These are past Business Manager Bill Spring's 2011 BM Updates.
BUSINESS MANAGER Bill Spring “HISTORICAL” UPDATE
November 30, 2011 Wednesday
1. Thomas MACCRIMMON, Long Time Local 110 Journeyman Retired Member, Passes Away – Thomas’ wife called our union on November 22, 2011 to let us know that he had passed away in palliative care in St. Albert that day from work related cancer he’d been battling with for quite a long time.
It was sad but not unexpected news. I have been in contact with her the past several weeks and she has been updating me about his declining health. He preferred not to have visitors and had a private funeral service yesterday for close friends and family only, with his wife asking our union to defer this notice until today.
Thomas, known to many of us as Tom, became a member of our Local 110 union in September 1976, making him 35 years affiliated with us. He took a Withdrawal Card in September 1996 after taking his union pension in March 1995. He did a short stint of work in the Trade in 1996 before enjoying many years of full retirement, traveling and enjoying family and friends that he much deserved. It wasn’t unusual to see him at some of our Christmas parties over the years, demonstrating some admirable ball room dancing skills as I recollect.
He resided in Edmonton the past many years, coming here from Glasgow, Scotland where he’d done insulating work also, passing away at the age of 75. Our union announced his death in our customary way in the Newspaper here with our logo today and it wasn’t long before I got calls from co-workers expressing their fond memories and thoughts about him. He was by all accounts I ever heard a good man who will be missed much by all of his many friends and family.
2. Local 110 Election Pride – This is a reminder to every journeyman member of Local 110, as busy as they are earning a living, traveling around the Province and outside the Province doing their work and doing all the things we do during this upcoming festive season; that there is a Local 110 election in process that our office has sent out ballots for you to all complete and return in pre-addressed envelopes with postage already affixed on them. You will have to get them in the mail soon in order for them to get to the auditor we have hired to receive them and oversee the counting of them to determine who is elected to which positions.
Let this be the election that we have the best return ever, so that we can demonstrate to other unions and the general public our commitment to the democratic process that makes our organization as strong as it is. There are many members have accepted nominations for all of the positions which is in itself a good sign of healthy participation.
November 9, 2011 Wednesday
1. Local 110 Election Nominations – At our last general membership meeting on Saturday November 5, 2011, the following Local 110 members were nominated for positions prescribed within our union’s International Constitution and Bylaws for a term in office starting January 1, 2012 through to and including December 31, 2014 (note that there are two members who were nominated that are not reflected in the list below – that is explained afterwards):
Following the nomination meeting, the Election Committee attended the Edmonton Local 110 union office on Monday November 8, 2011 after work to check the union records of attendance at union meeting to determine if everyone nominated was in fact eligible to run for the positions they were nominated for. The Election Committee and support staff in the office have deemed that those listed below are eligible.
Nominated for Business Manager/Financial Secretary/Corresponding Secretary:
Daniel (Dan) Annett
Nominated for Business Agent (Calgary):
Patrick (Pat) Tilley
Nominated for Business Agent (Fort McMurray):
William (Bill) Hackman
Nominated for Business Agent (Edmonton):
Edward (Eamon) Boyle
Nominated for President:
Gregory (Greg) Creaven
Nominated for Vice President:
Patrick (Pat) Sullivan
Richard (Rick) Burgess
Acclaimed for Recording Secretary:
Nominated for Executive Board (five positions):
Blake (Sandy) Hollinger
James (Jim) Bitschy
Joseph (Joe) Visser
Nominated for Trustee (three positions):
William (Bill) Spring
Joseph (Joe) Visser
William (Bill) Johnston
Nominated for Sergeant At Arms:
William (Bill) Johnston
William (Bill) Markine
Daniel (Dan) Shantz
Election Committee scrutinizers:
James Ruddy (Alternate)
Gordon Kirkland (Alternate)
If there is any Local 110 member that was nominated for any of the above positions or if there are any errors that any member finds in respect to the above, please notify the union office immediately so that the list can be corrected. The above names will be put on a ballot and sent out to all Local 110 members for them to select the candidates of their choice.
Ronald (Terry) Pronchuk, in a note he provided the union on Monday November 7, 2011, declined his nomination for the position of Business Manager after accepting nomination for that position at the general membership meeting.
Ronald James (Jim) Adams had been nominated for the position of Business Agent for Edmonton and accepted that nomination. However, the Election Committee, upon review of the union attendance records found that he had not attended enough union meetings in accordance with the International union Constitution and Bylaws to be eligible to run for that position. One needs to have attended at least six of the ten meetings held during the one year time period prior to the nomination meeting in November. Support staff had reflected on the eligibility list that he’d attended a March 2011 union meeting which the records reflected he hadn’t done. When he was contacted and asked to recollect if he had attended that meeting, he confirmed that he had not. Therefore, his name will not be on the ballot running for that position. He is disappointed. On behalf of the union and its membership, I would like to thank him here for putting his name forward. It reflects an ongoing commitment to the union that he has already shown through his past three years as Sergeant of Arms at our union meetings.
November 4, 2011 Friday
1. Ron Hoff’s Wake Appreciated by Family – I’ve been asked to pass along to our membership his sister’s thank you to all of the members who were so thoughtful and helpful after he passed away from a head trauma.
There was a Wake held at the Drake hotel for him and she was complimentary about staff there. It was organized by his friends and co-workers and many of our union’s members attended. She says she “met a great bunch of men and women from the Asbestos workers union Local 110”. The collection done at the Wake and by co-workers at the Jacobs Albion Sands site to offset expenses was much appreciated by her, and many of the people she met that night were “people she had heard Ron speak of on various occasions”. She said he usually had a little story to tell her about them.
She reflected that it was a great turnout and she knows he would have been very proud. She commented on a number of close friends of his who were there in the emergency department after he’d been taken to the hospital and others who helped clean out his apartment after he passed. She passed along a big thank you to our Pension Plan Administrator for all her help after he passed.
It was a good turnout and I think everyone there from our union felt the same pride as what his sister thinks Ron would have felt. It was an opportunity to celebrate the life of one of our long time members who contributed in many ways to what Local 110 is today. It reinforced that our union is more than an organization to work through; it is a group of “brothers and sisters” that truly care about each other in spite of faults we each have, and that they value the friendships made serving a common purpose.
2. Service Canada Responds in Writing to Local 110 Questions Respecting Temporary Foreign Workers at Suncor Firebag 3 – Last night, I got in writing from the Director General of HRSDC who is overseeing the TFW Program in Canada, answers to the questions I had asked Service Canada about foreign workers Flint brought in to replace Canadian insulators working for its subcontractor through our union at the Suncor Firebag 3 project.
The answers confirm that Canadian workers, union and non union, have much to be concerned about that the TFW Program allows for, particularly in Alberta.
In a blast email to our membership, I will provide them with the written questions I had posed to Service Canada and the above referred to written response, word for word.
In short, HRSDC/Service Canada’s responses reflect to me (and prompt me to comment in brackets):
All relevant TFW Program requirements with respect to advertising/recruitment of Canadians had been met by Flint that allowed for them to bring the foreign workers to this Suncor project; and
Allegations by two members of our International union that their applications for work with Flint were not responded to would have to be proven (which will be difficult for them to do and I suspect there are a lot more than two that applied). Even if proven, there is no assurance it would prompt Service Canada to act to do anything about it. Service Canada are considering now whether or not to follow up and investigate the two workers’ complaints; and
Service Canada have deemed that Canadian insulators working for a subcontractor doing insulating work for Flint are not considered to be working for Flint (to the extent Service Canada would deem that Flint had Canadians available to do the work in question); and
Suncor is neither responsible nor accountable for anything Flint did applying for and continuing to employ TFWs on its site; and
Service Canada has no legal authority to compel a company to provide it copies of applications made to the company for jobs it advertises for Canadians to take, before or after the company employs TFWs to do that work (contending that there were no Canadians applied). Service Canada did not ask Flint for copies of applications from Canadian insulators that applied for work; and
Service Canada do not have a specified time period within which the company has to hire TFWs after it has gotten approval to do so from Service Canada (in other words, a company can advertise for Canadians in March and put TFWs to work in September, six months later and be in compliance with Canadian legislation and policy, such as happened at this Suncor Firebag 3 project); and
Once a TFW is employed by an employer here in Canada, there is no legislation that requires an employer to lay them off before a Canadian Worker is laid off; and
Service Canada will give approval for a company to bring in TFWs even when that company has given ‘Voluntary Recognition’ to a ‘union of convenience’ that has few or no qualified workers to provide (that company can try to avoid being organized by a ‘legitimate union’ by doing that); and
TFWs can be moved to a new employer provided the new employer has received a positive LMO (Labour Market Opinion) from Service Canada and the workers apply for and get a work permit (which is clearly a very easy thing to do).
The bottom line is, Service Canada confirm that they “do not have the legal authority to intervene and require that Flint lay off these TFW workers and reinstate the Canadian Workers to work at the Suncor Firebag 3 project.
Service Canada has not answered my question about whether the Minister responsible for the TFW Program is aware of the circumstances involved in this case. Members of our union and workers in general who find all of this out and disagree with it, might want to make sure the Minister is made aware of that.
The Minister’s name is:
· Diane Finley
Minister of HRSDC
House of Commons
Confederation Building Room 707
Ottawa, ON K1A OA6
T: 613 996-4974
F: 613 996-9749
76 Kent Street South
Simcoe ON, N3Y 2Y1
Website link: http://www.dianefinley.ca/
November 3, 2011 Thursday
1. Service Canada Responds to Local 110 Complaints – For now over a month, Local 110 has been waiting for Service Canada to respond formally to its complaints about TFWs (temporary foreign workers) replacing Canadian insulators working through our union at the Suncor Firebag 3 project.
I did a BM Update on October 25, 2011 reflecting that after I’d met the previous weekend with the Executive Director of Service Canada out of Vancouver. In turn that day the Director General for HRSDC heading Canada’s TFW Program called and left me a voice message while I was involved in another phone conversation, telling me that he was responding to me at the request of the Executive Director and would call me back within the next couple of days to consider my complaints on behalf of Local 110’s membership. I reviewed the message and called him back within the half hour but missed him and his voice mail box was full.
Yesterday marked eight days and he hadn’t called back. I called the number that Director General left several times over those days and each time his voice mail indicated that his voice mail box was full. I couldn’t leave a message or reach any reception person to locate him for me. That prompted me yesterday to put another email to Service Canada pressing them again to provide the formal response our union is expecting.
I got a call shortly afterwards yesterday from the Service Canada Executive Director who followed up with the Director General who in turn yesterday called me. We had a long discussion about the problems Local 110 see with the way Service Canada go about approving LMOs (Labour Market Opinions) which pave the way for Immigration Canada to give Work Visas to TFWs. The gist of what I suggested is that they put conditions and requirements in place that better protect the rights of Canadians respecting access to jobs and preference of layoff relative to TFWs. He committed to responding in writing by the end of this week to a number of questions I had put to his Department about Service Canada’s position respecting the work in question at Suncor’s Firebag 3 project; and he proposed that we have a further meeting the end of this week to flush out what Local 110 has for proposals to ensure the Canadian rights I referred to. We agreed that one shouldn’t object to how something is done if one doesn’t have an alternative proposed better way of doing it. We will involve the Director of the Canadian Building Trades in that meeting.
When I presumably get the answers in writing to the questions I gave Service Canada, I will blast the questions and answers out to our members on their Smart Phones our union provide them and to the personal email addresses of those of our members who have given us those; so that our membership can see for themselves what Service Canada’s position on behalf of the federal government is.
I found both the Service Canada Executive Director and HRSDC Director General receptive to ideas that will improve the way they approve TFWs coming to work in Canada in our industry. How much control they have over that process versus what politicians dictate through legislation is another thing. Again, I encourage our members and any reader of this Update to call your federal MPs (Members of Parliament) and provincial MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly) to emphasize to them they have to do better. You can get the names of your MLAs/MPs by calling the:
· Government of Alberta general information number 780 310-0000; and
· Government of Canada general information number 1 800 622-6232.
2. Government of Alberta Panel Conduct Labour Code Review including scrutiny of provincial legislation that promotes replacement of Canadian workers with TFWs – A big part of the reason TFWs (temporarty foreign workers) could be brought in so easily to replace Canadian insulators working through our union at the Firebag 3 project is because of provincial labour legislation that allows ‘unions of convenience’ to operate the way they do in Alberta.
I had a closed doors meeting late last week alone with a panel of lawyers appointed by the Alberta Government to interview numerous parties about the Alberta Labour Code review that is being done. I aired the complaints Local 110 have about provincial legislation which allows ‘unions of convenience’ to undermine the rights of Canadian workers, using TFWs to do work if the Canadians won’t accept reduced rates of pay and benefits. A non union company that gives ‘Voluntary Recognition’ to a ‘union of convenience’ that will negotiate and give them in essence whatever it wants, is a way for the company to avoid being organized by a legitimate union. That company can then underbid companies that employ legitimate union workers, and advertise for Canadians to do that work for less compensation or watch as foreign workers do it instead. This is no longer a ‘union versus non union’ issue. It is a ‘Canadians versus foreign workers’ issue. Union and non union insulators have good reason to all be very concerned about that. I am hearing of non union insulators being displaced from jobs also by foreign workers.
Again, it was a good meeting and I think the concerns I raised were understood and seen as legitimate by this panel. The outcome of that Labour Code review will ultimately be decided by MLAs here in Alberta. Again, it is important for our membership and all Albertans, union or non union to call their MLAs about this type of legislation.
November 1, 2011 Tuesday
1. Roger Ward Passes Away – Family of long time journeyman member Roger Ward advised our office that he passed away last Friday night October 28, 2011 in palliative care from work related lung cancer here in Edmonton. He’d been residing in Edmonton for many years up until his hospitalization.
Roger had applied for his full union pension in February of 1995, but continued to work part of each year after that until and including 2001. In 2002 he applied for and was given an Honorary Card and discontinued working altogether.
He’d been a very active union member, attending many union meetings every year while working here in Alberta after he transferred into Local 110 from Local 95 Ontario back in September 1976. He’d joined Local 95 as a helper in November 1964. He volunteered a lot of his time to union initiatives, contributing a lot of himself to help make our union what it is today.
It was a sad day not long ago when he came to the union office to let me know that he’d been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He will be missed much by friends and family. Family noted that the funeral service for Roger will take place in Ontario where much of his family resides.
2. Less Code a Phone Dispatch Information – Further to previous correspondence and announcements at union meetings, this is a reminder that effective November 7, 2011 Local 110 will be reflecting less information on the Code a phone messages than before. You can read a previous BM Update dated September 29 here that explains all of that in detail, what and why.
Our union will continue on and after November 7, 2011 to list the Work Orders on the code a phone reflecting the contractor and site to be dispatched, the number of journeymen and helpers needed and start date. All of the other details relating to the calls for manpower will be reflected on our website where the Work Orders are shown that our support staff completes based on the employer Work Orders given. We are in process of soon scanning the actual employer Work Orders and putting them on site for viewing by all.
Members can go to our website using their own personal computers, or using the Smart Phones that our union provides to journeymen, fourth year and third year apprentices; or by coming down to our union offices in Edmonton and Calgary to view the calls on union computers available to members there.
3. WoW Center Provides for Life Altering Cardio Intervention – One of our members who recently attended the Wellness of Workers Center our union started operating in Sherwood Park, has volunteered that following completion of a Health Risk Assessment there, which prompted some diagnostic tests, he was promptly referred to a cardiologist who prescribed some drugs needed to address some serious symptoms that were affecting his heart to the extent a heart condition was progressing that was becoming life altering. Within weeks, his condition improved and it is thought this intervention will allow him to maintain a good quality of life for many years to come. He wants this to be announced to the membership on a no name basis so that others in our union might be prompted to make an appointment and do the Health Risk Assessment to possibly head off diseases they are developing.
A reminder here that any member, active or on Withdrawal Card; or any such member’s wife, can make an appointment with our WoW Center to complete this Health Risk Assessment to be evaluated by an Occupational Doctor who will refer them to a specialist if deemed necessary to address any disease process that might be identified. The number is 780 800 6906.