The mission of the staff at Local 49's Training Center in Hinckley, MN, is to empower our members through training and education—with the knowledge and technical expertise to perform as leaders in their given craft.
During the course of the training season, approximately 4,000-5,000 members pass through our doors. The construction training season peaks from December through May. During this time the emphasis is on classes geared to equipment operators, but "Day Training" and sessions geared to public sector employees happens all year 'round.
Be sure to visit the Health Fund's website to review all the programs that are available to you and your family as eligible participants in the Local 49 Health Plan.
49er Political Action
Sometimes it seems as though unions are under siege, but our Political & Legislative Director is out front on the issues that require us to take action, and we've been effectively communicating with legislators to educate and persuade them.
49ers are more than just engaged voters; we're informed, active members of our communities with real interest in, and concern for, the issues that impact jobs, worker safety, and fair treatment on the job.
Business Manager looks forward
Spring is fast approaching and the work picture for the 2014 construction season looks to be a good one. Traveling to all the holiday parties and health education meetings these last several months has been a challenge with the weather, several meetings had to be rescheduled and now that we have finished with these, I would like to thank all the members and their spouses who attended.
As I stated in every meeting: you as the owners of these plans have the ability to learn about what you have and communicate this information to the other members who have not attended a meeting. By doing member-to-member education we can continue to engage more and more members. The more we know about what we have, the better it gets for all of us.
Members have taken advantage of the training to add to and upgrade their skills at the training center and other locations around the three states. We have added many new programs like advanced equipment classes, curb machine operators, pipeline equipment, Pro 10, and many others.
Every day we get requests for operators to fill positions that many members could -- if they had the certification or class -- take the job. Limiting yourself to one or two skills on equipment also limits your ability to stay employed. Take advantage of your training center and the opportunity to advance your skills.
The political season is upon us and it will be all hands on deck sessions in all three states. People tell me what’s the big deal -- why do we or why should we get involved? Well if you think about it this way it makes sense:
A lot of what we do as Operating Engineers has public money funding the projects we work on. Public employees in the cities and counties rely on tax dollars to fund their jobs. The roads have public money, and so do the bridges, waste water plants, etc. So if we are not continually watching and pushing for money to be spent in ways that directly benefit local infrastructure and communities it will get spent for things that do not employ Operating Engineers. Almost all projects 49ers work on have some public money or tax finance options, and -- like it or not -- the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Local 49 is a part of a large group of diverse companies, cities, counties, political representatives, and many others that have signed on to Move MN. This group has been working on a bill to fund transportation, and hopes to have this bill passed this secession. There are other bills we would like to see get passed as well, such as the minimum wage bill.
Lobby Day at the MN Capitol for Local 49 will be March 5th, 2014, and it is fast approaching. Everyone should get signed up for this event so you can talk to your representative about the issues you have and support the work your local union has done on your behalf. Every member who has been to your lobby day said “wow, this is great, being able to talk to our representative about my issues along with other 49ers was fun and educational." Do your part: sign up and show up.
Our International Union has rejoined with the National Building Trades and our General President James Callahan has stated it is important that labor is on the same page. He has stepped into the Health Care issues with the “ACA” (Affordable Care Act) and asked the politicians to fix the "reinsurance tax" issue that will cost funds like ours millions of dollars.
The Keystone pipeline is long overdue and the permit should be approved. The political department of the IUOE in Washington DC communicates with the local unions on important issues that affect all our jobs.
The work picture looks very good for all parts of our union: all three states have projects that will keep us working and we will see the need to recruit new workers into our union, our apprentice program is second to none, and the leaders of both political parties and the education leaders have been or will be attending a tour of our training site. The same comment is made no matter who comes to Hinckley: WOW, this is unbelievable, and to think this is paid for by the members.
So work safe, help your fellow union members and be the best we can be.
Attend your union meetings and be informed.
Business Manager, Local 49
International Union of Operating Engineers