IUOE Hail Permit Approval for Keystone XL Pipeline

IUOE Hail Permit Approval for Keystone XL Pipeline

WASHINGTON, DC The following statement was issued today by James T. Callahan, General President of the International Union of Operating Engineers, on the State Department’s permit approval for the Keystone XL Pipeline:

“Finally, the most studied and scrutinized pipeline in history is one step closer to being built. The Operating Engineers applaud issuance of the presidential permit and commend the State Department for finding that critical energy infrastructure projects like Keystone XL are in the national interest.

President Trump has made it clear that modernizing North America’s energy infrastructure is vital work. We agree. Building Keystone XL means creating thousands of skilled construction jobs—jobs that feed families, pay mortgages, send kids to college—that will also benefit the businesses and communities along the route.”

Click here to read the full statement.

Eric Richardson

Eric Richardson

Eric Richardson began his next journey as a Pipeline worker on the Dakota Access Pipeline and a member of Local 49 after 24 years of experience in the United States Army. Richardson, who grew up in Wyoming, but now lives in Cloquet, MN, joined the Army in 1987.

“For my first two years in the Army I was stationed in Germany, and then came back to Fort Hood, Texas where I was then deployed to Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm,” Richardson said. After returning to the U.S. Richardson was a part of the counter drug missions between the U.S. and Mexican border. “I was responsible for tracking drugs coming across the border, and then later on I actually went back as a special ops mission planner, and I planned all of those missions,” Richardson said about the drug missions.

In 2004 Richardson was deployed to Iraq where he ran security force for combat support convoys. Richardson returned to the United States for a short time before deploying again to Iraq from 2006-2008. “That was a 15 month deployment, and that was a tough one…I think we lost about 30 some people during that deployment,” Richardson recalled.

When Richardson returned to the states he went to training to become a Sergeant in Fort Jackson, South Carolina and deployed to Afghanistan in 2010-2011. After he completed his mission in Afghanistan, Richardson decided it was time to retire from the military.

From there he used his military experience for his next job as a personal security professional for the United States Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. “We provided diplomatic security for chief personnel in Kabul, Afghanistan, and I did that for nearly five years,” stated Richardson. “I would spend 105 days there, and then return to the U.S. for 35 days…you weren’t living in the best conditions, but it was a step above being deployed in the Army,” he added.

After his time doing security detail, Richardson decided it was time to come home for good, and find a job that is more local. Joe Chastan, the Local 49 Business Agent out of Bagley, MN, helped Richardson find his first job and helped him become a member of Local 49. “Joe gave me an opportunity to be an oiler on the (Dakota Access) Pipeline,” Richardson said of the new opportunity. “I thought it was fantastic and it was interesting to see how that pipe went into the ground,” he continued. “I had a really good business agent, good steward and great foremen up there that taught me a lot.”

Richardson became a member of Local 49 in June 2016, and worked on Spread 7 of the Pipeline, which is located in Williston and Watford, North Dakota. That part of the Pipeline work wrapped up in November 2016.

During the off-season, Richardson said he is taking full advantage of the Operating Engineers Local 49 Training Center. “I took the OSHA 30 class, two pipeline horizontal directional drilling classes, a side boom class, and then I also took the dozer and excavator class,” Richardson said. “I thought the Training Center was great, and the instructors are phenomenal; I can’t say one bad thing about any of the training there,” Richardson continued.

While Richardson hasn’t been a member of Local 49 for very long, he said he is excited about the opportunities Local 49 has already given him. “The union has got great benefits, great opportunities and it’s a way for me to travel around the United States.”

For more stories like Eric’s visit the Members At Work tab on www.local49.org


Impact of Prevailing Wage on Military Veterans in Minnesota

Impact of Prevailing Wage on Military Veterans in Minnesota

Minnesota’s Prevailing Wage laws ensure that construction workers get a good days pay for a good days work. Veterans are coming home and getting into construction in big numbers in Minnesota because our area standard wages allow them to raise families. There are some legislators in Minnesota that want to weaken or eliminate prevailing wage laws, which would directly cut the pay of workers and veterans looking to have a middle class career. Find out more about this important issue by looking at the numbers. 

Prevailing wage standards make construction employment more attractive for veterans and

improve economic outcomes for veterans. Minnesota’s prevailing wage law:

• Increases the annual incomes of veteran blue-color construction workers by 7.0 to 10.7 percent;

• Improves employer-provided health coverage for veterans in construction by 11.2 to 14.6 percent;

• Reduces veteran poverty by 23.7 to 31.4 percent for those working in construction; and

• Supports veteran-owned construction firms.

Click here to read the full independent study.

Transportation Funding, Prevailing Wage Threats & Right to Work Updates

Transportation Funding, Prevailing Wage Threats & Right to Work Updates

Political Director, Jason George, sent an e-mail to Local 49 members on February 14, 2017 updating them on Prevailing Wage, Transportation and Right to Work.  

A lot is happening at Local 49, here is an update from the last couple of weeks:

Local 49 Lobby Day

It is very important that we have members attend Lobby Day this year on February 28th. To be blunt, RSVPs are not good so far. I can’t emphasize enough that we need a good turnout on this day. This is your chance to do something for your jobs. Transportation funding is critical to every 49er no matter what you do.

If you are not working, you need to attend Lobby Day.

Here is a link to sign up and more details:

Lobby Day RSVP: http://local49.org/day-at-the-capitol-2017/

We will have busses at the Minneapolis hall to take us to the Capitol, also if you live outstate call your local union hall they will have busses coming to Minneapolis as well.

Transportation Funding Update

I have had a lot of conversations in the last month on this. I have spoken to Republican and Democratic Leaders both in the House and Senate and the Governor’s office. This year we have joined forces with the business community to support the outline of a compromise package that we believe can pass.

We are building momentum at the Capitol, and there is a lot of support for the plan we are putting forward. There are some roadblocks that we will need to overcome.

In March and April, be ready to put a full court press on your legislators, and the Governor to pass a comprehensive transportation funding bill this year. We are laying the groundwork now for this push, Lobby Day on February 28th is the beginning and we need you there.

Prevailing Wage Threats Update

I can report that we have had several productive meetings on this issue in the last couple of weeks. The prevailing wage bills that have been introduced so far are not gaining a lot of support in either the House or the Senate and are not moving right now, which is good. I will be keeping a close eye on this and if something does start moving in Minnesota we will need you to weigh in with your legislators.

We are also working up some plans to engage the public, and in particular non-union construction workers, more on prevailing wage. There is so much misinformation out there being pushed by people that want to lower your wages, we need to be talking more about prevailing wage, how it works, and why it is important for all construction workers. We will be doing that in the coming weeks and have a couple of campaign ideas.

Also a quick note, in Washington DC prevailing wage repeal bills are being introduced right now. These bills are not getting a lot of traction, many Republicans in both the House and the Senate do not support repeal of Davis/Bacon prevailing wage. We have a Davis/Bacon supporting Republican Congressman here in Minnesota, 6th District Representative Tom Emmer. If you live in his district and run into him, thank him for standing with you on prevailing wage.

Right to Work Update

A quick update on this. First of all, there is nothing happening on Right To Work in the Minnesota Legislature. There are enough Republicans that do not support this legislation to prevent it from moving anywhere here right now. We need to be diligent and keep doing what we are doing to educate the public and legislators on this issue; our strategy is working right now.

As you have probably heard, national right to work legislation has been introduced by Iowa Congressman Steve King. The International Union in Washington, DC is all over this and fighting it aggressively. They sent out an email to members across the nation last week encouraging you to contact your Congressperson and express your strong opposition. Hopefully you are signed up on their emails if not you can sign up by signing up for Local 49 email on our website.

For more information on this, the IUOE has set up a website to keep you informed – please take a look and pass it around. Local 49 has done a Facebook post on this and this information is on our website as well.

Here is the IUOE Stop Right to Work website: http://www.iuoe.org/about-iuoe/stoprtw

If you want to call Congressman Steve King’s office and let them know you don’t appreciate him trying to destroy your union you can reach him at: 202-225-4426

Public Sector Members Under Attack

There are bills being introduced that are targeting the public sector. State Representative Steve Drazkowski has authored House File 768 that is a different way to allow for freeloaders and prevent unions from charging for the services they provide. There continues to be a small number of Republican legislators that don’t value public employees, and continue to try to destroy their unions. I am happy to report there are a growing number of Republicans that don’t believe this is the right thing to do.

I am also happy to report that Governor Dayton has said publicly that he will not sign bills like this. For the next two years, these proposals are simply dead on arrival in my opinion. Local 49 public employees should pay attention to who is attacking them and we will fight these kinds of proposals every step of the way, but these bills will not become law as long as Governor Dayton is in office. 

In Solidarity,

Jason George

Special Projects/Political Director

National Right to Work Bill Introduced!

National Right to Work Bill Introduced!

The International Union of Operating Engineers released a statement regarding the recent National Right to Work Bill that was introduced last week. Below is the full letter that was sent out to members.


Crony capitalists are trying to rig the system. Although a majority of states are now weakened by “Right-to-Work” laws, billionaire CEO’s will not be satisfied until the entire nation is put under “Right-to-Work.”

A national “Right-to-Work” bill, H.R. 785, was just introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by longtime mouthpiece for anti-union construction contractors, Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa). This legislation is designed to lower workers’ wages, shut down unions and maximize CEO profits.

Contact your Member of Congress today!

“Right-to-work” laws thrust the government into the middle of labor-management negotiations. It eliminates “union security” clauses in collective bargaining agreements, which simply require workers who benefit under an agreement to pay their fair share. “Right-to-work” laws even allow an individual worker to avoid paying a dime for the cost of taking up a grievance on their behalf. Yet the union still has a duty to represent the worker.

“Right to work” is wrong. It is wrong for workers, employers, and they’re simply un-American.

Please contact your Member of Congress right now and urge them to stand up for working families by opposing H.R. 785, National “Right-to-Work” legislation. “Right-to-Work” isn’t about improving working conditions, increasing wages, or providing a secure retirement for workers. It does not increase jobs. It only lowers standards for all workers.

Studies have shown that states with “Right-to-Work” laws suffer:

·         Lower Wages and Incomes

·         Lower Rates of Health Insurance Coverage

·         Higher Poverty and Infant Mortality Rates

·         Higher Workplace Fatality Rates

Contact your Member of Congress today!

The IUOE is just beginning to develop the program to fight S. 785, National “right to work” legislation. We have recently launched the “StopRTW.org” website for more information.

In Solidarity,

Engineers Action and Response Network (EARN)


Mark Doble

Mark Doble

Mark Doble, a two year member of Local 49, has made a difference in his local community and beyond. He has impacted communities across the country by volunteering for the Red Cross for the past 11 years and being deployed to 22 different disasters.

Doble has worked for the Metropolitan Council (MET Council) as a wastewater treatment operator at the Seneca Plant in Eagan for the past four years. Doble was formerly a member of Local 49’s sister Local – Local 35 – before they merged with Local 49 two years ago.

Being a union operator is something Doble says has been in the family for generations.

“I am a fourth generation union operator, and my grandfather helped start Local 35,” Doble said.

Now being a part of Local 49, he said it is a unique experience going from a small local to one of the largest unions in the state of Minnesota.

“It’s great having a lot of brothers and sisters,” Doble said. “I try to stay involved and attend every meeting, and last year I was also involved in the Day at the Capitol.”

Doble originally obtained his culinary degree. Prior to his time at the MET Council, he was a sous-chef at Target Field’s Champion’s Club restaurant, which is also a union restaurant.

“Being from a union family has had a very strong influence in my life, and I try my best to support the union as much as I can,” Doble said. “It’s part of the reason I got the job at Target Field because I knew it was union and I try to stay within the union with the jobs I’ve had.”

Being a part of the union is not the only passion Doble has, volunteering for the Red Cross has taken him across the country helping thousands of people in need. Doble’s first experience volunteering for the Red Cross was responding to the 2007 Interstate-35W Bridge collapse.

“The I-35W Bridge collapse was my very first response, and it was a very traumatic experience,” Doble stated. “But we (Red Cross) have a great support system around us.”

Doble said one of the more memorable volunteer experiences he had was responding to the recent Flint, Michigan water crisis.

“I was senior leadership during this time and I was responsible for planning how we distributed water to the residents of Flint,” he said.

Doble estimated that there was more than a million gallons of water to be distributed, and they are still giving out water to this day.

“If we weren’t there to help the people in those communities, they would have never gotten water,” Doble said. “There was such a distrust there that certain communities would only take water from the Red Cross and no one else.”

In addition to the Flint, Michigan water crisis, Doble responded to the 2010 Memphis, Tennessee flood, which flooded the Grand Ole Opry. He was in charge of distributing food during that disaster.

2010 was a memorable year for Doble as he was the recipient of the highly distinguished Red Cross Volunteer of the Year award and through that award he met President Obama.

“I really feel that I need to give back to my community, and it’s an important part of being a member of a community,” Doble stated.

Doble has no plans of stopping his volunteering, and was even asked to help with the recent Georgia floods, but due to timing was unable to.

“When I first joined the Red Cross I was never a hugger, well I became one again because that’s just what it does to you,” Doble said with a laugh.

For more stories on members of Local 49 please visit www.local49.org

Elevate Minnesota campaign puts spotlight on construction workers

Elevate Minnesota campaign puts spotlight on construction workers

Originally published in the Star Tribune January 31, 2017


Tanya, the cement truck driver, and Adriane, the mechanical insulator, are two of more than 80,000 skilled tradesmen who help build Minnesota, literally.

A coalition of 16 local labor unions have launched “Elevate Minnesota,” a public relations campaign to tell the stories of blue-collar workers who are described in a release as “your union friends and neighbors raising the bar for us all.”

“We are trying to really show them who these folks are and remind them how hard they work for all of us and show the skills that we have, the training that we have, the privately funded health care, pensions and what we do every day in the communities across the state,” said Elevate Minnesota Board Chair Jason George, special projects director of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49. “We just feel like that that story has been lost in the last few decades.”

The “Elevate Minnesota” campaign launched last week in the form of radio spots, Facebook posts and digital videos.

The venture doesn’t have a political agenda, George said. The impetus was simply that the construction trades don’t often do a proper job explaining their contributions and the benefits that they offer to their workers, he said. The campaign highlights the union-funded training and other benefits to workers as well as the community involvement that many engage in.

“The important thing that we want people to understand is the value that we give Minnesota,” George said.

Construction workers continue to be in high demand. Last year, the construction industry added more than 7,400 jobs in Minnesota growing 6.9 percent, which was more than four times the national pace.

Elevate Minnesota is a partnership of these organizations:

Boilermakers Local 647

Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1

Cement Masons, Plasterers and Shophands Local 633

Heat and Frost Allied Workers Local 34

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 110

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 292

International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49

Iron Workers Local 512

Laborers’ District Council

Minnesota Pipe Trades Association

North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters

Painters and Allied Trades District Council 82

Plasterers Local 265

Roofers and Waterproofers Local 96

Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 10

Teamsters Local 120

Snow Fighters Appreciation Day

Snow Fighters Appreciation Day

ROSEVILLE —  Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton made the official proclamation of Snow Fighter Appreciation Day in Minnesota today.

In celebration of Snow Fighter Appreciation Day, the American Highway Users Alliance hosted an event today at the Rosedale Mall in Roseville, MN to support the hard working men and women who keep roads safe and commerce moving in Minnesota.

Speakers at the event included Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) Commissioner Charlie Zelle and Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman

On behalf of Local 49, thank you to all of our public sector members who ensure our roads are safe. 

Executive Action on Pipelines is Welcome News to Pipeline Workers

Executive Action on Pipelines is Welcome News to Pipeline Workers

WASHINGTON, DC – The following statement was issued today by James T. Callahan, General President of the International Union of Operating Engineers, on President Trump’s executive actions on pipeline construction in the United States:

“President Trump’s executive orders paving the way to build more domestic energy infrastructure is welcome news to the Operating Engineers. His actions today restore stability to a pipeline industry that has invested billions in private infrastructure over the years, only to see the goal posts moved arbitrarily based solely on politics.

Pipeline projects like Keystone XL and Dakota Access—projects that followed proper regulatory processes and legal procedures— may now move forward with more certainty for the owners, contractors and construction workers who take pride in building safe, modern energy infrastructure for America.”

Click here to read the full statement.

Minnesota’s Private Sector Labor Unions Unite for Nation’s First Awareness Campaign

Minnesota’s Private Sector Labor Unions Unite for Nation’s First Awareness Campaign

MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota’s private sector labor unions today announced the creation of “Elevate Minnesota,” a campaign aimed at highlighting important contributions of Minnesota’s private sector unions to Minnesota. This first-of-its-kind campaign, launching today on radio, Facebook and at elevateminnesota.org with the tagline “Your union friends and neighbors raising the bar for us all,” brings together 16 labor unions to share the real stories of their members. “Whether they’re raising a new bridge, hauling equipment to and from job sites, or bringing U.S. Bank Stadium to life, the diverse group of men and women of Minnesota’s private sector unions are helping Minnesota’s economy thrive,” said Elevate Minnesota Board Chair Jason George of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49. “A strong and thriving economy relies on our members and our private sector partners. This campaign aims to elevate the work our members are doing in every community in every corner of Minnesota.”

Click here to read the full press release.

Local 49 Joins Other Labor & Business Leaders in Issuing a Joint Statement on Transportation

Local 49 Joins Other Labor & Business Leaders in Issuing a Joint Statement on Transportation

No more excuses; transportation infrastructure funding demands action

By Doug Loon, Charlie Weaver, Tim Worke, John Raines, Todd Pufahl and Glen Johnson

Originally Published in the Star Tribune Friday, January 13, 2017

This is a tumultuous time in our state and nation. Many Minnesotans are increasingly frustrated with our political process and the lack of progress on critical issues. Like them, we believe that in Minnesota, we can and should do better. We need to put our differences aside and find common ground to get important things done.

Long-term transportation infrastructure funding is one issue where this can and should happen in the 2017 legislative session. Our elected leaders have repeatedly kicked the can down the road in recent years, while our infrastructure has continued to deteriorate and the cost to fix it has gone up. Both parties share responsibility for inaction, and both have too eagerly played the political blame game.

That is not acceptable, to any of us, anymore. Business and labor do not always agree, but there’s no disagreement between us when it comes to support for a logical, fair and responsible compromise that will substantially address our long-term transportation infrastructure needs.

The Legislature and the governor should enact a long-term transportation infrastructure funding plan early in the 2017 session that has the following components:

• All transportation-related taxes currently being collected in the general fund should be dedicated to transportation infrastructure (biggest issue being sales tax on auto parts and rental cars).

• Projects must be delivered efficiently. More must be done for less.

• Use trunk highway and general obligation bonding to support investment in our transportation infrastructure.

• Innovative public/private project funding allowed and encouraged.

• Depreciation schedule adjusted for passenger vehicle license tab fees.

• Metro counties allowed to lead in funding the buildout and operation of the metro transit system that is outside the network of regular bus routes.

If our approach is implemented, around $6 billion will be available to start to address our transportation infrastructure needs in the next 10 years. We recognize our proposal isn’t perfect, and it will not solve all of our infrastructure problems. But it will make a sizable, sustained investment at a time when the long-term commitment of additional resources is desperately needed.

Some will say it doesn’t go far enough and will advocate for large, new tax increases. Others will cry foul at directing money from the state’s general fund to transportation infrastructure. We expect and welcome debate and are interested in other good ideas. But we cannot let that debate be used to sidetrack and politicize the issue and stop anything from happening.

Hundreds of thousands of families across Minnesota who rely on good-paying construction jobs deserve a future. Our best and brightest companies that depend on quality infrastructure to do business in our state require a solution. Thousands of small-business owners who make their living building this state need some certainty if they are to survive.

Everyone in Minnesota depends on our transportation system. Transportation infrastructure is a core function of government, one of the few things the Minnesota Constitution specifically says government must provide for the people. A sound and dependable transportation network touches every citizen.

Our elected leaders must put their differences aside to solve this problem. The time for excuses and political gamesmanship is over.

Doug Loon is president, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. Charlie Weaver is executive director, Minnesota Business Partnership. Tim Worke is CEO, Associated General Contractors of Minnesota. John Raines is executive secretary-treasurer, North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters. Todd Pufahl is president, Laborers District Council of Minnesota and North Dakota. Glen Johnson is business manager-financial secretary, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49.

Akeethia Brown

Akeethia Brown

“My life literally did a complete flip flop, and it’s been a blessing,” said Akeethia Brown, a one-year member of Local 49.

Brown, who currently works for Lunda Construction Company as a crane operator, began her interest in heavy equipment when she was working part time in the maintenance department at Summit Academy.

“I would watch all of these women enter into the program and graduate, and when you’re working in maintenance you kind of get to eavesdrop into the classrooms and learn a lot,” she said.

“So one day I was listening in on the heavy equipment class, and I got to see what they did,” she added.

Brown eventually entered into the program, graduated and was hired on with Lunda shortly after graduation.

Brown described her first day working as a crane operator “overwhelming, but exciting.”

“My first day out here I felt like a little bug…Everything was so different, and it was my first time involved in anything construction related,” she said, “But everyone here is so helpful and encouraging.”

Brown said what she loves most about the job is how much she gets to learn, and grow her skill set as a crane operator.

“When I go home at night I can say that I’ve at least learned three new things that day,” she said, “To me, that’s what life is about.”

Brown also is excited about the opportunity to take more classes at the Training Center.

“I plan on taking as many classes as I can at the Training Center,” she said.

Since the apprenticeship program can be spread out over the four years, and is very adaptable to member’s schedules, Brown said it still takes commitment to finish.

“There’s a lot of certifications, and it definitely takes dedication,” she said.

Brown said her main inspiration for beginning her career as a heavy equipment operator is her daughter, Samari, and being able to provide for her.

“I walked into my daughter’s classroom one day, and all of her friends who are little girls came out to me and we’re so excited and said, ‘Wow! That’s so cool your mom is in construction!’”

“So it’s not only cool that I’m inspiring myself, but I can inspire younger girls to show them that they can be in this field,” Brown said.

Brown said that the health care benefits through the Operating Engineers Local 49 Health and Welfare Fund has also greatly improved her family’s quality of life.

“The health care with the union (Local 49) it’s amazing,” she said.

When Brown compares her life to what it was even just a year ago to what it is like now, she said that her life has changed dramatically for the better.

“Sometimes I really feel like this is a dream, I like everything I’m doing out here in the field, and as long as I enjoy what I’m doing that’s really all that matters at the end of the day,” Brown said.

Jobs for Minnesotans Outraged Over “Arbitrary” Federal Moves to Deny Twin Metals’ Leases and Block Future Development

Jobs for Minnesotans Outraged Over “Arbitrary” Federal Moves to Deny Twin Metals’ Leases and Block Future Development

St. Paul, Minnesota (Dec. 15, 2016) – Jobs for Minnesotans released the following statement in response to the decisions by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to deny Twin Metals Minnesota’s lease renewals and to withdraw federal lands from future development:

“Jobs for Minnesotans is outraged by the Obama Administration’s arbitrary and unprecedented actions to bar new mineral permits and leases on federally owned lands in northeastern Minnesota and to deny the renewal of Twin Metals Minnesota’s federal mineral leases. These acts are attacks on the future accessibility of critical minerals and on the people of northeastern Minnesota who have proudly and responsibly developed natural resources for generations. They send a chilling message to the communities that have held out hope that a new era of mining would ensure their long-term prosperity.”

Local 49 Special Projects Director Jason George sits on the board of Jobs for Minnesotan’s and added the following:

“The decision to deny mineral leases to Twin Metals, and ban mining in 234,000 acres of federal land is a slap in the face to hard working construction workers on the Iron Range. The Twin Metals project would create millions of work hours during construction, and good paying jobs in operation. To reject this project before it is even officially submitted and before any scientific data has been gathered is utterly ridiculous. It was a decision based purely on politics and emotion. That is not how important decisions that affect people’s livelihoods should be made.”

Click here to read the full statement from Jobs for Minnesotans. 

IUOE Calls Administration Energy-Infrastructure Policy an Embarrassment

IUOE Calls Administration Energy-Infrastructure Policy an Embarrassment

WASHINGTON, DC – James T. Callahan, General President of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), issued the following statement regarding the Dakota Access pipeline:

“The Dakota Access pipeline has jumped through every regulatory hoop and cleared every hurdle, including every barrier erected by the Army Corps of Engineers and this Administration.

Politics, pure and cynically simple, is the only reason why – at this point in the process when the project is 90% built – the Administration would walk away from their own technical and legal teams who developed the 1,261 page Environmental Assessment and defended that work successfully in court.

Click here to read the full statement.

Poll Shows Strong Support for Copper-Nickel Mining in Northeastern Minnesota

Poll Shows Strong Support for Copper-Nickel Mining in Northeastern Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn., Nov. 29, 2016 By large margins northeastern Minnesotans support the development of new copper-nickel mines and oppose new federal restrictions on mining throughout the region. Those are the results of a new survey conducted November 12-14, 2016, across five northeast Minnesota counties and released today by Twin Metals Minnesota and MiningMinnesota.

By greater than a 3-1 margin survey respondents support environmentally-responsible mining in the region. Additionally, by more than 2-1, respondents support the building of new copper-nickel mines and believe copper-nickel mining can be done in an environmentally-responsible way. More than 60 percent support the Twin Metals underground copper-nickel project.

“Support for the mining economy and for the development of copper-nickel mining projects is overwhelming across northeastern Minnesota and the Iron Range,” said Bob McFarlin, Twin Metals spokesperson. “This extraordinary support reflects a strong belief that copper-nickel mining can help revitalize the region’s economy, protect the environment and create jobs for generations of Minnesotans.”

Click here to read the full press release from Twin Metals Minnesota.

Don Raway


Don Raway, an eight-year member of Local 49, has seen a lot working as a heavy equipment operator for the St. Paul Regional Water Services.

As winter approaches, this becomes Ranway’s busy season, as water mains tend to bust in the dead of winter.

“Most of St. Paul’s underground infrastructure is from the late 1800’s, so when it gets below freezing water mains can break,” Raway said.

Raway explained that since water mains are usually the deepest lines, other than sewer lines, it presents particularly difficult challenges to try and dig to fix the broken mains.

“There’s not much room in downtown St. Paul, and it’s time consuming to just try and control the main…we’ll spend hours and hours scraping ice just to get the equipment there so the locators can come in,” he said.

“There’s quite a few hours spent doing work before we can come in and fix anything,” Raway added.

Raway recalled one water main break in particular where the ice was four to six inches high and stretched out curb to curb across the street.

“We loaded out ice in tandems just so we could get to the street,” Raway said.

Prior to his time with the St. Paul Regional Water Services, Raway worked for the St. Paul Parks & Recreation Department as the assistant grounds keeper at Midway Stadium – home of the St. Paul Saints.

“When I started that field was mainly built for VFW and legion teams where you might see a couple hundred people there on a busy day,” Raway said. “As the Saints popularity grew, that all changed.”

What began as a fairly low key job from Raway as the assistant grounds keeper, turned into something much more high profile.

“All of the changes kind of blindsided everyone…We would average over 6,000 people a night in a facility that was built for maybe 3,000 people,” Raway said.

After leaving the Parks department and starting with the St Paul Regional Water Services, Raway said he always gravitated toward heavy equipment.

“It’s something I had a little bit of experience with when I was in the Parks Department, but even since I was a little boy it was always something I gravitated to,” Raway said.

Raway even advocated that his department receive training at the Operating Engineers Local 49 Training Center.

“Myself and my business agent Mark Pothen worked with the city to have our training facilitated through the (Local 49) Training Center,” Raway said.

Raway explained that the city would not allow employees to travel down to the Training Center for training, but with the efforts from Raway and Business Agent Mark Pothen, the city agreed to have the instructors and equipment from the Training be brought to them.

“We seemed to get much more competent heavy equipment operators, and we received much better training than in previous years,” he added.

Raway is also very active in his community as the youth football coach for the past five years, and a member of the Forest Lake Wrestling Booster Club for the past four years.

“I’m very passionate about it, and it’s something I just love to do,” he said.

Raway is equally involved within Local 49 outside of being a member, as he’s been a Local 49 Steward for the past five years.

Raway said he is very grateful for Local 49, and for the training he received from the Local 49 Training Center.

IUOE Local 49 represents more than 2,200 public sector members throughout the state. The individual cities and counties Local 49 represents can be found on the Member’s Only section of our website. If you are an active member of Local 49 please visit members.local49.org and register to have access.


Sen. Heitkamp Presses White House on Dakota Access Pipeline

Sen. Heitkamp Presses White House on Dakota Access Pipeline

MANDAN, N.D. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today issued the following statement following her conversation this week with White House officials regarding the Dakota Access pipeline.

“This week when I spoke with a top White House official, I made it crystal clear that enough is enough – the president needs to act now to make a decision on whether to grant the easement underneath Lake Oahe, or he should let the Army Corps of Engineers make that decision immediately. Continued inaction and delay is not justice, and it has brought our communities no peace – rather, it has put lives at risk. The Administration has failed to offer the federal assistance necessary to help law enforcement officers keep our communities safe and protect our families, workers, and ranchers. Protestors should be able to exercise their First Amendment right peacefully and lawfully, but in many cases now, that isn’t what we’re seeing. Despite my continued meetings with the White House, the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of the Interior, it is apparent that the White House either does not understand, or will not respect the severity of the situation on the ground – which I told them increases my fear that their failure to act will lead to an escalation of violence.

“For months, I’ve requested over and over the law enforcement resources to keep our communities safe. In the time the Administration has dragged its feet and offered scant support, our own law enforcement has grown weary – stretching and wearing resources thin not just near the protest sites but in communities rippled across our state. The White House promised me it would consult with the Corps in short order, and I’ll be close on their heels – because for our communities, turning a blind eye is not an option, and neither is anything but a speedy conclusion.”

For the past several months, Heitkamp and her staff have been meeting regularly with local law enforcement, land owners, workers, and residents about the Dakota Access pipeline protests. She has had continued conversations with the White House, Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Justice, and U.S. Department of Interior to push for a final decision on the easement going under Lake Oahe. She has also been working in a joint effort with the federal delegation and Governor Jack Dalrymple to push for federal funds to provide law enforcement with needed resources to support public safety during the ongoing demonstrations.


Highway Heavy Agreement Proposal Meetings

IUOE Local 49 is hosting several Minnesota Highway Heavy proposal meetings throughout the state.

Below are the current dates, times and locations of these meetings. It is critical that as a member of Local 49 who is under the Highway Heavy Agreement that you attend one of these meetings.

Members working under the Minnesota Highway and Heavy Agreement who are not able to attend any of the proposal meetings can submit their ideas and propose changes via email to: proposalsubmissions49@gmail.com  

Submissions will be accepted until Tuesday, February 28th 2017.


Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 7 PM

Location: Duluth Labor Temple – 2002 London Rd. #1166 Duluth, MN 55812

Grand Rapids

Tuesday, January 10 at 5:30 PM

Location: Grand Rapids Eagle Club – 1776 S Pokegama Ave. Grand Rapids, MN 55744

International Falls

Wednesday, December 28 at 6 PM

Location: Memorial Union Hall in International Falls, MN


Thursday, Dec. 22 at 7 PM

Location: Mankato Local 49 Hall: 308 Lundin Blvd. Mankato, MN 56001


Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 6 PM

Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 6 PM

Location: Local 49 Main Hall: 2829 Anthony Lane South, Minneapolis, MN 55418


Thursday, Dec. 22 at 7 PM

Location: Local 49 Rochester Hall – 1765 County Road 16 SW Rochester, MN 55902

St. Cloud

Thursday, Jan. 5 at 7 PM

Location: Local 49 Hall – 2109-251st street, St. Cloud, MN 56301

Sioux Falls, SD

Monday, Dec. 12 at 7 PM

Thursday, Jan. 12 at 7 PM

Location: Sioux Falls Labor Temple – 101 Fairfax Ave. Sioux Falls, SD 57103


Wednesday, January 4 at 6 PM

Location: Local 49 Virginia Hall – 8381 Enterprise Drive North Virginia, MN 55792

Lisa Klankowski

Lisa Klankowski

Lisa Klankowski, a five-year member of Local 49 and current apprentice at the Operating Engineers Local 49 Training Center, has worked her way up from operating small equipment doing dirt work to now operating cranes at the St. Croix Crossing Bridge project for Lunda Construction Co.

However, prior to her time as a heavy equipment operator, she said her life was much different.

“I was working in a call center and I absolutely despised it,” she said.

That all changed when five years ago she met Rochester business agent Clayton Johnson, and talked to him about some possible career opportunities.

“I told him I hate office jobs and to give me a call if he had any openings,” Klankowski said. “That spring he called me, and I started working for Hoffman Construction down in Plainview (Minnesota).”

Klankowski said once she landed her first job, she then started going up to the Training Center and taking as many classes as she could.

After being on a jobsite for a couple years, she took interest in operating cranes and decided to pursue it.

“At that time I was still doing dirt work, and I didn’t start the cranes until a year or two into the dirt program,” she said.

“I like having a challenge, and with a crane it’s a daily challenge,” she added.

As far as being an apprentice, and being new to operating cranes, Klankowski said it can be intimidating at first.

“You walk in and just think, I don’t know anything,” she said. We do a few weeks of schooling beforehand, but it’s a whole new world on the job site.”

Klankowski said the training she received at the Training Center was “awesome”, and liked that the instructors can work with all skill levels.

“You go up to the Training Center and all of the teachers are so knowledgeable, and they can kind of gauge you in your own skill level,” she said.

“You have people (apprentices) up there that are lower in skill level, and some are up higher, but the instructors are great with adjusting to that,” she added.

In addition to great training, Klankowski said the Training Center also helps apprentices find jobs.

“Then, they get you out to jobs where there is so much going on, and so much opportunity for moving up in the world,” she said.

Klankowski said she isn’t stopping her training as she continues through the apprenticeship program with Local 49 Training Center, and soon will be graduating from the apprenticeship program.


“It’s all about paying attention, and soaking up as much information as you can,” she said.


For more information on the Operating Engineers Local 49 Apprenticeship program please visit www.local49training.org