Site C Dam

Lodge 359 Boilermakers are building and assembling 84 of these sections over the next few years to create the six penstocks for the Site C generating station. (Photo taken May 2019)

After moving individual sections from a fabrication shop in Fort St. John, Boilermakers assemble the penstocks on site. This is one of six transition pieces which will funnel water from the river into each individual penstock. (Photo taken May 2019)

Once operational, water enters turbines through large spiral-shaped pipes known as spiral cases or scroll casings that are made of formed and welded steel plates. The bottom section of a spiral case is welded by a robot at the on-site manufacturing shop. (Photo taken February 2019)

A Boilermaker welder works on part of the spiral case in the on-site Turbines and Generators manufacturing facility. (Photo taken January 2019)

Overhead cranes in the work shop in Fort St. John where Penstock section parts are assembled. Penstocks are 8 meters in diameter and move water from the river intakes to the turbines. (Photo taken January 2019)

A thrust-ring half section that was fabricated in our on-site Turbines and Generators manufacturing facility that was rigged onto a flatbed trailer will be transported to the lay down area for future installation between the penstock and spiral case. (Photo taken June 2019)

 

Children’s Heart Weekend

Larry and Lester Cousins are frequent visitors at our lodge (Critter Cove) and members of the Boilermakers, and were gracious enough to request that the 359 Boilermakers donate to our annual charity event the Children’s Heart Weekend. We thought you guys may want to see the photos from last years event. We will also send the ones from this year once we upload them all.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/brent_reid/albums/72157670837895438

Thanks again – Bryce

2019 Boilermaker Golf Tournament Update

Lodge 359 is pleased to announce that the 2019 Boilermaker Golf Tournament registration is now closed and fully booked to capacity.

We are hoping for another good weather day for golf and festivities for all.

 

Business Managers Update – 2019 BCBCBTU/CLRA Bargaining

On Monday June the 3rd, the Chair of the BC Labour Relations Board (LRB) imposed her decision to conclude the 2019 round of bargaining between the CLRA and the BCBCBTU (British Columbia Building and Construction Trades Council) which unfortunately contains some unfavorable results for the council affiliates.

Due to there being an industry wide bargaining “Protocol Agreement” in place, and the CLRA’s inability to bargain in what can only be described as anything but good faith, the Bargaining Council was not afforded the opportunity to ratify the agreement by way of a membership vote.

The Chair of the Labor Relations Board has imposed a binding settlement utilizing a mediators recommendation, as well as some of the agreed upon items by the Bargaining Council and the CLRA. The key area that the will impact all Industrial Agreements within the BCBCBTU, is the elimination of the double time (2x) on Saturdays which has been reduced to time and one half (1.5x) for the first 10 hours. This will take effect July 01, 2019 with all other changes effective June 17, 2019.

In early 2015, the LRB made a decision requiring a “Protocol Agreement” for each future round of bargaining, because of the long delays that had occurred in previous rounds of bargaining.  A Protocol Agreement contains rules for how bargaining is conducted.  In my opinion, it became quite apparent that the CLRA’s position was to try and force this round of bargaining into Interest Binding Arbitration at some point under the guidelines of the protocol.

The CLRA had proposed many concessionary items to each affiliates agreements which the Council had argued against vehemently, but the one item that worried everyone was a proposal called Favored Nations. This item was extremely nefarious in its core and would undermine all bargaining going forward had it been allowed into the collective agreements.

The Bargaining Council sought to take a strike vote and withdrew all of its proposals for the 2019 round of bargaining other than wages, and had informed the CLRA that we would be rejecting all proposals sought by the CLRA other than term. We had a unanimous vote by the Council in favor of strike and informed the LRB of this decision in late January.

The Protocol was then extended by the LRB to allow the parties more time to continue to bargain which inevitably led to additional extensions of time and also included the use of a Board appointed mediator.  The CLRA broke off bargaining many times and insisted that the Board rule in favor of sending the matter before an arbitrator to be decided.

By the end of May the Council had a mediator recommendation brought forward in an attempt to try and settle negotiations which neither party could agree too, which then ultimately led bargaining to one of two options.

The first was to send the councils final best offer proposal and the CLRA’s final best offer proposal to an unknown arbitrator for what is called “final offer selection” in which one parties proposal would be selected. This is an extremely unfavorable option in my opinion as the outcome could be devastating should the CLRA’s proposal offer be the one selected.

The second and final option to conclude bargaining was to have the chair of the LRB make a decision on how to conclude bargaining through an imposed decision which ultimately was what took place. On June 3rd the decision by the Labour Relations Board was issued and this round of bargaining concluded with the elimination of Saturday’s double time.

We will be attending upcoming job site’s to inform the membership of all of the details and to answer as best as we can any and all questions you may have regarding the final outcome of this round of bargaining.

We encourage all members to call and speak with a representative should questions of uncertainty or clarity be requested. I have added three documents for your reference regarding the process and settlement, please take the time to read each.

Background to the Settlement of the 2019-2023 Collective Agreement: please click here

Mediator’s Recommendations for the Renewal of the 2016 – 2019 Collective Agreement: please click here

LRB Decision Concluding Collective Bargaining: Case No. 71918: please click here

Fraternally,

Jordan Streng
Business Manager/Secretary Treasurer

Workers Compensation Board Review

Please visit the link below, and also read this announcement letter ( click here ) regarding a WCB Review that is being undertaken by the British Columbia provincial government.

In addition to our Union’s submission to the review, it is important that injured workers stories are heard. It is of utmost importance that we try our hardest to reverse what the previous government has done to the WCB since 2003. https://engage.gov.bc.ca/workerscompensationreview/

Important Message From The Training Coordinator

Technical Safety BC and the Industry Training Authority (ITA) have provided the Union with the following email regarding changes to the pressure welding program.

As these changes will affect a majority of our member welders I cannot stress how important that it is for you to read the email which includes several important links and to provide your feedback to Meryl Howell-Fellows of Technical Safety BC.

From: Technical Safety BC Stakeholder Engagement [mailto:engage@technicalsafetybc.ca]
Sent: May 21, 2019 4:10 PM
To: ‘gweel@boilermakers359.org’
Subject: Feedback on new pressure welder program

Good afternoon, Gordon:

Technical Safety BC invites you and your members to comment on the new pressure welder program and associated fees, which will be introduced in December 2019. Please forward this information to your members, who may be interested in the upcoming changes.

Read details on the new program.

The changes are designed to align with ITABC’s new red seal program for welders. As part of the new program:

  • Three new classes of pressure welder certificates of qualification are introduced:
    • Class A can perform registered pressure welds on any pressure equipment in BC. Pressure welders already working in the industry can apply to transition for a Class A pressure welder certificate of qualification, with no application or evaluation fee, provided they meet all transition criteria. Read the detailed transition requirements. Class A pressure welders will also need to complete a practical test every three years to renew their certificate.
    • Class R can perform a limited scope of pressure welding work on specific equipment or sites.
    • Class IT can perform pressure welds as an apprentice under supervision, which allows apprentice welders to obtain practical experience welding on regulated pressure equipment that previously was not possible.
  • New applicants for the Class A, Class R, and Class IT classes of pressure welding certificate of qualification will need to complete a practical test for their certification at a facility that can accommodate these tests; and
  • Recognized testing administrators will be responsible for recording the successful completion of welding performance qualification tests in welders’ logbooks.

Throughout May to July, we will be gathering industry feedback on the new program and the associated fees. If the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers is interested, we would like to meet with you to get your thoughts on whether the new pressure welder program works for your members, whether you think the proposed fees are reasonable, suggested improvements to the program, and the reasons behind your opinions. You are also welcome to complete the online feedback form or attend an upcoming online meeting, and please let us know if you think an in-person meeting in your area would be well attended.

Please contact me at engage@technicalsafetybc.ca and we can arrange a meeting date at your convenience, either via video conference or in person. Thank you for your interest and I look forward to hearing from you.

Kindest regards,

Meryl Howell-Fellows

 

Meryl Howell-Fellows | Business Partner, Stakeholder Engagement

TECHNICAL SAFETY BC | Safe technical systems. Everywhere.

Toll-free: 1 866 566 7233

Suite 600 – 2889 East 12th Avenue, Vancouver, BC  V5M 4T5

technicalsafetybc.ca

BC Substance Abuse Testing Policy Update

Please be advised that the Construction Industry of British Columbia Substance Abuse Testing and Treatment Program Policy has been updated due to the legalization of Cannabis and the subsequent changes in the Criminal Code related to the use of the substance while in operation of a motor vehicle, and need for the Policy to be relevant for our owner/clients.

Please click here to view the interpretation bulletin.

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!