Good day Brothers and Sisters
Currently Local 110 has open work for over one hundred Journeyman Mechanical Insulators. Most of these calls are for work in Northern Alberta under the National Maintenance or General Presidents Maintenance Agreements. These contractors have exhausted the local workforce to the point that the clients have started providing flights and transportation across Canada to try and attract Mechanical Insulators, unfortunately this also has not had the desired effect.
Over the last few months a number of non-union companies have been contacting Local 110 looking to secure Mechanical Insulators to man their projects across Alberta. Most agree that the pool of Mechanical Insulators has drastically diminished over the last year. In the past when they would advertise insulator positions it was common to have between two to three hundred applicants with varying degrees of experience. Now the same advertisements are yielding only forty to fifty applicants and in most cases, these applicants possess limited experience in our field. This demonstrates that the problem is not a Union or non-union issue, but rather it is an industry wide issue. Therefore, as an industry, we will need to find a long term solution.
Since early August I have been meeting with contractors and clients, trying to find a short term solution to the sudden need for Mechanical Insulators in Northern Alberta. With all the possible programs and incentives that could be put into place the only solution that I have found would be to reinstate Double Time overtime for Mechanical Insulators working on these projects.
When Double Time was removed from the National Maintenance and General Presidents Maintenance Agreements it was with limited work on the horizon and a large unemployed group of mechanical trades such as Pipefitters and Electricians. As these trades decreased in man hours worked, our man hours have increased and are continuing to increase. As we all know, this trend will not continue; however in the short term, to bring the required number of Mechanical Insulators to Northern Alberta, the cross-trade terms of these agreements need to be put aside and trades such as ours that are being squeezed for manpower need to be provided with compensation equal to, if not above, what is outlined in the Provincial Construction Collective Agreements.