Latest Local 955 News

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Mobile Crane Period 1 - Registration Open

Posted on May 22, 2024

Mobile Crane Period 1 - Registration Open

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Canadian Conference bursary application now open

Posted on May 14, 2024

Canadian Conference bursary application now open

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HISTORY MADE! - GOVERNMENT OF ALBERTA X UNION SKILLED TRADES TRAINING

Posted on April 18, 2024

IUOE LOCAL 955 is incredibly pleased to announce that for the first time ever, an agreement has been made between the Government of Alberta and a skilled-trades union to fund a pilot training project through IUOE LOCAL 955’s Budd Coutts Apprenticeship and Education Centre.

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Annual ‘Benefits Roadshow’ returns

Posted on April 2, 2024

Our annual ‘Benefits Roadshow’ returns this year to educate you on how your Heath & Wellness and Pension plans work, update you on how the plans are doing, and answer any questions you may have.

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Media release: Wage theft on the rise in Fort McMurray overburden mining sector

Posted on March 22, 2024

Fort McMurray - Reoccurring complaints of wage theft in Fort McMurray’s overburden mining have led the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 955 to increase focus on the sector in the region to help recover income that rightfully belongs to the workers who make the industry run.

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New year, new benefits

Posted on January 16, 2024

We are very excited about the changes that have come to IUOE Local 955’s plan this year. We have heard some feedback from members about dropping in and out of coverage, and other members saying they expect more from their benefits after bargaining increases. With the feedback we get from you, our valued membership, and expert feedback from our consultants, we have come up with a revamped design that will help solve many issues! As of January 1, 2024, we started a Core and Extended division within the main plan. What does this mean?

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High demand, IUOE 955 Budd Coutts mobile crane course re-launching next month

Posted on January 16, 2024

This February, IUOE 955’s Budd Coutts Apprenticeship and Education Centre will open its doors to Crane and Hoist - Mobile Crane Period 1 courses for the first time in several years in response to a profound increase in training demand.

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IUOE 955 YouTube Channel

Posted on January 4, 2024

IUOE LOCAL 955’s YouTube channel is now up and streaming videos on everything from bargaining to the 5% pension boost, histories of both our Local and Pension Trust, the Budd Coutts Training Centre and more.

Check it out and make sure you subscribe to ensure you’re getting the latest from Local 955: https://linktr.ee/iuoe955 (keep checking this link too, which will have all things 955 located at one, convenient URL).

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Union training centres an answer to skilled trades shortage

Posted on December 26, 2023

Union training centres an answer to skilled trades shortage

Published in the Edmonton Journal - Dec. 26, 2023

Without the talents of thousands of trades professionals, we would not have the homes that shelter our families, refineries that provide products for heat and electricity, hospitals that get us healthy or schools that foster young minds.

The work skilled tradespeople do to build and maintain the critical infrastructure needed to ensure our society operates smoothly cannot be overstated. These workers are integral to our economy and our communities, but their numbers are dwindling, and the need for real solutions is now.

A summer report from CIBC on Canada’s construction labour shortage highlights the fact that the number of construction workers over the age of 55 is now at an all-time high, and considering the retirement age in the construction industry is lower than in other areas of the economy, the problem is intensifying.

Moreover, recent numbers from Statistics Canada reveal Alberta has lost more journeypersons over the past 5 consecutive years than we have brought in. This is concerning.

Thankfully, the impact retirements and negative net migration is having on the skilled trades is not lost on decision makers. I am pleased to see the provincial government is looking for real and creative ways to lessen the impact these factors will have.

Mandate letters from the premier to ministers responsible for areas like jobs and trades training make it clear the province expects to see the skilled trades education path hold as much value, promise and praise as the university path. This is in an effort to attract more students to a rewarding trades career.

Parity of esteem is crucial to help fill the looming labour gap. It ensures youth, and their caregivers, understand that choosing a skilled-trades education and subsequent journeyperson’s ticket is as valuable as a university degree. Expanding supports for additional learning spaces can be key to unlocking more access to the craft trades, bringing much-needed folks in.

A solid education is a vital component that can help train the next generation of skilled-trades talent, and Alberta’s construction unions are an untapped resource that can get the job done.

Union training centres are world class, multi-million-dollar facilities that provide some of the best trades training on earth. IUOE Local 955’s Budd Coutts Apprenticeship and Education Centre and many others across the province have turned tens of thousands of apprentices into skilled journeypersons who have helped build everything from Alberta’s oilsands, to our pipelines, skylines, roadways and much more.

Additionally, the education spaces and equipment needed to learn the trades at union training centres are fully in place and funded by the unions themselves. Plus, training is provided to our members for free. If you’re not a union member, fear not, training facilities like Budd Coutts may still be available for the public to take advantage of, and one they can access on a year-round basis. There is no season our classes won’t sit, meaning union training centres can offer education when it’s convenient for the learner.

Union centers also follow the curriculum guidelines set out by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training and provide the same content students would receive at other post-secondary institutions across the province.

Alberta is seeing some incredible and much-welcomed growth. With more than $32 billion in deals done through Invest Alberta and major projects like Dow’s Path2Zero online, Alberta will need to provide tens of thousands of skilled workers to support industry.

All options to deliver these workers to meet demand should be on the table. The apprenticeship and education opportunities Alberta’s skilled trades unions provide in the crafts they operate in is a resource that must be utilized to ensure the province’s continued growth and future success.

Chris Flett,
Business Manager, IUOE Local 955

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2023: A year of celebration and success

Posted on December 20, 2023

Serving as your Business Manager for the past 6-plus years has been the privilege of a lifetime. I’m thankful every day for the opportunity to represent the more than 12,500 members of IUOE Local 955 and to watch this union grow.

As a member, Business Agent and Business Manager, I’ve been witness to some incredible things in my time. But celebrating the 75th anniversary of the signing of our Charter, and the 50th anniversary of our Pension Trust Fund with members across the province, has truly been a high point I’ll have with me for the rest of my life. I’m sure most of you will too.

What an honour it was to be in Fort McMurray, Calgary and Edmonton throughout the summer with you for barbeques, a golf tournament and carnival-style family fun events. It was incredible to share in comradery and celebration with good food, games, equipment simulators, Hunter from the Edmonton Oilers, Spike from the Edmonton Elks, music and much more. What a memory for us all.

Our anniversary gala and long-service awards in September saw more than 300 come together at River Cree in Enoch, AB, where many members received 20-year to 60-year awards for their loyal service to Local 955.

We also had dignitaries and elected officials from all levels of government join us at the gala to celebrate our members and our milestones. Edmonton mayor, Amarjeet Sohi delivered a well-received speech praising Local 955 members and our many years dedicated to building and maintaining Edmonton and other municipalities around the province.

In the summer, IUOE Local 955 received a proclamation from Mayor Sohi declaring Aug. 1, 2023, “IUOE Local 955 Day” in the city of Edmonton. The proclamation now hangs in Edmonton’s union hall for all to see and I encourage you to take a look.

I have to say, the most thrilling moment of the gala celebration was when I, along with Lyall Nash, President of TESTCO Western Ltd., announced a 5-per-cent increase to the pensions of all 955 members in good-standing. The first pension increase came Oct. 1 and was retroactive to Jan. 1, 2023. I’m sure you were thrilled too when you checked your bank account this fall.

And while that announcement was monumental, we weren’t done with pension good news yet.

A special event with more than 100 retirees, their families, members and more at the end of November rounded off the 50th anniversary year of the pension trust, when the fund delivered its one billionth pension dollar to long-time member, Oliver Lepps in a ceremony at 955 headquarters in Edmonton.

These moments were very special and ones I know would not have been possible without the hard-work, dedication, and foresight of those who came before us. To the pension trustees who took the crucial step of starting our plan a half century ago, and all those in between who helped us prosper, I can’t thank you enough. The number of members and their families this pension has supported after a lifetime of hard work is immense and is another big reason IUOE Local 955 remains one of the largest, strongest, and proudest unions in western Canada.

But above the anniversary celebrations, throughout the year Local 955 was hard at work to secure industry-leading collective agreements in several sectors we operate in, while forging new paths and relationships with stakeholders in industry and all levels of government that will help our union flourish.

The positive working relationships we have developed over the past 12 months have shone a new light on Local 955 in a way that hasn’t been seen before. Elected decision makers see the value of the work our members do and understand the critical role we all play in building, maintaining and servicing Alberta. From support for the industries our members operate in, the skill and safety Local 955ers bring to worksites, to the world-class training Local 955 provides at our Budd Coutts Apprenticeship and Education Centre, our message is being delivered.

Throughout the year we spoke with and met several key officials, including Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland; Federal Labour Minister, Seamus O’Regan; Federal Opposition Leader, Pierre Poilievre; Premier Danielle Smith; Minister of Advanced Education, Rajan Sawhney; Minister of Energy, Brian Jean; Minister of Jobs, Matt Jones; Provincial Opposition Leader, Rachel Notley; Edmonton Mayor, Amarjeet Sohi; Councillor; Mike Janz and many more.

In November, I was pleased to chair a very positive labour roundtable at Local 955 headquarters in Edmonton with leaders from several building trades unions and Minister of Advanced Education, Rajan Sawhney, Assistant Deputy Minister of Skilled Trades and Professions, Mike Fernandez and more on the value union training centres can bring to apprenticeship and industry training in Alberta. I very much look forward to growing our partnership with this key ministry while fostering our political relationships and navigating the positive outcomes as a result.

Improved focus and a refreshed strategic approach to social media, communications and marketing has helped 955 tell its own story, boost brand awareness, and elevate our overall presence in the consciousness of Albertans; including members, potential members, students, employers, elected officials, the public, media and others. I hope it’s added to the pride you feel in Local 955 too.

From our partnership with major brands like the Edmonton Oilers and Elks, to published opinion articles in the Edmonton Journal and other outlets, to giving tens of thousands back to the communities we live and work in, our story is being told and our good reputation is growing.

This amplified engagement and presence has increased our capital in many areas and helps in everything from negotiations to organizing, training, government relations, building solidarity and more.

I’ve always said, IUOE Local 955 members are the backbone of Alberta. Swimming through the last 75 years of our history and seeing our successes over 2023 has only strengthened this resolve.

Our members have seen a lot over 955’s lifetime: the birth of the oilsands; incredible advancements in equipment technology; 12 Alberta premiers; challenging infrastructure projects; catastrophic wildfires and floods; several economic booms and busts; changing political environments; difficult labour laws and a lot more. But through it all, one thing remains steadfast: Local 955’s ability to navigate and endure. This is a true testament to our membership.

From those who helped build our local, to those who help steer the ship today, you are the reason for Local 955’s success and you are the reason our next 75 years in this great province are secure.

I’m incredibly excited to see what the future holds. Local 955 leadership remains laser-focused on getting members the fair deals they deserve, gaining market share, boosting our membership, growing our stakeholder relationships and being industry leaders when it comes to adapting to new economic, social and political realities.

With your help, we will do these things together and be even stronger.

Here’s to a prosperous 2024 and a powerful next 75 years.

Chris Flett, Business Manager, IUOE Local 955

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