Zoom Town Hall Meeting

Good day Union Family

Since March Local 110 has not been able to hold proper General Membership Meetings, due to the restrictions on gatherings that have been placed by the Provincial Government, and the International Office cancelling all meetings and elections until further notice. Each month I am hopeful that we will be provided authorization for meetings, that is why the Local 110 Executive Board has been meeting as close as possible to the end of the month, but it is clear that with the number of cases spiking in some areas we still have a long way to go.

In light of the situation Local 110 is going to attempt to have a “town hall” style meeting using Zoom. Obviously, Local 110 is not able to ensure that the information will not be recorded and or provided to individuals outside the Membership, so we will not be able to make motions or complete the financial report. The meeting will be in an information style focused on Bill 32 with BTA Executive Director Terry Parker, and Local 110 Bargaining. Members will be able to ask questions through an Email address provided during the meeting.

The meeting will take place Wednesday August 26, 2020 starting at 7:00 PM Mountain Standard Time.

The Zoom system has the ability to have video through the app on your computer or mobile device or the meeting can be attended through a call-in number from any phone. We need members who are interested in attending the meeting to email Dispatch@insulators110.com with your name and email address you want us to send the meeting access code.

This is the first time that we will be hosting a meeting with this number of people. If this works well more of this style of meetings will be scheduled, if not we will look into other options. If there are any questions, I can be reached at the Edmonton Union hall.

In solidarity

Kevin Lecht                                                                          

Business Manager

Reciprocal Agreements

Good day Union Family

As some of our membership knows, and some may not our Health and Welfare Fund and Pension Plan have Reciprocal Agreements with a number of Union plans across Canada. These include all Insulator funds in Canada, most of the Sheet Metal Worker funds, and a number of the Electrical, Pipefitter, Carpenter, and Labourer Plans.

These Agreements have been set up for basically two reason. The first is being able to send the funds collected on behalf of a worker to another Plan reduces the liability to your Plan. Once the money is transferred there is no more cost to your plan, this was a big help to our Pension Plan over the last few years, because we are not bearing the cost of people taking commuted value buyouts due to break in service. The second is for most employees on a short project will not complete enough hours to gain Health and Welfare benefits and depending on the pension laws of the province they may receive no value for the money being paid on their behalf to the Pension plan. So, these Agreements allow the money to follow the worker and obtain value for the money being paid on their behalf.

Reciprocal Agreements are signed in good faith between the plans, not the individual Unions or Locals. When working with a Reciprocal Agreement in place keep all of your documentation regarding the money paid on your behalf, and check with your plan administrator to ensure that proper amounts have been received on your behalf.

Currently, the Asbestos Workers Benefit Trust (Health and Welfare) and the Asbestos Workers Pension Plan are receiving reciprocal payments on behalf of a number of our members. Although as Business Manager, I am not provided the names of the members or where the payments are coming from it is my understanding that some of these payments are being made from Plans that are covering Wall to Wall Labour Agreements. This is concerning as these Agreements were not developed to have members working as Mechanical Insulators for other Unions. Just because there is a Reciprocal Agreement in place does not mean that Local 110 authorizes our members to work as Insulators for another Union. The jurisdiction of Local 110 ends at the boarders of Alberta and we do not provide dispatch slips or Salting Agreements for members working outside of our area.

With the change to legislation in Alberta more and more Unions will be enacting Wall to Wall Agreements. It is highly likely that some of these Unions will have Reciprocal Agreements with our Plans. It needs to be said that if a Member is working doing Mechanical Insulation work for another Union, that member is most likely in violation of Article XXIV Section 1 (g) and could be subject to charges by the Local Union. If this Member is working in another Locals jurisdiction that Local has the right to file inter local charges against our Members doing this work. These charges will be heard by the International General Executive Board and historically when found guilty the fine is set at $1500, however this amount could change at any point.

A big selling feature of our International to Clients is the ability of Local Unions to on a short notice bring in skilled Mechanical Insulators through our Travel Card System. This system allows Unions that have exhausted their local manpower to still fulfill their obligation to the Contractor. Local 110 has utilized this system extensively for the last twenty years, and without it could never have completed the Mega Projects across Alberta. However, if this advantage is lost due to Members willing to work for other Unions under Wall to Wall Agreements our jurisdiction will slowly be eroded until the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Works will no longer exist and the Mechanical Insulation trade will be represented as a sub sector of a larger Union and most likely not given the attention or respect our trade deserves.

Hopefully I have provided some much-needed clarity on these issues. If you have any questions, comments, or queries please contact me at the Edmonton Union hall.

In solidarity

Kevin Lecht                                                                          

Business Manager

Masks in Public

Good day Union Family

Today Edmonton City Council has made it mandatory for people to wear masks in all indoor public spaces. This is a similar bylaw to the one made by the City of Calgary earlier this month.

To ensure that Local 110 is staying in compliance with the new city bylaw, face masks will be required for all individuals entering the Local 110 offices on or after August 1, 2020. Our International provided the Local with masks for all active members and a majority of these have been handed out to the members. If you have already received these masks the Local will not be able to supply you with a new mask, so please bring a mask with you.

I understand that everyone has their own views on wearing masks, and even in our office there is a spectrum of opinions on this issue. However, the Local does not have an option to follow the City bylaws, so I hope that all our members will understand that we have the same frustration as you do and comply with the mask requirement while conducting business at the Edmonton and Calgary offices.

Please follow the link for the news story on the new bylaw.

https://globalnews.ca/news/7222365/edmonton-covid-19-mandatory-mask-debate/

In solidarity

Kevin Lecht                                                                          

Business Manager

Bill 32

Good day Union Family

As the membership knows political engagement has been important to Local 110. Our Local has promoted the “Green Initiative” pushing for changes to the Master Specifications for Alberta Infrastructure to take on higher standards for Mechanical Insulation in Public Buildings. We have supported plans and Bills that were of value to our trade or our Union. However, our Union does not support any political party, we only support those who support the ideals of organized labour and the Collective Bargaining rights of our Union.

The Employment standards section of Bill 32 has a number of changes that every Albertan should be concerned about, there are changes to overtime, final pay, required shift breaks, number of days worked with time off, and minimum age for legal employment. I am sure that good Nonunion employers will continue to keep their core people above the Employment standards minimum, but that will leave a lot of people with negative employment situations.

The changes being made to Union Dues opt in or out for Political or Charitable donations, will not impact Local 110 in a significant way. Our Union stopped paying any Political donations with the last Government’s Bill 1 and with the downturn Charitable donations have been significantly cut back. With the addition of this Bill we will no longer be able to donate when members pass away to the Charity of the family’s choice in lieu of flowers, and our yearly donations to the Hope Mission, Alberta Lung Association, and Mesothelioma Research fund will have to end. The reason Local 110 can no longer make these donations is the financial impact to our Local and to our Contractors to set up individual dues structures for each member that wished to opt out of one or more donation would be crippling. So, to every Charitable foundation that has received funds from a Union I would say now is the time to voice your concern to the Government, because Alberta Unions and the BTA provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in support each year that will quickly be coming to an end.

Recently the Building Trades of Alberta sent out a notice highlighting section 7.1 that allows the Building Trades of Alberta to bargain site agreements as a bargaining agent of the trades, essentially allowing the BTA to create Wall to Wall agreements with clients or contractors while still holding trade jurisdiction. This is being looked at as a “bone” being given to the BTA. Personally, I see this as a very sharp double edge sword, if the BTA is able to find a way to build agreements that all the trades can agree to and don’t fall into the traps of trying to “whip saw” wages up by playing contractors against each other  or allowing Clients to “whip saw” wages down by playing us against each other. It could result in some in roads for additional work for our memberships. However, on the other side of the sword there is a real opportunity for larger Unions within the BTA to run roughshod over the council, take over the process, and take over the jurisdiction of smaller Unions. In the end this has the ability to tear the BTA apart and leave smaller Unions gutted with their members being dispatched and represented by larger Unions.

Over the last few months most Albertans that are working have taken 10% or higher wage reductions. The maintenance contract for one CLAC contractor shows a 22% reduction in total package. With this Governments want to move toward right to work legislation, but not doing so completely because they would not win the Charter Challenge, working people in Alberta, both union and nonunion, will see further reductions in available work, wages, and working conditions until we define working poor in Canada.

In solidarity

Kevin Lecht                                                                          

Business Manager

Monthly Membership Meetings

Good day Union Family

As I posted previously, International President James McCourt has directed all Locals throughout our organization to suspend all Membership Meetings and Elections until further notice. Since that original notice I have followed up with our International Vice President Wade Logan about when Local 110 would be able to resume meetings, since the Province of Alberta has started to lift restrictions regarding COVID 19. The answer that came back from the International is that the restriction on General Membership meetings will be lifted when all Locals can safely hold meetings again.

When I received this response, I was surprised and frustrated. Meetings are an important part of keeping the Membership informed and helps the Officers receive valuable feedback from the Members, as well this being an election year for our Local there is usually increased attendance. I did consult with Business Managers of other trades in Alberta and the Officers of Local 110, a number of ideas were put forward about how Local 110 may have been able to have meetings again. One with the most interesting ideas, was that Local 110 could go forward to the Alberta Courts to push for the right to have Membership Meetings without International approval. I did take this idea forward to legal council and it was not recommended and was not likely to succeed due to the powers of the General President under the International Constitution.

Currently, Alberta is seeing increased COVID cases, but fortunately the Local has not been informed of any cases through out our membership. The health and safety of our membership is one of the main principles that our Union was built on and we will continue to keep this in mind in everything we do.

Until we have the clearance from the International to have General Membership meetings, our Executive board will continue to meet with social distancing, and I will continue to provide updates through our Facebook pages, Business Managers Updates, and Blast Emails.

If there are any questions, comments, or discussions please contact me or the Business Agents, at the Union hall, or by phone, or Email.

In solidarity

Kevin Lecht                                                                   

Business Manager

Officer Compensation

 

Good day Union Family

Over the last number of months our Local has been experiencing significantly lower employment due to shutdowns and maintenance work being pushed out due to COVID and the price of oil. This has resulted in lower revenue for the Local and the Trust Funds.

In light of the reduced revenue the Three Business Agents and Myself have taken a 10% wage reduction. This reduction is only for the Business Agents and Business Manager, the Staff, Client Contractor Liaison, and Trainers are at their full package wages.

Some concerns have come forward that the membership may see this as a signal to expect a similar wage reduction from the next Collective Agreement. I can understand how some people may make that assumption, but I would like to assure all members that this is not the case. The Bargaining Committee has been working diligently and will continue to do so.

In solidarity

Kevin Lecht                                                                          

Business Manager

The Passing of Member Peter Gravel

Local 110 is sad to announce the passing of Member Peter Gravel. Peter has been a member of Local 110 since 2014, and last worked through our Local with Safway at the IOL Strathcona project in 2019.

A private service will be held for Peter, and in lieu of flowers donations can be made in his name to the Edmonton Humane.

Local 110 Members, Staff, and Officers extend our deepest condolences to all of Brother Peter’s Family and Friends.

Price Manufacturing

Good day

Our Local has taken a step into a new sector for our membership, with the signing of a new contractor Price Manufacturing in Calgary Alberta.
In early 2015 Business Agent Pat Tilley and I met with Todd Price the owner of Price Manufacturing. Mr. Price is a Union Mechanical Insulator by trade, who started his company to provide high quality fittings, removable covers, and other metal products for the Mechanical Insulation trade.

After significant consultation between Mr. Price, Pat Tilley and then Derek Stock as Southern Business Agent, and myself it was finally decided that although this shop produces similar products to what is produced onsite, the nature of the business, the equipment used in fabrication, and the exacting reproduction of each fitting made it impossible to unionize this business under the Provincial Construction Collective Agreement. So, in March 2020 Local 110 completed bargaining on an independent Shop Collective Agreement and on June 29, 2020 it was signed along with a voluntary recognition for Price Manufacturing.

This is a fabrication facility that has had up to six employees at one time working on direct fabrication. Currently, they brought with them two employees that were already working for the company, these individuals will be indentured shortly into the Alberta apprenticeship program, and they hired one of our Calgary Red Seal Journeyman Members to be a working Foreman. With demand for the products increasing both in Canada and the USA, the company will be looking for more of Members to fill in their manpower needs. However, there will be a learning curve for even the most experienced of our Journeyman that take the call.

In close I would like to say welcome and congratulations to our two new members and thank Price Manufacturing for partnering with Local 110 into the future.

In solidarity

Kevin Lecht                                                                          

Business Manager

Hall Reopening Update

Good day Union Family

As I announced before we were scheduled to reopen the Union office on July 6, 2020. Unfortunately, due to an infestation in the outside walls from goffers the reopen date has been pushed back to July 13, 2020. This is to allow the exterminators time to do their work.

When you come to the office you will notice that there have been a few changes. There have been plexiglass barriers installed at the service windows. Members will still be filling out the COVID screening form and having their temperature taken on arrival. There will be a limit of four individuals in the upstairs at one time, and we will be utilizing the small meeting room in the front area when meeting with members instead of taking them into our individual offices.

Cleaning of the common areas has increased. The office will be open from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm and closed 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm to allow the staff time to clean the common areas and touch points.

Although, restrictions are being lifted and Local 110 is reopening our doors, COVID is still a major health concern. The last thing we want is to have members becoming ill due to being at the hall, especially since the nature of our trade has left a number of members with lung and breathing issues. So, we ask that if you feel ill, or can complete your business over the phone, email, or through the website please consider not coming to the office.

Unfortunately, I have a few days booked off to take my sons camping, so I will not be in until later that week.

In solidarity

Kevin Lecht                                                                          

Business Manager

Cessco Lockout of Boilermakers 146

Good day Union Family

The Boilermakers Lodge 146 has been in Collective Bargaining for a new shop agreement with Cessco for an extended period of time, and now the company has locked out the employees, all members of Boilermakers Lodge 146.

Currently, I do not know the issues that have led to the Lockout, nor do they matter. A Lockout, the same as a Strike, is a breakdown of the Collective Bargaining process. It results in uncertainty for the workers, the union, the company and clients, and in the end no matter the outcome it will damage relationships. Local 110 strongly advocates for an orderly Collective Bargaining process and to that end we hope for a speedy resolution to this Lockout.

To this end, Local 110 will provide signage to any member that wishes to attend the picket line in solidarity to end this Lockout. Additionally, some of the officers and myself will be attending the picket line, at 7310-99 street, on Thursday July 2, 2020 over our lunch break, to show support for the bargaining process. Hopefully, some of our members will join us, I will bring extra signs.

There are some who feel this is not Local 110’s issue. True, Cessco is not a signatory contractor to Local 110, and they have used nonunion companies for their mechanical insulation needs for almost a decade. Also, Boilermakers Lodge 146 is not affiliated with the Building Trades of Alberta and they were resistant to helping with our organizing efforts against the companies that were doing insulation at these shops. However, these are issues that can be worked on in the future, for now the focus needs to be on putting as much pressure as possible on both groups to get back to the table and bargain fairly.

In solidarity

Kevin Lecht                                                                          

Business Manager