The Building and Construction Trades Department AFL made some changes in Canada early in this decade. Previously the photos country was divided into regions same as in the United States. The Department maintained a staff of the Regional Directors each responsible for a specific region. It was Regional Director’s job to coordinate activities of the various Councils in the region for important activities such as: organizing; presenting submissions to the provincial governments; assisting in settling up councils to administer project agreements; arranging pre-job conferences and to generally assist affiliated unions. In the days when local unions operated on a lean budget and a one-man staff, often a green hand, the Regional Director earned his keep.
In time, the local unions began to build up their finances and enlarge staff, most local building and construction trades’ councils had a full-time secretary, and most provinces had a provincial council by 1970. Then provincial councils’ leaders began to rally for a Canadian Office in Ottawa and the Department agreed to give the request serious consideration.
Since 1968, there existed a defacto Advisory Board of the Building Trades in Canada, comprised of the top ranking officers and/or representatives from the affiliated unions. It was primarily set-up to get into matters affecting the Building Trades, and to act as a liaison with the CLC on any problems and legislation concerning the Building Trades in Canada.
It was this Board that sent delegations to visit and consult with the provincial councils as to the shape and structure of the proposed national office in Ottawa. Their findings supported the request.
The result was a complete restructuring of the Canadian arm of the Department. This was well before “restructuring” became an unpopular buzz-word, the three Regional Directors in Canada were retired. Each affiliated union to the Department named a high ranking Canadian to the Canadian Executive Board, replacing the Advisory Committee. An Executive Secretary was appointed, James A. McCambly of the Operating Engineers, was installed in the Ottawa office on 1st January 1971.
Collective bargaining in the construction industry took a number of turns in different directions at the beginning of this decade. First, was the loss of an important province at the national bargaining table. It was forced off the team by new provincial legislation in Quebec know there as Bill 290, it was introduced in 1969. All agreements for Quebec construction workers henceforth must be negotiated under the new legislation.
Lodge 271 still represented the Maritimes where a sub-office was maintained at Halifax. But this would change in 1973 when a new lodge for the Maritime Provinces was chartered, Lodge 73. Newfoundland & Labrador now had its own construction lodge, Lodge 203 was chartered in 1969.
New Labour legislation in Ontario, which became effective in 1971, sub-divided the construction industry into five sectors: residential; industrial; commercial and institutional; sewers, tunnels and water-mains; and electrical power systems construction sector.
Besides Quebec and Ontario, other provinces were reviewing their labour codes and changes were in the wind. It became evident that the contractual relationship between the boilermaker contractors and the International Brotherhood had to become more formalized.
The contractors previously grouped together into a committee prior to bargaining, chose a chairman, and come to the table prepared to hammer out an agreement. Their chairman was usually Bill Gibson, though not always, but for the most part he spoke for the contractors and represented them very well. He was a national figure in his own right as the person in charge of labour relations for Canadian Bechtel Ltd., perhaps leading the general contractor in the country.
The contractors got busy and formed the Boilermaker Contractors’ Association (BCA). In the complicated world of red tape things move slowly, but on 13th February 1974, BCA received its Certificate of Accreditation for Boilermaker Employers in Ontario.
BCA went on to meet the criteria in other provinces, except Quebec, so it could function according to the laws of the land. This took some years and a lot of leg-work on part of the BCA officers, but the contractual relationship with the Brotherhood has continued unbroken. This is another part of the boilermaker legacy to be passed on.
The Brotherhood and the BCA had a lot of work to do resulting from the 1969 negotiations and no time was lost in getting at it. Each of the Business Managers party to the collective agreement became Trustees to the Trust Funds governing the operation of the Health & Welfare Plan, which was yet to be determined, and the Pension Plan, which was yet to be determined. In addition, each of the two Canadian IVPs were named Trustees.
The BCA appointed an equivalent number of employer Trustees making a total of fourteen on each Board, the same Trustees served on both Boards. An Administrator was hired and the rest is history.
The Apprenticeship Training Plans and Upgrading Programs are provincial matters, according to the various provincial laws. BCA appointed members to joint committees and so did the local lodges. Progress varied between provinces as there was more work to do in certain provinces than in others.
The two IVPs, jointly-assigned an international representative, to assist the lodges at meetings with provincial government representatives to initiate and coordinate the Brotherhood’s goals. In provinces where the trade of boilermaker was not yet designated as a regulated trade, there was much work to do. Ontario was not one of those, consequently Lodge 128 was ready to go as soon as the funds began to flow in.
John Kelly was appointed the first Training Coordinator in Lodge 128. Kelly had long been a familiar figure in the lodge, was a qualified boilermaker, active in lodge affairs as an officer, and he worked along side Stan Petronski serving as his Assistant.
He soon sorted out what was required down at the Department of Labour as far as training was concerned. Then next move was to find out what Lodge 359 was doing in the way of training and apprenticeship. This lodge was the first to initiate the training of construction boilermaker apprentices in 1963.
Word went out from the Western IVP’s office to meet Kelly’s plane and show him some west coast hospitality. He received the Royal Treatment in the lodge office, was turned over to the Training Coordinator and, off together went to the Ministry of Labour to meet the provincial Director of Apprenticeship. One evening he was invited to break bread with the Lodge 359 Joint Apprenticeship Committee. He was given complete run of the classroom and shop floor facilities, including the library, for an entire week..
Kelly had certain goals in mind for Lodge 128, he set about upgrading the present journeymen first, and in order to do that he developed a training manual, using the information which he picked up along the way. Lodge 128’s Joint Apprenticeship Committee proudly released the first ever, print-shop produced, Construction Boilermaker Training Manual.
Kelly and his contemporaries in other lodges, later became back-up support for the international representative when the IVPs sent him to secure the Red Seal Status for our craft. Meetings with the Inter-provincial Standards Committee, where representations were made, were held on both coasts.
The presence of all the local lodge coordinators was essential, and the fact that they were all singing from the same hymn book, allowed the Boilermakers to be granted Red Seal Status in 1974, within two years of the initial request. On average, the time period was never less than six years with other building trades.
Other manuals have since been printed and more will follow, but the Red Seal is for a lifetime. This is a vital part of the legacy referred to in our opening piece.
The National Tank Agreement and the Boiler Erection and Field Construction were rolled into, the National Construction Agreement. In July of 1962 the hourly rate for Journeymen was.10 plus 12% for Vacation and Holiday (stats) Pay. Benefit Plan contributions were at: 20 cents to Health & Welfare and 10 cents to Pension. Contributions to training funds: 4 cents to Education and 1 cent to Apprenticeship. By 1976 the hourly rate rose to.88 By the end of the decade, the hourly rate was.47 plus 12% of gross for Vacation and Holiday Pay. Contributions to benefit plans: 45 cents to Health & Welfare and.35 to Pension. Training funds: 9 cents to Educational Fund and 2 cents to Apprenticeship.
The Construction Industry was a busy one in the seventies with Ontario Hydro leading the pack in spending, its capital assets stood at.2 billion in 1970, when it committed to a capital expansion at a cost of more than billion. Among the committed projects was the Nanticoke steam generating plant, construction actually began in 1968 and continued over the next ten years. When completed in 1978 the 4,100 megawatts coal-fired station contained eight units and was the largest of its type in the world (and probably still is in 1997).
Construction of the Lennox generating station began in 1977 and continued into 1982. This oil-fired plant, with four units, is close to Kingston and it mainly serves as a reserve station.
A new thermal power station was started during the latter half of the decade: the Thunder Bay Generating Station, which is coal-fired.
The Pickering Nuclear Station on Lake Ontario, which began producing in 1971 with two units, began adding another two additional units in 1973, Pickering “A” was completed in 1975. Pickering “B” was in the planning stage.
Meanwhile expansion continued at the Bruce “A” Nuclear Station on Douglas Point, Lake Huron, it was completed in 1978. A second station was also now under way. Bruce “B” began construction in 1976 with four reactors planned, with 925 MW capacities each.
Heavy water is used as a moderator and coolant in the CANDU reactor, it is manufactured from Lake Huron water. A complex chemical process involving hydrogen sulphide gas and large amounts of steam is used to separate the heavy water from ordinary lake water. The Bruce Heavy Water Plant “A” went into production in 1973 and Heavy Water Plant “B” came on stream in 1981.
Oil refinery expansions announced in the early seventies resulted in growth at Sun Oil in Sarnia, British Petroleum at Bronte and the Gulf plant at Clarkston.
It was much the same story for the second half of the decade, Shell Oil in Sarnia added a huge expansion. So too, did a number of chemical plants enlarge their production facilities: Petrosar, Polysar; Union Carbide; Dupont; and, Erco.
The pulp and paper industry was booming and there were numerous expansions to existing mills: Howard Smith’s mill at Cornwall; Great Lakes Paper in Thunder Bay; Kimberley Clark at Terrace Bay; American Can at Marathon; Domtar at Red Rock; C.P. Forest Products at Dryden; and, Boise Cascade at Fort Frances.
The mining industry at Timmins was on the upswing with a large expansion to Texas Gulf’s plant: refinery, smelting and acid plants were completed in 1978.
At Elliot Lake, Rio Algom was bringing the Quirk Lake Mine’s production up to top capacity, this was completed in 1979.
A Sudbury, Falconbridge Mines Ltd., had two big undertakings, the Fraser Mine development and a smelter environmental improvement project. International Nickel also had a major environmental improvement program underway.
In the basic steel industry, Stelco had its huge Nanticoke project under construction, to be completed in 1980. Future plans here were put on hold.
At Hamilton, Stelco had a huge project underway on the improvement and expansion to its facilities during the latter half of the decade.
At Sault Ste. Marie, Algoma Steel had completed a massive expansion to its facilities toward the end of the decade.
In the Cement Industry, a new plant was being built at Bath and an expansion to an existing plant was going on in Bowmanville.
Lodge 128 by this time, had acquired a lot of real estate. There is the main office in a central location in Etobicoke, just off the Gardinar Expressway in Greater Toronto. When it was officially opened, International President Harold J. Buoy officiated at the ceremony and the Mayor welcomed Lodge 128 to Etobicoke. There were many out-of-town guests present, contractors, visiting Business Managers, International Officers and Representatives. The lodge members, acting as ushers, escorted groups through their new home showing off the premises, with evident pride.
It was a great improvement over the original downtown address of 167 Church Street, an address which served the Boilermakers through thick and thin for many generations. Those old pioneer boilermakers would look down from Heaven on this day, feeling very proud and no doubt thinking “I am a part of all that.” Besides the spacious general offices, there were the Training Coordinator’s quarters, training space and the meeting space. The Dispatch office was located with easy access for the members.
The lodge maintained sub-offices in: Sarnia, Sudbury, Thunder Bay (jointly with L-555), and Hamilton. They own some of the buildings from which local lodge representatives operate from, under the direction of the Business Manager. Training facilities are also located in the outlying communities. Lodge 128 had come a long way since May of 1947.
There was considerable organizing of new bargaining units at different locations in Ontario, one of these resulted in a new lodge being chartered, Lodge 275 at Cornwall, to look after the employees of Combustion Engineering-Superheater Ltd.
There was a new Heat Treating Agreement developed which was national in Scope and it involved a joint effort with the United Association. The shop and field employees came under agreement with Lodge 128 and/or UA Local 46, in Ontario. A similar agreement followed with non destructive testing laboratories covering technicians, which later blossomed into the Quality Control Council of Canada.
The “Quality Control Council” existed only in the minds of the Officers of the two organizations as early as 1970. An international representative was jointly-assigned to work directly with the Canadian Director of the United Association. The work of organizing the NDT technicians began in British Columbia where the first provincial agreement was established that year. Everything went relatively smooth and most contractors in the province became signatory.
Next it was on to Alberta, a technician was imported from B.C. as an organizer, Gordon Finley, and he did a bang-up job chasing down contractors’ crews out on the pipe line spreads, on construction sites and in contract shops, as well as in their own labs. An agreement was put in place there in 1973, it was also provincial.
Next came Ontario, it took some time to get all the ducks in a row here, with hearings before the Ontario Labour Relations Board etc., but success came in the end despite all the struggle.
Meanwhile the Officers, acting with vision, decided that the time had come to formalize the Quality Control Council of Canada. In January of 1973, those involved slipped into Edmonton and held the first constitutional meeting of the Council. The Constitution, which had been in draft form for some time, was duly adopted.
It was early in 1975 that the negotiation for first national collective agreement, covering NDT work, was concluded in Calgary. Stan Petronski represented Lodge 128 and signed on its behalf.
Contract Plant Maintenance had already a 20-year history as we moved into the seventies. The agreements were, by this time, being administered by the General Presidents’ Committee and they had grown enormously, no less than 23 plants across Canada were using this concept for their maintenance. Six of these were in Ontario: Shell Oil, Oakville; Shell Oil, Sarnia; Sun Oil, Sarnia; Gulf Oil, Clarkson; B.P. Oil, Bronte; and Ontario Hydro, Douglas Point.
There were two Brotherhood Conventions during this decade, the 24th Consolidated Convention was held in Denver in August of 1973, the 25th Consolidated was held in Vancouver in August of 1977. Delegates from Lodge 128 at Denver included: Stan Petronski, Matt Bakker and James Stewart. Delegates to Vancouver were: Stan Petronski, Matt Bakker, Mal Janigan, Jon McManus, John Kelly and Adrian Purdy.
The Vancouver Convention was a very important one for the International Brotherhood. It was here that the Delegates created the Construction Division giving the membership, in this industry, the attention it deserved. History was made on that day. It would prove to be a visionary move!
With the Shop Crafts in the Railway Industry, we entered the seventies with a two-year agreement covering 1969-70 providing for a 6.5% wage increase in each of those two years.
A new two-year agreement signed in 1971 provided for further increases of 8% in 1972 and 7% in 1972. In both of these agreements there were provisions for improving fringe benefits.
The next round of negotiations was tough which ended in arbitration hearings. The Award saw the Mechanics rates rise from.35 to.23 per hour, effective 1st January 1974.
For the first time pensions were on the table and improvements gained amounted to 4.3 cents per hour. There were improvements in other fringes such as vacations, one extra holiday and shift differentials.
When they went back to the table again for renewal it was one of the most complicated negotiations in recent memory. They began in direct negotiations, then to a third party: a government mediator, then on to a conciliator, then a conciliation board or arbitrator.
The eventual settlement was a good one, in total, it amounted to 21.8% over one year. The increase covered many items, too numerous to break down here. But remainder of 1974 was covered by a 0.00 lump sum bonus. The hourly rate in 1975 went to.04 plus COLA.
The next round was tough going too, with the whole gamut of third parties, but the settlement produced some good increases: in 1976 the Mechanic’s rate rose 11% and in 1977 it went up to 8.26%, making the hourly rate.30 per hour.
The Anti-Inflation Act came into play for the rest of this decade holding all increases at 6% per annum.
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