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September 2016 Newsletter

Sep 19, 2016

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33rd Consolidated Convention Report

Our members elect local lodge officers and delegates to the Consolidated Convention held every five years. For this 33rd Consolidated Convention held on July 18th to July 21st, 2016 local 359 members were able to send 7 delegates; Dave French, Jordan Streng, Gord Weel, Jim Wymer, Palmer Allan, Ken Noga and by virtue of office Business Manager Martin Nicholson.

This Convention was held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas where the delegates set forth the rules and policies for the next 5 years, which is both a serious responsibility and a privilege.

Our first day started with a speech from International President Newton Jones on 3 gigantic screens that projected video footage and images of boilermakers at work comparing music to the boilermaker craft like a musician, the work, practice, sacrifice and dedication of a boilermaker often goes unseen”. This was followed by guest speakers which included topics about the United Mine Workers to the plight of the working class in a nation where unions are under attack, the middle class is shrinking and the divide between the ultra-rich and everyone else continues to grow. Retired U.S. navy seal Marcus Luttrell, the author of “Lone Survivor” the basis for the 2013 movie comparing the battle field to everyday life, reminding the delegates that “anything is possible if you just work hard at it”. Then we were given the officers report along with other documents to include a program of sessions and events, a directory of committees, a book of resolutions and supplemental reports that would be prepared during the convention as needed. All in all a very overwhelming experience for well over half of the delegates being their first time by show of hands. In the afternoon we held the first election for IP, won by Newton Jones with 87% of the vote to defeat Local 83 member Darryl Manroe. In the 3 other contested elections, International Secretary-Treasurer William Creeden received 86% of the vote to defeat local 104 Business manager Brian Opland, International Vice President for Canada, Joe Maloney received 89% of the vote to defeat local 359 Assistant Business Manager Ken Noga, and International Vice President for the Northeast Dave Haggerty Received 95% of the vote to defeat local 29 President Mike Hancock. Three International officers faced no opposition and were elected by acclamation, Larry McManamon – IVP Great Lakes, Tom Baca- IVP Western States, and Warren Fairley  IVP Southeast.

The second day Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) President Hassan Yussuff took the stage to update delegates on its recent gains and current battles which included a new Liberal party Prime Minister after nine and a half years of right wing torture and tormenting by a Conservative government. The Supreme Court ruling the fundamental right to strike, and declaring workers have the right to choose a union free of intervention. Yussuff spoke about several battles the CLC is engaged including Bill C-377, which passed just before the election of the new Prime Minister. The bill dictates onerous public reporting rules on union finances and political activities. Yussuff said unions would not provide financial information to our enemies, its an unjust, undemocratic law in our country. Another battle is over the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement. “It’s destroying jobs” and must not be ratified in Canada. Other issues include a national ban of all asbestos mining and a favorable temporary worker program. The Constitution and Law Committee got off to a slow start with issues stretching out the debate and several roll call votes slowed the committee’s report. The Law Committee proposed raising the strike pay from $150 to $200 and finally a new motion was made and passed from the floor to $250. Other resolutions also met with vigorous debate:

  • A motion to withdraw delegates-at-large credentials was defeated, following discussions about the importance of experienced and knowledgeable International reps and other International staff having a voice at convention.
  • A motion to switch to electronic voting was withdrawn after discussions about cost, difficulties for those not familiar with electronic devices and the need for delegates to speak their minds on the floor rather than press a button.
  • A motion to require that International Vice Presidents be elected only by the members from their IVP section failed, following debate over whether that would divide the union.
  • A motion to require that International Officer vacancies be filled by an election of all members rather than being appointed was defeated, as delegates debated the issues of cost , delays in filling vacancies, and other issues. An amendment to that amendment also failed.
  • Also defeated were motions to require the election of International Representatives and reducing severance pay for International Officers.

The third day resumed its report from the Law Committee and once again delegates rose to voice their views, and in the only roll call vote of the day some delegates challenged a provision of Article 33-Salary Adjustments. This Article allows the Executive Council to increase the International Presidents salary (and therefor the salaries of other International officers, International Reps and other International staff by up to 5% per year, providing the union is in good financial health). An amendment was made to reduce the 5% to 2.5% followed by a roll call vote in which IP Jones cast his vote for the law Committees recommendation of the 5% saying that he would have abstained from voting had the proposed amendment not impacted staff. Other International officers echoed those sentiments as the roll call vote unfolded with strong support for the Law Committee recommendation and adopting the 5% before the vote was halted an the initiator of the resolution withdrawing his amendment. Various Convention Committees took the stage to deliver their reports to the delegates which wrapped up its work on renewing the International Brotherhood Constitution and resolving more than 100 resolutions submitted to them. Three guest speakers were also heard, Assistant General Secretary, Kemal Ozkan stressed the need to work together in protecting workers rights to form collective bargaining agreements, living wages and guarantee safe workplaces. President of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, Robbie Hunter, with the help of construction trades passed Bill 54 which has improved safety at refineries for workers and the communities where the facilities were located. It also increased opportunities for trade workers, contractors and increased wages. The Chairman of North West Upgrading, Ian MacGregor spoke about his journey into clean energy, including the positive impact of carbon capture and storage with the first refinery to be built in Alberta, Canada in three decades at a cost of $8.5 billion. He said “Boilermakers are the logical leaders in this effort as you are on every project, you know the owners and you are well organized.”

Day four included the last guest speaker Michael Hayes, Director of the Office of Labour-Management Standards at the Department of Labour, addresses delegates on this final day of the convention regarding the DOLs new “Persuader Rule.” The rule requires employers who hire union-busting consultants, and the consultants themselves to file reports on their indirect activities. Hayes said that the main purpose of the rule was to give employees who are considering whether to join union information about any third party that has been hired to dissuade them from organizing. “We thought that it was right that [employees] should be able to access information about the anti-union messages that they are repeatedly hearing and seeing,” said Hayes. Opponents of unions are willing to spend a lot to bust unions and don’t have to report, but unions have to report dollars spent on organizing. This speech was followed by closing remarks and the adjournment of the 33rd Consolidated Convention. For more information on this event, you can visit the IBB website which includes films produced by the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers and Wide Awake Films for the 33rd Consolidated Convention.

The elected 359 delegates chosen for this 33rd Consolidated Convention would like to thank all those who voted for them, and greatly appreciated the opportunity to represent this great local as a unified team.

Sincerely and fraternally yours,
Dave French
Vice President, Business Representative

WCB Appeals

As many of our members are aware, there were a series of unfortunate incidents that occurred during the Pine River Turnaround in July 2014. Included in these incidents, were 3 individuals who had initiated exposure claims, two from the day shift and one from the night shift. All of the claims were protested by the employer and subsequently denied by WCB. A very lengthy process was then undertaken and the appeals of these claims began.

Update – August 2016

The Union has now been able to successfully appeal the two day shift claims with the night shift claim unfortunately remaining unchanged. It was through the gathering of pertinent medical evidence at the time of injury that the two individuals were eventually able to succeed with their appeals. The night shift member unfortunately did not have the same evidence of exposure, and more importantly lacked the required medical information that would have possibly allowed the decision to be varied in the form of acceptance as well.

The Takeaway

This is a reminder to all members who may suffer an injury or suspect they have been exposed to a toxic substance to immediately report to on site first aid and your employer. Then if your situation warrants a trip to a local practitioner or hospital, ask for any testing you feel should be done. This means if you believe you have been exposed to a substance at a work site you should request blood tests immediately and if possible explain to the doctor what you think you may have been exposed to. If you find yourself in a position of being unsure of what to do, request that you have a job steward present or contact the Union and speak to a representative.

The worst thing a member can do is hope that an injury/illness gets better on its own and wait to report it. This tends to be the starting stages of what can be a very lengthy and frustrating appeal process should an employer decide to protest the claim being made. More often than not claims that are not reported at the time of the incident are contested by the employer and quite possibly denied by WCB.

Any member who feels intimidated or coerced by an employer or their representatives for reporting an injury should contact the Union immediately as this is a violation of the WCB Act.

Hurt Your Back at Work?  Here’s What You Should Know

Many of the appeals that can happen concern back injuries that either:

  1. Aren’t accepted as arising from the work accident or work activity;
  2. Were accepted for a strain/sprain and the WCB has told the worker that it has resolved, when it has not; or
  3. Is diagnosed as a strain/sprain when it is really something more.

These situations can be complex and very confusing but it is important to act quickly to deal with them as an un-appealed decision letter can mean that you will have a tough time getting anything accepted in future.

When someone goes to their doctor complaining of back pain (whether it’s low back, mid-back, or neck) the doctor is likely to diagnose a sprain/strain. Doctors will tell you that if they hear hoof beats in the woods, they will first assume it’s horses because in most cases it is. However if there are reasons to think it is not horses, thats when they start to consider whether it may be zebras or any other hooved creature.

The same goes for back injuries. You will likely be diagnosed as suffering from a strain/sprain and your doctor or physiotherapist will expect it to resolve within 6 to 8 weeks. If your back pain does not resolve as expected however, then you should be sent for the appropriate tests to figure out if it may be something more; for example, a herniated disc.

We often have appeals where the family physician has started to suspect that this is the case and has asked the WCB to approve a visit to a specialist. The WCB has a deal with specialists in most fields that will provide expedited appointments so you don’t have to wait so long.

Often the WCB refuses to approve a specialist appointment. We can appeal this, but in the meantime you should get your doctor to make a referral under the Medical Services Plan. Although it will take longer, at least you know you will be seen at some point. If you see a specialist and are diagnosed with a herniated disc or some other injury that you and your doctor feel is a result of your work activity, you will need to ask the WCB to accept that condition. If they say no, you should appeal.

It is always important to see a specialist when your condition is not resolving as expected. The WCB will often just cut you off and say, your sprain/strain should be healed by now so if you are still experiencing pain, it must be unrelated to your work injury and it’s not our problem. In this case, it is again crucial that you appeal the decision. If you have a herniated disc and the WCB says it doesn’t come from your accident or activities at work and you DON’T appeal, you will be stuck for the rest of your life with a pre-existing non-work-related herniated disc. We can sometimes get around that but it is not easy.

The moral of the story is this: back injuries can be simple strains or they can be very complicated. If you hurt your back at work, and the WCB is not accepting it as their responsibility, something is wrong. You need to address that right away. Get some advice, file an appeal, don’t just shrug and give up. It is your right to appeal and you should use it!

Apprenticeship and Trade Advancement

The Canadian Boilermaker Apprenticeship Awards Banquet was held in conjunction with the Boilermaker owners appreciation day on August 25th in Edmonton. The Banquet and awards ceremony was held to acknowledge the top graduating apprentices from across Canada. Ned Josic was selected as the top Apprentice from Lodge 359 for his in class marks, hard work and attitude.

A Boilermaker foundation class graduated from BCIT in August. Top student Mathew Perrin received $500 dollars for achieving the highest marks.

A forklift certification course was held on August 23rd with nine members receiving certification.

Probationary Journeyperson Program

Apprenticeship and Training is now looking after the Pro-Jo program. Pro-Jo inquiries and reports can be sent Gord Weel.

Coordinators Report

The table below represents 5 levels of Apprentice training achieved as compared to the total number of work hours for each level and the number of Apprentices which fall into each level.

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.

BM – 01 29 1 0 0 0 0 30
BM – 02 23 10 6 3 0 0 42
BM – 03 2 6 8 3 2 0 21
BM – 04 1 0 1 1 1 0 4
BM – IP 2 14 12 5 10 0 43
TOTALS 57 31 27 12 13 0 140

The table below is the Apprentice training schedule for the remainder of 2016.

Course Type Location Dates
Apprentice Level 2 Upgrade BCIT October 17th – November 18th
Apprentice Level 3 Upgrade BCIT November 21st – December 23rd
Aerial Platform Certification Joe Kiwior/Ivan Shook Training Centre October
Forklift Certification Joe Kiwior/Ivan Shook Training Centre November

John Hart Dam

Mark-up meeting on August 18, 2016 with SNC-Lavalin and Alstom for the Power house T&G portion (3 draft tubes and scroll casings), as the ship just left China with all the pre-fabricated components. Boilermakers to start beginning of January 2017 with back to back shifts for 5 to 6 months with manpower peeking out around 10 to 12 per shift. Canron is to hold a mark-up meeting October 4th for the 3 Bypass Penstocks and scrubbers, said earlier they would have 3-4 members on site possibly in November to start site prep for the January 2017 start. Also with back to back shifts for 6 months plus, and manpower peeking out around 10 to 12  per shift. There is a local hire provision on this job for members who have been a resident for a minimum period of 6 months and within 90 road kilometres of the work site. A copy of the John Hart Dam collective agreement in on our website under the membership tab.

Site C

Voith Hydro was awarded the Turbines & Generators contract on April 06th. The Penstocks have not been awarded at this point (but lets keep our fingers crossed that this work is awarded to a signatory contractor). The peak potential for manpower is estimated around 35 boilermakers per shift starting approximately mid 2018 for up to 5 years, again with local hire provisions.

Travel Carding

Local 128 is accepting applications for nuclear security clearances which can take 3-6 months to process for a lot work starting next year especially for welders, at the Bruce, Pickering and Darlington nuclear generation stations. For more information call 128 main office in Burlington.

Lodge 359 Staff


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