Travelers Registering for Work in Alberta
Local 110 are fortunate and Albertans fortunate to have huge reserves of tar sands that are being mined and heavy oil extracted from it to be upgraded, refined and a lot of it exported out of Canada, all of which provides for more work than can be done by the large but limited numbers of tradesmen/insulators here. One mega ‘Tarsands project’ after another has been built here over the past few decades, making for many of them to do maintenance and shutdown insulating work on year after year, making the demand for this type of labour even more intense over time.
There is also much conventional oil and natural gas that drilling rigs are accessing that is creating a lot of insulating job opportunities at refineries and gas plants.
‘Light industrial projects’ associated with the oil and gas industry in Alberta has increased at a steady pace also over the years and in itself presents many jobs insulating. As the work escalated, Local 110 were able to draw upon ‘Canadian Travelers’ until in more recent years there were not enough of them available at peak times of year to get all of the work done. The long term future for such work looks even better, depending on the need for oil world wide which looks promising. A few times now the past six or seven years, Local 110 has been able to expand its search outside of Canada to find proficient journeymen insulators who understand and are comfortable working in the environment we have here in Alberta. The authorities here refer to such workers as ‘Temporary Foreign Workers’ (TFWs). We were pleased to be able to offer to other journeymen insulators affiliated with our International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers union in the United States the opportunity to work here as TFWs on a few different large mega projects when the numbers needed were very much beyond what we could supply. They came and it worked out well in every instance. The contractors and clients were pleased with the overall quality of work and professionalism that was demonstrated by those brothers and sisters south of our border.
Getting the ‘United States TFW Travelers’ here was a clumsy process and transferring them from one contractor to another or one project to another was not allowed for by the authorities, prompting Local 110 to explore with Service Canada alternative ways to employ these United States workers. I won’t go into detail here about what and how that is anticipated to work, but suffice to say we are optimistic that it will be done and we will be able to offer many more jobs to United States Travelers than in the past. When one job is completed, we anticipate being able to transfer TFW Travelers to another project if they want instead of them being laid off and sent home.
Local 110 has been working on a structured process to enable union affiliated TFW Travelers to register for work here through Local 110 on a list that is based on the date they initially do so. It involves those TFWs who are interested, logging on to a Local 110 website (www.insulators110.com). A similar list will be created for Canadian Travelers to likewise register on.
Following is how that registration will work:
1. Any United States union affiliated journeymen insulators who are available to work here can log on to the above referred to Local 110 registration website to reflect they are ‘available’ and their names will automatically be put on a list that ensures in the order by which they register on it that they are called to work here as soon as a job is available for them (*Note: getting a union referral from Local 110 will be subject to an electronically issued ‘Travel Card’ first being provided through our International Union’s ‘Traveler Management System’); or
2. If any United States union affiliated journeymen insulators are working through their home Local or working as Travelers through some other Local or for whatever reason they are not available to come to work here in Alberta when they register on the Local 110 Traveler list, they can take up a spot on the list indicating that they are ‘unavailable’ and later change that status on line to indicate they are ‘available’, so that they are only then called to work here in the order by which they had registered on the list as soon as a job is available for them; and
3. When United States union affiliated journeymen insulators log on, they key in a ‘user name’ and a ‘password’ that is allowed for; and
4. They indicate if they are willing to take ‘only jobs that provide for a camp’ or subsistence monies’ to be paid so that they are only offered those type of jobs and do not have to pay out of pocket for meals and accommodation after they are given one of those jobs; or
5. They indicate a willingness to take ‘any job’ if they are willing to broaden their employment opportunities here to work on a project where such camp or subsistence monies might not be prescribed as payable in the Collective Agreement (usually within or near the larger cities within Alberta); and
6. They indicate if they will work only on ‘mega projects’ with the higher rates of pay prescribed in the Collective Agreement; or
7. They indicate if they will work on either a ‘light industrial project’ or ‘mega project work’, whichever becomes available (the light industrial work pays less in accordance with the Collective Agreement which makes it a more likely job for a TFW Traveler to get because the contractor Work Orders are less likely to be filled by Canadian insulators); and
8. They will indicate confirmation that they have a valid passport that has at least 6 months before it is expired when their status on this registration site is reported as ‘available’; and
9. They will indicate confirmation that they can and will provide to Canadian authorities upon arrival in Canada proof from the authorities within their area that they have no criminal record including charges relating to DUI s (drunk and under the influence) or pending such charges.
*There have been questions from some US Travelers about whether or not a DUI (drunk and under the influence) conviction they’ve had from years ago will prompt Canadian Immigration authorities to refuse them access into Canada now. One US Traveler noted to Local 110 that he’d come to work here in Canada about a year ago, voluntarily disclosed to the Canadian border authorities that he’d had a DUI more than ten years ago and they let him cross the border. He asked if they are doing differently now.
Our office has confirmed verbally with Immigration Canada that each Officer working for Canada Immigration at the border crossings has the unilateral discretion to decide whether a person can come into Canada or not respecting a DUI conviction from years ago or for any reason; and US citizens who’ve had DUI convictions can make application in the State they are coming from to have the DUI struck from their record before attempting to cross the border. If they get the DUI conviction struck from their records before ever attempting a border crossing, the Canadian border authorities will apparently not see the conviction on their computer records and will likely allow them to cross into Canada if everything else is in order. It would therefore seem prudent for anyone with a DUI conviction to make such application to have it struck from their record before attempting a border crossing, rather than taking a chance on getting across the border or not without having done that. They might register right away for a spot on the Local 110 Traveler list and indicate they are ‘unavailable’ until they get the DUI struck from their record in the US, to ensure a more favorable place on the list than if they do otherwise. If they instead indicate they are ‘available’ when they register to work here and then can’t get across the border after Local 110 dispatches them to work here, they will lose their place on the Traveler list and have to re-register further down on the list if they then choose to do so.
10. United States union affiliated journeymen insulators can ‘conditionally keep their spot on the above referred to list’ for as long as this Traveler TFW program is being implemented in Alberta by Local 110, which I think will be for many years/decades, only if they log on and change their status to ‘unavailable’ when they are unavailable to go to work.
11. If Local 110 calls one of them by the order in which they are showing as ‘available’ on the list for the type of job offered and they decline the job offer, his or her name will come off of the list; and
12. That insulator can then register on line again, but his/her name will go to the bottom of the list and everyone else on the list will move up one spot on the list.
If a United States union affiliated journeyman insulator, Mr. Mouldie, registers for this TFW work, getting the 30th spot on the list and indicates that he is ‘not available’ at that time to go to work for whatever reason, Local 110 will not call him to work until after he logs on to the Local 110 website and changes his status to ‘available’. Local 110 will for each job opportunity that arises, pass by his name and take the first ‘available’ person on the list until we fill a Work Order or until he changes his status to ‘available’. For each forthcoming Work Order TFW's will need to call into dispatch to bid on jobs open to TFW's and if it is not filled with bidders we will start at the beginning number one spot on the list calling to offering a job(s) and work our way through the list.
We will not call Mr. Mouldie to go to a job where there is no camp or no subsistence monies paid out if he has indicated on line that he will only work on ‘camp/subsistence jobs’.
We will not call Mr. Mouldie to go to a ‘light industrial project’ if he has indicated on line that he will only work on higher paying ‘mega projects’.
When Mr. Mouldie is put to work in Alberta, his status on the above referred to list will be changed to ‘unavailable’, but he will keep that 30th spot on the list when he is eventually laid off (he is responsible to log on and change his status to ‘available’ if he wants to be in line for another job when there is another job opportunity).
This Local 110 TFW Traveler list is a good ‘insurance policy for any United States union affiliated journeyman insulators’ to register on and keep their status updated, even if they are currently working and think they will be working wherever for a long period of time.
There is potential for such TFW Travelers higher up on the list or who work themselves up to a higher spot on the list to work here every year for significant periods of time, as much as they choose to off an on or possibly all year long.
Any Traveler TFW who is registered on the above referred to Local 110 website as ‘available’ for work who does not have a valid passport that will not expire for at least 6 months, or who cannot provide proof upon arrival in Canada that they have no criminal record after Local 110 calls them to go to work in Alberta, will be ‘blocked’ from getting on the list again after their name is then taken off of it; and
Good performance at work for these TFW Travelers will also be a condition of remaining on the above referred to list. Absenteeism and other types of misconduct demonstrated on the job will result in a Traveler being ‘blocked’ from working here again. Habitual quitting of jobs before a reasonable period of time has been worked will have the same result. I am pleased to note that the last mega project we had, with hundreds of United States Travelers working on it, there were only a very few of those Travelers who performed poorly in such ways.
Cost of flights to and from United States residences for Travelers:
Local 110 has negotiated with its signatory contractors to provide for reimbursement of most or all of the cost of air flights for all Canadian and United States Travelers who come to work on construction/maintenance sites in Alberta and this will be stated on the calls whether they will cover flights so please read carefully. There will be periodic flights paid for in the same way over time as they remain here. So, they will get an ‘in’ and ‘out’ flight paid for and lights in between, so that they can be home on a regular basis.
Medical coverage for services while TFW Travelers while working in Alberta:
The employers at their discretion upon hiring TFW journeymen to do insulating work in Alberta will pay an insurance company at the time of hire to provide for medical services while they are working in Alberta.All TFW's who are in Alberta over 90 days will automatically be covered by Alberta Health.
You can log on by clicking here (effective April 30,2012) to register on this TFW Traveler list Local 110 has in the above described way.
If you have any questions about how it will work, you can call the Local 110 dispatch at (780 426-2874). The sooner you register, the better position you will have on the list. Always keep in mind that if you register and indicate that you are ‘available’ and then decline a job, you will lose that spot on the list and have to re-register if you decide to get on the list again at a further down spot.