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Operators union’s new Ottawa office will aid lobbying

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The new central office the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) has established in Ottawa sets the foundation for the union’s national voice, says the union’s national director.

The new central office the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) has established in Ottawa sets the foundation for the union’s national voice, says the union’s national director.

“We now have a permanent fixture, in the heart of Canada and geographically, for all our members across the nation,” explains Derm Cain, IUOE Canadian director. “This solidifies us in Canada.”

The IUOE officially opened its Sparks Street office in May. Cain explains that with an Ottawa office it will be easier to tackle lobbying issues.

Labour mobility, employment insurance, national labour standards and training, infrastructure spending and occupational health and safety are among the union’s priorities, he says.

“We want to be on the ground floor with the lawmakers in Ottawa,” adds Cain. “We want to be able to be heard and this helps our efforts.”

IUOE has 44,000 members across Canada, including 20 union locals and nine training centres in eight provinces.

IUOE has over 400,000 members in 138 local unions throughout Canada and the United States; it also has a central office in Washington, D.C.

Stationed at IUOE’s new Ottawa office is Steven Schumann, IUOE’s new Canadian director of governmental affairs, who is excited about the new road ahead the Ottawa office provides.

“I think opening a national office provides the IUOE more creditability and opportunity to work with the federal government and national stakeholders in areas of mutual interest and concern,” adds Schumann.

IUOE was established in Chicago on Dec. 7, 1896 under its first name, the National Union of Steam Engineers of America. A year later the first Canadian workers joined the start-up union and the union’s name was changed to the International Union of Steam Engineers.

In 1928, IUOE dropped the word “steam” from its name, creating the name it carries to this day.

This recent evolution by IUOE, to establish a foothold in Ottawa in order to be closer to the political heartbeat of the nation, is one another construction organization recently has taken on.

Merit Canada was founded late last year in order to provide a national open-shop voice.

Though based in Western Canada, it set up an Ottawa office to assist its federal lobbying efforts.

by Vince Versace

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