, the old Workers' Compensation Review Board understood that it was not the worker’s fault if someone else slipped up. An extension of time was usually granted if it was not the worker’s fault.Nowadays, it is very difficult to get an extension of time, even if you made every effort to get your appeal in on time, and it was your representative who made the mistake and missed the deadline. The Review Division imposes a heavy burden on the injured worker to monitor what the representative is doing. This is not sensible when the worker has no idea what the compensation system requires and has given it to someone who is supposed to know what to do. It's just another way to keep injured workers from exercising their rights.
Power of Appeal Tribunals: if WCB policy seemed to contradict the Workers' Compensation Act, the appellate tribunal could fix it.The final level of appeal, the Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal (WCAT), now is bound by board policy, which is not law, but guidelines written by WCB employees to help implement the Act. (There is one way to challenge the policy, but the process virtually guarantees that the policy will not be overturned.)
Reconsideration: if you got new medical evidence or more facts came to light, you could ask the WCB to reconsider a decision to deny your claim, which they often did when they had more information.You can ask for reconsideration for 75 days. If a decision is not made within that time, there is no power to reconsider no matter what evidence you have AND if you have filed an appeal to the Review Division, you a barred from a reconsideration in any event.
Psychological Injuries: Were adjudicated much as any other kind of injury.In 2012 the Liberals inserted a requirement into the Workers' Compensation Act that created a new test solely for mental stress injuries. It allowed the WCB to look into an injured worker’s entire life, digging for personal problems that they could blame the mental stress injuries on. A worker with a work-related psychological condition can now be subjected to the most invasive probing into their private life by the WCB’s team of “special constables” hired for that purpose. This test was a completely new concept in the Workers' Compensation system in BC. Psychologically fragile workers can find it intolerable.
Interest: workers and employers who won their appeals got interest on the money owed to them.One of the very first things the Liberals did was to take interest away from workers. Not employers, they still get interest. But an injured worker who has had to go without any income for years while appealing his or her claim, gets no interest (except for one narrow exception which virtually no one qualifies for.) Interest for employers only!

Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark were perfectly happy to see BC’s most injured workers fall further and further behind the cost of living every year. Their agenda was always clear, “Save employers money.” The cost to injured workers has been appalling.

We encourage you to talk to, write or email NDP MLAs. Remind them about what the Liberals have done to our injured and sick Brothers and Sisters. This is the first time we have had any hope in 17 years. Urge them to make it right.

National Day of Mourning – April 28

Held annually in Canada on April 28th, the National Day of Mourning is dedicated to remembering those who have lost their lives, or suffered injury or illness on the job due to a work-related incident.

At the 1984 Convention of the Canadian Labour Congress a resolution was adopted declaring April 28th as a “National Day of Mourning” to honor those workers in Canada who have been killed, injured or disabled on the job, or who suffer from occupational diseases. The date of April 28th was chosen to reflect the anniversary of the day Ontario passed the Workers’ Compensation Act in 1914.

The Canadian labour movement lobbied for legislation to identify April 28th as a “National Day of Mourning.” Their efforts were rewarded in February 1991, when the Federal Parliament passed the “Workers Mourning Day Act” (Bill C-223) and recognized April 28th as a day of national observance.

On April 28th, the Canadian flag on Parliament Hill will fly at half-mast. Workers will light candles, display ribbons and wreaths will be laid at the foot of monuments as a moment of silence is observed.

This movement grew as labour organizations around the world adopted April 28th as a “Day of Mourning.” Today more than 100 other countries have also adopted the observance known widely as Workers’ Memorial Day. The day is acknowledged by the International Labour Organization, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and the American Federation of Labour.

The labour movement was created by people standing up together for fair wages and benefits, safe workplaces, decent work hours and family-friendly policies. When unions stand up for fairness, they improve our communities and the lives of all Canadians. Many of the conditions first won by unions are enjoyed by all workers today; minimum wages, overtime pay, workplace safety standards, maternity and parental leave, vacation pay, and protection from discrimination and harassment.

Promoting human rights and ending discrimination are key components of Canada’s unions working together to help remove those barriers. Canadian workers have the right to refuse unsafe work, the right to be informed about hazards in the workplace, along with leading efforts to improve pensions for all Canadians through the expansion of public pensions and negotiating workplace pensions. When they retire, the incomes earned from years of contributions into pension plans provide income security, health, drug and survivor benefits which means fewer seniors having to rely on their families or social programs for assistance.

Last year, 131 workers in British Columbia died from a workplace injury or disease. As workers, families, employers, and communities come together at ceremonies held around the province to remember those who have lost their lives to work-related incidents or occupational disease, let’s show our support to creating healthier and safer workplaces by attending these ceremonies or light your own candle in honour and reflection of the thousands of lives forever changed and to renew your commitment to workplace health and safety.

The April 28th Monuments are often inscribed with the words “Fight for the Living, Mourn for the Dead” It is a day to honour the dead, but also a day that reminds us of the need to protect the living.

There will be Day of Mourning ceremonies all across Canada, here in British Columbia you can learn the details about ceremonies and place a flower in dedication of a worker at dayofmourning.bc.ca

Apprenticeship and Trade Advancement

Lodge 359 has been working closely with the ITA (Industry Training Authority) and the Federal Government, recently finalizing the Pan Canadian Harmonization program. One change that took place as part of the Harmonization program for British Columbia is that the trade name will now be identified using the Red Seal name only, Construction Boilermaker becomes Boilermaker.

Work-based training hour requirements for the new program has decreased by 750 hours (old program requires 5700 hours; the new program requires 4950 hours). These changes are mandated through the Pan Canadian Harmonization program and implemented through the ITA.

The newly developed Boilermaker SLE Level 2 exam was recently piloted with a class at BCIT.  The ITA exam maintenance officer is compiling feedback from the students. The Boilermakers also attended the item bank workshop following the pilot to conduct a peer review of the exam.

The Boilermakers also attended a two day editing workshop on the Boilermaker Manual this included updating and editing of the Boilermaker manual, clean up of diagrams and text.

In February, Dave French and I travelled to Site C for a site visit. We stayed in camp during our visit and found the  accommodations very clean and well kept. The rooms are all executive rooms with their own washroom within the room and a double bed. There are also recreation facilities and a gymnasium on site. While on site we a taught a Scissor Lift and Aerial Platform training course for members working for Group LAR.

Boilermaker Foundation Course is being held from March 26th through August 31st at BCIT

Boilermaker Level 02 course was held from Jan. 7th through Feb.8th at BCIT.

Boilermaker Level 03 course was held from Feb. 14th through March 22nd at BCIT.

BM 01 is Foundation, BM 02 is Level 2 Upgrade, BM 03 is Level 3 Upgrade, BM 04 is Level 4 Refresher Course, BM IP is Boilermaker Inter-Provincial Red Seal.

Training Levels0-1000
Hours
1-2000
Hours
2-3000
Hours
3-4000
Hours
4-5000
Hours
5000+
Hours
Total Apprentices
Totals724161010067
BM - 01 1300004
BM - 0239111015
BM - 03271053027
BM - 040000101
BM - IP15545020

Dispatchers’ Report

The month of March kicked off our 2019 shutdown season.  Harmac in Nanaimo employed 200 Boilermakers between 2 contractors, CIMS and FMI.  Intercon and Husky in Prince George employed 125 Boilermakers between 3 contractors, CIMS, FARR and TVE.  We also had a hand full of emergencies which included Howe Sound, Powell River, Northwood and Mackenzie.  There also was a small crew for Geo Tech working at Catalyst in Crofton.  The John Hart Dam in Campbell River employed another 10 Boilermakers.  By the last week of March we had exhausted all of our members and had to reach out to our sister locals for Travel Cards, Retirees and Permits.

The Site ‘C’ Penstock Job with Groupe LAR also started hiring starting with a small crew of Boilermakers on March 25th, LAR should be hiring again soon.  Exact manpower numbers have not been disclosed as of yet.

Looking toward the end of April we have a small shutdown in Port Alberni for CIMS with a crew of 14 beginning April 24th for the prep, the shutdown set to go the 29th of April.

CIMS and TVE have also put in orders for a larger shutdown in Quesnel. The prep will start May 1st with a crew of 30.  The shutdown which starts on May 5th will most likely empty the out of work lists.  We may find ourselves looking for Travel Cards, Retired Members and Permits to fill the Quesnel order, please listen to the nightly tape.

 

 

Spring 2019 Pension Plan Update

Please click here to view the Spring 2019 Pension Plan update. This letter will be mailed to all active and retired field members on April the 11th.

2019 Annual Boilermaker Steelhead Derby

The 2019 Boilermakers Lodge 359 Steelhead Derby was held on Sunday, March 3rd on the Chilliwack/Vedder River. We had 16 participants this year. Registration looked to be down early with only 12 signed up. However, Brother Ross Casselman showed up with 3 friends to participate in the festivities, all of whom had been in a derby on Saturday. Although the fish weren’t fully co-operating that day, everyone who came enjoyed their time on the river while being amongst friends, brothers and sisters.

The winner of the 2019 derby was long time participant Ray Rigolo, with a 5lb, 7oz Steelhead.

Ray won a prize of $160, half of the entry fees collected, while the other half will be donated to West Coast Boilermakers. We’d like to thank the sponsors, CIMS, Cabela’s and Sea-Run Fly and Tackle for their generous donations that helped make this derby possible. Thank you to Brother Jason Swetlikoff for organizing the event and thank you to all those came out and participated. We hope to see everyone again next year!

New Boilermaker Apparel

Just wanted to update the membership that we now offer shipping for apparel orders. If you wish to place an order, please contact Jamie White at our general office or by email at jwhite@boilermakers359.org. We suggest ordering by email so the phone lines stay open for business calls and it’s easier to track the orders. However if you do have any questions don’t hesitate to call. It will be the MEMBERS responsibility to cover the cost of shipping and a Credit Card will have to be provided for the order to be processed.

Before any items are shipped, Jamie will contact the member and confirm the total cost for the apparel + shipping.

*Please note that Ethica brand items do fit a little smaller. I’ve found that most are ordering one size up from what they usually wear. Therefore, if one normally wears a large, they should choose X-large. This is just applicable for the new apparel line provided by Ethica. (Photos and pricing chart below.)

 

Union Craft Inspires Art For Lodge 359 Member

Boilermakers and artists have quite a bit in common says Hilary Peach, a Lodge 359 (Vancouver, British Columbia) member who wields a welding torch as well as a pen. She finds that many artists acquire day jobs in the trades. As an artist who is skilled in several mediums, and as a Boilermaker, she understands why.

“Boilermakers are welders and mechanics, fabricators and riggers,” Peach says, noting that likewise, interdisciplinary artists master a variety of different art forms. That’s something that drew her to the union.

Peach discovered the Boilermakers after she finished her undergraduate degree in theater and literature at the University of British Columbia. That’s when she realized she needed a parallel career.

“If you have an art practice, you learn pretty fast that you’d better get another job to make a living,” Peach says.

In addition to traveling out of Local 359 doing pressure welding and other jobs in confined spaces, Peach is a sculptor, poet, filmmaker and writer — her debut poetry book “Bolt” came out in July. She’s also a spoken word performance artist who has graced stages all over the globe.

If that’s not enough, Peach has her own blacksmith shop on Gabriola Island in British Columbia, where she lives. In her 12-by-12 shop, she teaches beginning classes in blacksmithing, introducing seven different techniques during a three-hour session. She also uses the shop to complete small repair jobs for the island’s locals. And, she founded the Poetry Gabriola Society in 2000 and launched the Poetry Gabriola Festival — the island’s yearly arts festival.

Combining her craft and her creative mind, Peach has used her work as a Boilermaker to influence her art. In the early 2000s, she worked for five months across the U.S. on a travel card. She describes her time in the states as “interesting, challenging and eye-opening.”

“There’s something about traveling a long way from your comfort zone alone as a young woman,” Peach says. “There were a lot of narratives — stories attached to those different adventures.”

That five-month journey turned into a spoken recording titled “Suitcase Local,” performed with a live band. The recording features four pieces that were named after the different states where she worked. Eventually, she took “Suitcase Local” on tour as a live show.

Listen to Hilary Peach’s recordings of her performance art and discover her writings at www.hilarypeach.ca.

Peach fits her interdisciplinary art practice around her work as a Boilermaker. After 20 years in the field, she believes her two professions pair well.

“Someone gave me some good advice once: Follow your curiosity. It will lead you to unpredictable places. It might be a short story, a song, directing a film . . . you don’t always have to know,” Peach says. “Boilermakers have that. We’re all about problem solving. When I started in the union, I had a sense that ‘I can’t do this. I don’t know what to do about this.’ I now believe in my bones that I can fix anything. I can figure it out. Artists do that, too.”

This is one of many poems found in her new book, “Bolt,” published by Anvil Press, available now at www.anvilpress.com.

The Anvils Are Restless
and ramble out
onto the main road
rumbling the moonlight
their square hooves slow
as handwriting
deliberate as ice

in older times
they roamed more freely
in greater numbers
were less guarded
and so were we
scarred with chiselmarks
scorched with hope

anvils remember everything
every thing that they have
ever made
every blow and ring

and we
will make everything
or we say we will
or we want to
or we want to say
we will
make everything
out of everything
seamless and heavy
tender hammerblows
ringing bright as stone

anvils live for two hundred
or three hundred years
if they live at all
if they aren’t captured
during the dark times
confiscated and rendered
into arms

that was a long time ago

tonight
they are skittish
and on the move
making a break for it
they angle swaybacked
down the main road
swinging their great horns
from side to side
their breath
cool as smoke
the scent of something
tenderly uncertain
on the air.

Proof of Residency

The Union has learned that some Owner/Clients have been requesting that our contractors supply them with proof of residency for their employees regarding their Local Resident status. We just want to remind all of our members that there is historic language in our Collective Agreements that allows our Contractors to ask you for acceptable proof of residency. Normally this would be a Driver’s License or BCID, but if your residence is not up to date then you should be carrying some other form of proof of full time residency when going to a job site. This can include a recent utility bill, tax assessment, etc.., that carries your name and current address.

Sincerely,

Lodge 359 Staff.

Site C Dam – Penstocks

Site C Penstock Installation

As most of you are aware, the Boilermakers currently employed at the Site C Dam are working under a Special Project Needs Agreement (SPNA) negotiated for the Turbine and Generator project (T&G). This contract was awarded by BC Hydro to Voith Hydro Inc. Fabrication work of the T&G components is being performed on site by a company named Groupe LAR by way of a sub-contract from Voith Hydro.

Separate and apart from the T&G work at Site C is another large construction contract, the Generating Station and Spillways Civil Works. Within this scope of work are the Penstocks. BC Hydro has awarded this portion of work to Aecon-Flatiron-Dragados-EBC Partnership. Subsequently the joint venture partnership has awarded a sub-contract to Groupe LAR to construct the Penstocks.

Late last year, the Boilermakers held a vote at site in an attempt to certify Groupe LAR. As a part of the process, hearings were held at the Labour Relations Board (LRB) to determine the validity of the vote and to deal with any objections to the certification application.

From the beginning of the certification drive the outcome was unclear even though we were certain that members working for Groupe LAR would have voted 100% in favour. As a result of the uncertainty, in December of 2018 the Union engaged in talks with Employer about establishing an agreement similar to the T&G SPNA.

We are very pleased to announce that as of January 9, 2019 an agreement for the installation of the Penstocks and all attachments at Site C has been secured, work is set to begin as early as April of this year. In lieu of reaching this agreement the Union has withdrawn the certification application. The new Penstock SPNA is posted on our web page under Membership/Collective Agreements.

A little bit of background on this subject.

Early in 2018 the Boilermakers were approached by Groupe LAR and offered to sign on to a Poly-Party Collective Agreement signed by three trades, the Labourers, Operators and CMAW. At this time it was a take it or leave offer, with an ultimatum that if we declined then the Penstock work would be given to another affiliate, namely CMAW. This agreement was negotiated without the knowledge or consent of the BCBCBTU, the Bargaining Council.

Shortly after this initial meeting the application to have Groupe LAR certified was initiated with a looming fear that the Boilermakers could lose out on this opportunity in its entirety. After discussing a number of concerns with the contractor and hearing theirs, the Boilermakers were successful in resolving our differences through the bargaining process and withdrew the LRB certification application which could have gone either way.

Should the Boilermakers have lost the Groupe LAR certification application bid without bargaining an agreement then the Penstock work most certainly would have gone to others including the non-union.

January 2019 Field Benefits Reporter

Please click here to view the January 2019 issue of the Benefits Reporter.

January 2019 Newsletter

What Else You Can Do To Help Save A Life

Establishing a Drug-Free Workplace

To discourage substance abuse and promote rehabilitation through a policy, does the following:

  • Educates employees about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Makes employees aware of counseling and rehab services that are available.
  • Provides access to health insurance and substance abuse treatment.
  • Makes employees aware of the consequences of substance abuse in the workplace.

The losses associated with employee drug abuse can include not only missed hours and higher worker’s compensation costs but also higher insurance rates along with damage to our reputation in the industry.

Employees who are using drugs and alcohol on a regular basis are more likely to steal from their employers, lie or transfer the blame for their mistakes onto other workers. Giving our members the opportunity to go through a comprehensive rehab program — possibly for the first time — can ultimately save someone’s life.

The creation of a drug-free workplace isn’t just about drug testing or having penalties for employees who use drugs. Employers should understand that a substance use disorder is a health condition. This is a condition that can be addressed with treatment, just like any other health issue.

How to Identify Fellow Members Who Need Help with Substance Abuse

It’s not always easy to identify who has a substance use disorder.

While some alcoholic workers may take a “liquid lunch” or a drug addict may nod off at his work station, many who abuse substances are high-functioning workers. An employee may never use drugs or alcohol at work. However, he or she may call in sick frequently or display agitated, aggressive or unfocused behavior on the job.

There are various other ways you can identify signs of substance abuse other than missing work and being intoxicated on the job.

Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Changes in behavior or personality
  • Poor hygiene
  • More time is needed to do familiar tasks with sudden displays of confusion
  • Increase in poor decisions and/or bad judgment

You should keep in mind that some of the signs of substance abuse may indicate that the person has depression, anxiety or another health concern. For this reason, to get to the heart of an issue requires sensitivity, empathy and careful judgment.

How to Support Your Fellow Members in Recovery

It can be difficult to seek drug and alcohol rehab, especially for those who refuses to get help.

Denial is a hallmark of drug addiction and alcoholism. It may take months or years for a person with a substance abuse problem to admit that they’re chemically dependent.

Members who do seek help should be encouraged to use their benefits confidentially and without penalties. Employers must also be firm as well as supportive. As an individual can be held accountable if they don’t seek treatment or continue to use drugs and alcohol. Members should understand that if they refuse to seek treatment there can be serious consequences.

An individual who has just completed an addiction treatment program will need support from their fellow members.

Education is the first step in helping them stay drug-free. Make it clear to them that resources are available if they need help dealing with a possible substance abuse relapse.

Help is Available

If you or someone you know needs overdose prevention or substance use support, please consult your family doctor or dial 811, (a free telephone resource that provides 24/7 non-emergency advice and support offered by the B.C. Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions). 

Your Member and Family Assistance Program (MFAP) Toll Free 1-800-663-1142

Your Construction Industry Rehabilitation Plan (CIRP) Toll Free 1-888-521-8611

How You Can Help When Talking with Members

Be respectful when speaking about the facts and risks of using substances.  Educate yourself so you can answer questions. If you don’t know the answers, offer to look for them together.  Look for natural opportunities to discuss substance use and decision-making. Tie-in stories from the news and social media. Talk about why people use substances and the potential consequences and focus on your concerns for their safety rather than what’s right or wrong, good or bad.

  • Become informed – Learn about the common substances used by people. Know the signs of being under the influence
  • Be a good listener – Give room to take part and ask questions. Remember to respect their opinions
  • Stick to the facts – Avoid preaching, scare tactics and exaggeration. Research shows these tactics don’t work, and may lead to a loss of trust
  • Be open – Ask questions about what they’re hearing, seeing or have learned.

 When and Where is The Best Place to Have a Talk?

Choose a time when the person is free from distraction and avoid starting the conversation when you are feeling upset, angry or other strong emotions. Choose a place that feels comfortable for the person. Switch off your phone so you won’t be interrupted. Sitting beside or at an angle to the person is sometimes better than sitting directly in front of the person, as it is less confrontational. Some people may find it’s easier to engage in a conversation when they are working together to talk things over. You can start the conversation by inviting the person to talk.  

You might ask:

  • “Is it o.k. if I talk to you about something important?” 

Set aside your fear/worry and focus on speaking from your heart that you care about this person (otherwise they might interpret your concern as nagging or lecturing).

You could say:

  • “I want you to know that I am concerned and care about you and that I’m here no matter what. I see that you’re struggling with something. Please help me understand what’s happening.” 

Listen without judgement or blame or it will shut the conversation down. Work together to create a shared understanding of the risks of using illicit drugs or alcohol.

Together, we can help knock down the walls of silence that keep people from talking about substance use and is an important step towards addressing the overdose crisis in British Columbia, especially in the Construction Trades. Recognizing that people who use drugs are real people and helps to put a human face behind the numbers of so many preventable tragedies.

This article was written in the memory of the Brothers and Sisters we have lost to this devastating crisis.

Thank You

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank both Ken Noga and Al Dingwall for their years of dedicated and loyal hard work to this Lodge and its membership. As of December 31, 2018, both Ken and Al have departed from their administrative positions with Lodge 359 and have left two very big pairs of shoes to fill. Whether you knew them personally or had an opportunity over the years to get to know either of them, their incredible hard work will be sorely missed.

With the vacancies in both Dispatch and a Business Representative position, I wanted to welcome Brother Sat Chatta to the Dispatch and Brother Jeremy Kwok to the Business Representative position. Both of these members have a big task ahead of them in learning just what goes into representing this great Union and its membership, but I am more than confident that both will do so with the upmost respect and diligence.  

Business Manager/Secretary Treasurer Jordan Streng

A Reminder To All Members

With a new year upon us and new challenges ahead I wanted to remind all members of the importance of keeping your information up to date. Whether this be a change of address or dispatch contact number, safety certifications, beneficiary information or other relevant information, it is crucial that we as members understand the importance of keeping our records current.

Over the last few years we have experienced a number of untimely passing’s, and what can lead to further heartache and devastation is not having an up to date beneficiary card or information pertaining to this person on file. If you have moved which many of us do, not receiving mail can become of critical importance when you do not update your home address to both the Boilermakers Lodge 359 as well as our plan administrator at Bilsland Griffiths Benefit Administrators.

This is a friendly reminder that a quick call can save a lot of frustration in the future over missed payments or letters etc. If you are unsure if your information is current, please take the time to check into this by calling either the Boilermakers @ 778-369-3590 or our Administrator @ 1-877-926-4537.

Health and Welfare

A friendly reminder that all inquiries regarding Health and Welfare issues should first be directed to our Plan’s administrator (Bilsland Griffiths Benefit Administrators). If after contacting the administrator, issues remain unresolved then please contact a Union representative for further assistance.

This last spring there was an influx of self-pay appeals. A vast majority of these appeals come forward when members are out of town working and come home to find that they have missed a payment. When you are called for work we suggest that you call or email the administrators office to inquire about your self-pay status. Toll Free: 1.877.9BOILER (1.877.926.4537) or boilermakers359@bgbenefitsadmin.com

The self-pay appeal is a one-time only deal which means it is vital that all members take the time to keep their benefit payments up to date. Benefits can be paid online, under the “Benefits” tab on our website, in person at the administrator’s office or by mail.

The membership needs to also understand that even though you may be currently working, remittances made by the contractor to the plan takes time to be submitted and processed. When working outside of the province, remittances can take up to six months before the administrator receives them.

In conclusion, whether you are at work or not you should always be aware of your hour bank status. Benefits entitlement is very important to each and every member. The last thing that you would ever want to happen is to be without in a time of need.

Executive Board Update

Now that the New Year is upon us, the Executive Board would like to take this opportunity to discuss some of the issues that were brought to our attention in 2018

Job Ready Dispatch – There are still a number of members who have yet to complete the required courses in order to be ‘Job Ready’.

This program was implemented last February and became mandatory as of September 2018. If you have not yet completed your job ready training then you are ineligible for dispatch, this includes everyone who works under the terms of the BCA and CLR collective agreements, which includes General Foreperson(s), Foreperson(s), Journey-person(s), Apprentice(s), Travel Cards and Permits.

There have been some instances where emails were not received and therefore no certifications were put on file. If you feel that you have sent in your certificates but they are not on your file, please contact the training coordinators office and inquire.

All other information on the Job Ready dispatch can be found on the Union’s website in the archives (February 2018 https://www.boilermakers359.org/job-ready-dispatch/ or https://www.boilermakers359.org/sample-jrd-certificates-receipts/ )

Apprentice and Pro-Jo Reports – A friendly reminder that reports (good and bad) are key to the success of our organization. This information enables the Executive Board to render proper decisions when they are presented with concerns about new members. Both Apprentice and Pro-Jo reports can be found on our website and can be completed online or can be printed.

Reports are also not limited to Apprentices and Probationary Journeymen. In 2018 the Executive Board received many letters from members from other locals requesting a transfer to Lodge 359. With the anticipation of a work scope that will require skilled Boilermakers for the upcoming years and with an increasing number of members retiring, we may look to expand our membership with transfers from other Local Lodges. This makes it just as important to send in letters on behalf of potential transfer candidates so we have a good understanding of who we may be accepting into our local. 

The Executive Board would like to note that this is not a squeal service, it is vital that we manage ourselves in a manner that assures we are providing the best possible trades-persons and service to our clients.

  • Dues Reminder – As of January 1, 2019 the International Headquarters issued an increase to monthly dues to the rate of $47.80 per month. It is the sole responsibility of each individual member to keep their dues up to date. Dues can be paid in person or online through your MemberLink account. Members who fall two months in arrears shall be automatically suspended from all rights, privileges, and benefits of the International Brotherhood.

  • Boilermaker 359 Apparel – New union apparel has been ordered and is expected to be here by the end of January. There will be new styles of hoodies, Men’s and women’s t-shirts and long sleeve shirts. All apparel can be purchased at the Union office.

The members of the Executive board would like to wish everyone a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2019.

Children’s Christmas Party

On December 8th, Boilermakers Lodge 359 held the annual Kids Christmas party. A Star Events Team painted faces and made balloon animals.  The children had a blast while decorating their own gingerbread people, collecting candy from the Piñata and munching on the tasty food brought by Picnic in the Park Catering. The smiles on everyone’s face grew even larger when Santa made an appearance bringing his jolly spirit and gifts for all the children. A big thank you to the membership for approving the necessary funds to hold this special event and to those who helped plan and organize such a great day. Please clink on the link (https://www.facebook.com/pg/Boilermakers359/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2392370067446470) to see all of the photos from the party, we look forward to seeing everyone again next year!

Boilermaker Lodge 359 Shops

BM&M Screening Solutions (previously Burnaby Mill and Machine) was just recently sold by its long time owners, Peter and Dave Humphries, to Hillenbrand Inc. Hillenbrand is a large publicly traded company that owns similar businesses and is based in the USA. BM&M has been a unionized Boilermaker Shop for around forty years and we look forward to working with the new ownership long into the future.

Peerless is very busy and looking for new employees, particularly production welders. If you know of any welders, especially entry level welders, looking to live and work in Penticton you can tell them to send us their resume and we will forward it along to Peerless.

IST Boiler was bought out of receivership this past summer, and then went into full production mode supplying tube platens for the Northwood boiler job that progressed into a major wall replacement. We have heard from multiple sources that the quality of work on the supplied parts was exceptional, and we would like to give a shout out to our members at IST Boiler for the time and effort put in under tight timelines and with evolving specifications. It was much appreciated at the jobsite too.

Quality Control Council Canada

It was a busy year for the QCCC membership in BC, and looks to be busy again in 2019. There were quite a few new members brought in to the Pacific Region over the year, especially in the shipyards. If you are working alongside a new member, or a probationary member, it’s a good chance to discuss the importance of our Union in the province and the benefits that working Union can provide. Although there is a push through our National Training Society for an “apprenticeship” type program for QCCC, it’s a long road and we’re not there yet.

It can be daunting for entry level workers, especially the younger ones, to understand what’s required to move up in the NDT industry and make it a career. This includes things like what’s available to them for training and how to get it, and what substantial benefits and pension packages can do for them over a long career. This is where mentorship by our experienced membership is invaluable. Please take the time to engage and involve the new faces you see out there, and pass along your knowledge and experience to those coming up behind you. Of course, if anyone has any questions please don’t hesitate to call your Pacific Region Reps.

Apprenticeship and Trade Advancement

  • The Boilermakers annual Christmas meeting was held December 5th at the Cascades Casino in Langley. During the Christmas meeting the annual Cody Brothers Bursary was awarded. Brother Rick Cody on behalf of his brothers presented Dustin Cable with a cheque for $400.00 in recognition of his commitment and hard work during his apprenticeship.

  • Horton CBI weld testing took place at the Boilermaker Training Centre during the month of November. Members were tested for the Pembina Spherical tanks in Prince Rupert. We have the weld procedure for anyone wishing to practice or review. Sheldon is available for anyone wishing to practice or upgrade on most Mondays and Tuesdays.

  • A combination Aerial boom and Scissor Lift course was held November 29 with twelve members receiving certification on both Scissor Lift and Aerial Boom Lift.

  • A Forklift Certification course was held November 27with twelve members receiving Forklift Certification

  • Boilermaker Foundation course is being held from March 26 through August 31at BCIT

  • Boilermaker Level 03 is being held from November 19 through December. 21 at BCIT.

  • Boilermaker Level 02 is being held from January 7 through February. 8 at BCIT.

  • Boilermaker Level 04 will be held January 7 through January 18 at the Joe Kiwior/Ivan Shook Training Centre.

  • The 2018 Apprentice Awards Banquet was held late last year in Ottawa on September 5. The 2018 top student that attended the tripartite conference and Apprentice Banquet was Collin Robertson. Collin represented Lodge 359 as the top apprentice for 2018.

  • A two day Job Steward training course will held January 29 and January 30 at the Boilermaker Training Centre for members only. To register you can call the general office at 778-369-3590.

BM 01 is Foundation, BM 02 is Level 2 Upgrade, BM 03 is Level 3 Upgrade, BM 04 is Level 4 Refresher Course, BM IP is Boilermaker Inter-Provincial Red Seal.

Training Levels0-1000
Hours
1-2000
Hours
2-3000
Hours
3-4000
Hours
4-5000
Hours
5000+
Hours
Total Apprentices
Totals202513105578
BM - 01 84000012
BM - 021115520235
BM - 0316422217
BM - 040000000
BM - IP00463114
Dispatchers Report

Happy New Year to the members of 359.

With the New Year upon us I would encourage the members to make sure their dues are up to date, Job Ready Dispatch certificates have been uploaded into the union’s database and dispatch phone number is correct.  Although January is traditionally a slow time of the year we do have some jobs that will be going forward.

Lafarge should be kicking off the year with a shutdown in their Cement Plant starting January 14, 2019.  Followed by another shutdown in early February.  Lafarge has not released any manpower or duration estimates at this time.

There will also be a small crew of four Boilermakers going to John Hart Dam to perform demolition work on the existing penstock, surge tower and power house.  Keep in mind, this job does have a local hire provision.

CIMS will be working at Parkland (Chevron) in the Poly/Penex unit starting February 4, 2019.  This shutdown will last approximately 2 weeks with a crew of fifty Boilermakers.  These fifty Boilermakers will be in addition to the maintenance crew.  CIMS will also be going into Covanta early March for a small Boiler Shutdown.  This will lead us right into the regular spring shutdown season.

Group Lar is the contractor at Site C, we currently have a small crew of six Boilermakers there. They should be bumping up the crew in the coming weeks, exact manpower numbers have not been determined as of yet.  The SPNA has been uploaded to the Boilermaker 359 website, members are encouraged to have a read.

Horton is building 3 Spherical Tanks in Prince Rupert we currently have twenty Boilermakers on site and should be doubling the size of the crew at peak production.  This jobs offers flights from 6 major hubs Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Prince George, Kelowna and Kamloops.  The enabled agreement https://www.boilermakers359.org/wp-content/uploads/2018_02_26Enabling_Signed.pdf has been uploaded to the Boilermaker 359 website, members are encouraged to have a read.

Local 191 Victoria Shipyard are anticipating a busy year.  They will be looking for travel cards late January.

Local 128 will also be looking for travel starting March, they will have two major shutdowns in Sarnia and Nanticoke as well the ongoing work at the Nuclear Plants.  Be advised that nuclear clearance does take four to six weeks.  Also the province of Ontario requires everyone to complete an online WHMIS 15 course.  Working at heights and Confined Space courses that are specific to that province, OSSA tickets will not be accepted.  These courses are held at the Burlington office and can be completed in one day.  Please call the Local Lodge 128 office and arrange for these courses prior to heading out to Ontario, as they are mandatory.

We will be reaching out to our contractors in order to come up with a 2019 Rumour List for the members.  Keep in mind it is only a Rumour List!!

2018/2019 Boilermaker Scholarships

Please be advised that the Boilermaker scholarships notification letter complete with detailed instructions has been posted on the Membership Services page.