Local 49 raises concerns about Northern Natural Gas hiring Texas labor

Local 49 raises concerns about Northern Natural Gas hiring Texas labor

Local 49 submitted a letter to the regulatory agency in charge of permitting a proposed Northern Natural Gas project in Minnesota. Local 49 Business Manager Jason George issued the following statement:

“No one has supported the oil and gas industry and the jobs they create more than Local 49. We talk a lot about how they do it right, by using local skilled union labor to build their projects safely and are a real benefit to our communities. Northern Natural Gas must not have gotten the memo. At a time when the oil and gas industry is under attack from every direction, we are the only ones that consistently stand with them in making the argument that these natural resources are needed, and that the skilled union jobs they create are important. We cannot continue to support this industry if they are going to start to cut corners by hiring low skill, low wage, non-union contractors from Texas to build projects in our backyard.

We are going to be extremely active in all regulatory bodies in our jurisdiction in all industries to raise this important point:  If you are going to move your energy resources through our region, if our communities are going to support these projects, then we will demand that these projects are built safely by the best local skilled union construction workforce in the country, and that the workers benefit.  Period.”

Click here to read the letter. 

 

September 16, 2020

New Enhanced Membership Benefits

New Enhanced Membership Benefits

For a few months now, we have been talking about providing you an enhanced death benefit as part of a broader package of member benefits. We recently conducted a By-laws vote and members decided by more than 90% support to proceed with this member benefit program. I am pleased to inform you that the new member benefit program, which includes a new death benefit, will be taking effect September 1st. 

In the next couple of days, you will receive an informational booklet from the Midwest Coalition of Labor describing your new benefits. I encourage you to read through the booklet and take advantage of all these discounted services and benefits you have access to by being an active, Local 49 dues paying member. 

Your death benefit is now increased to $5,000 and there’s an additional $2,500 accidental death benefit. As an active, dues paying member, you become eligible on day 1 of Local 49 membership, there is no additional cost and no need to enroll. Our previous death benefit paid a maximum of $2,500 only when you achieved 25 years of continuous membership, making this change a great improvement for our members. 

Another enhancement is the ability to purchase up to $200,000 of additional life insurance without a physical exam. Members can enroll online if they desire to purchase additional life insurance and details on the open enrollment period can be found in the booklet. 

Other new benefits include: free roadside assistance, discounted legal services, tax preparation services, retail discounts and other cost saving programs. More information can be found online at www.coalitionoflabor.org 

We are always looking for ways to improve your membership experience and we will continue to add benefits whenever we can. Thank you for your service to Local 49, we are more than 14,000 strong, and together we will continue to prosper. 

Jason George

Local 49 Business Manager

 

Click here to view the benefits packet that was mailed to all active members. 

September 14, 2020

Minnesota and the Dakotas Poised for Post-COVID-19 Clean Energy Boom

Minnesota and the Dakotas Poised for Post-COVID-19 Clean Energy Boom

According to new research from the Midwest Economic Policy Institute (MEPI) and the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI), three of the nation’s leading producers of renewable energy are poised to lead a clean energy boom as the region works to recover from the economic fallout of COVID-19. Click here to view the study.
Local 49 Business Manager Jason George released the following statement:
“The transition to green energy will no question create jobs.  But the infrastructure must be built by skilled union trades men and women that will inevitably be displaced from the fossil fuel industry.  Local 49 has led this fight, and we will continue to demand that green energy developers meet the same safety, skill, wage and benefit standards set by the fossil fuel industry if they are going to build their projects here.
We will never support a transition that doesn’t meet these standards and doesn’t ensure that our members build the next generations infrastructure.  We are making progress.  Recently, a couple projects that were going to be built by non-union out of state workers were turned around and are now going to be built with Local 49 members.
But we must be vigilant, we must be vocal, and we must demand that our elected officials hold these renewable energy developers accountable to local workers.
Local 49 will continue to lead this fight, and we will fight to win.”

September 3, 2020

Local 49 Partners with Minnesota Virtual Academy to Offer Online Heavy Equipment Courses for High School Students

Local 49 Partners with Minnesota Virtual Academy to Offer Online Heavy Equipment Courses for High School Students

The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 49 and Minnesota Virtual Academy (MNVA) have partnered together to offer a unique opportunity for high school students to complete online elective courses that are designed to introduce students into the heavy equipment industry. This program is part of the Destinations Career Academy model MNVA offers. These courses are available to any high school student grades 9th – 12th enrolled in a Minnesota school district and will count toward high school elective classes, college credit, and will make a student better prepared for the IUOE Local 49 Apprenticeship Program.

High school students can enroll in these online courses from any school district in the state of Minnesota. They can be taken anywhere at any time at no cost to the student. The program includes four semester courses that give an overview of skills needed to successfully prepare students for entrance into the IUOE Local 49 Registered Apprenticeship Program. These courses include construction exploration, basic grade and construction math, construction equipment fundamentals, and basic maintenance of mobile equipment. Students are eligible to receive college credit through North Hennepin Community College that will transfer anywhere throughout the MN State system.

Jason George, IUOE Local 49 Business Manager:

“IUOE Local 49 has a proud history for nearly 100 years of providing highly skilled heavy equipment operators to build the infrastructure the people of Minnesota depend on daily.  Getting individuals clear information about how to become an operating engineer at an earlier age by reaching into the K12 system through this innovative partnership will help to ensure we continue the tradition of training excellence while also reaching new and diverse populations that may not have connections or awareness of our industry.

This opportunity is ideal for the current school climate with districts facing more online learning models this fall due to COVID.  Schools can be enrolled at their current high schools and enroll in this pathway.  Our membership and frankly, the people of Minnesota are depending on us, particularly during these unprecedented times to make sure we are doing all we can to make Minnesota WORK for all of us. We see this partnership program as part of that intentional pathway to success.”

In addition to the online classes, students participating in this apprenticeship readiness pathway will have opportunities to visit the IUOE Local 49 Training Center located in Hinkley, MN where they will be able to engage in hands on activities on heavy equipment simulators.  This will help determine if the students’ aptitudes and abilities line up with their interest in pursuing a career in the vast field of heavy equipment operators and mechanics.

The IUOE registered apprenticeship program requires applicants to be 18 year of age or older, have a high school diploma or equivalent, possess a valid driver’s license and reliable transportation, be able to pass an entry level assessment test as well as drug test. First year apprentice wage rates range from $24-$34/hour plus benefits.  The IUOE/MNVA K12 partnership program offers students and their families a great opportunity to explore this career path and see if it is a fit.  Making an informed choice is an important first step.

Krin Abraham, MNVA Head of School & Superintendent, Houston Public Schools:

“The partnership between MNVA and IUOE Local 49 is a valued one that allows students to have hands-on experiences and guidance from the experts that would not be possible otherwise.  The Operating Engineers Apprenticeship Registered pathway is going to be a strong addition to our pathway offerings here at Destinations Career Academy, a program of MNVA.  We are excited to offer this opportunity to any Minnesota students in grades 9-12, on a virtual platform.  Students from any school district can participate in the program, even while attending their home traditional school.  Our state has numerous high paying jobs in this career field, and our program will give students a jump start in pursuing those jobs.  This opportunity provides students an education that supports the future of our communities.”

For more information visit https://mnva.k12.com/how-enroll.html or contact

Sheena Shoemaker

Career Readiness Education Assistant Coordinator

Destinations Career Academy at MNVA

sshoemaker@k12.com

 

 

 

September 2, 2020

Local 49 will have Union Meetings in September

Local 49 will have Union Meetings in September

The COVID-19 situation has prevented us from having Union meetings for the last few months.  We have been cautious in our approach to do our part to prevent the spread of the disease amongst our membership.  However, at some point life must go on. We have learned a lot in the last few months, and we believe that with the proper precautions, we can safely hold union meetings again.

Therefore all union meetings at all locations will be held in September.

The following precautions will be taken:

  • Everyone attending the meeting will be required to wear a mask at all times. No Exceptions.
  • We will be social distancing and space will be limited at the meetings – it is possible some might be turned away if the number of people is too much to allow for adequate social distancing.
  • If members don’t have masks we will provide them at the door.
  • After the meeting, members need to exit the building and not congregate inside.
  • Please, if you have any symptoms, if you have been around anyone who has tested positive, or if you have underlying health issues that increase your risk, do not attend the union meeting.

If everyone does their part and we act responsibly, we can continue with meetings and try to return to some semblance of normalcy.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation while we work through this difficult time.

Jason George
Business Manager
IUOE Local 49

September 1, 2020

IUOE Local 49 Reaction to Governor Walz Appealing his own agencies permits of Line 3 Replacement

IUOE Local 49 Reaction to Governor Walz Appealing his own agencies permits of Line 3 Replacement

Local 49 Business Manager Jason George Released the Following Comments:

We are frustrated, angry, and bitterly disappointed today. We have spoken to Governor Walz about the Line 3 permitting process on many occasions. The Governor is fully aware of the urgent need for jobs in Northern Minnesota and the importance of this project to our members and local communities up North. His own Public Utilities Commission, members who he mostly appointed, spent years studying the Line 3 replacement and strongly approved the permits to build the project. In fact, this project has gone through the process twice, and each time was approved by the Public Utilities Commission.

Governor Walz has told us privately and said publicly that the process must be followed, but when the process is done, and a decision is made, that decision needs to be respected and the project should go on. He went back on his word yesterday, there is no other way to look at it. His decision to appeal the permits shows zero respect for the process, or the commissioners that he appointed who ran a fair process and followed the law.

The fact that the Governor is not following through on his commitments to us and the public is disturbing. What is even more disturbing is the lack of urgency we are seeing from both Republicans and Democrats about job creation. The Republicans have stalled a $1.5 billion public infrastructure bill at the Capitol. Now the Governor has put in jeopardy a $2.5 billion infrastructure project that is entirely privately financed.

It is as if our elected leaders do not have any idea what is happening out there in the real world. Minnesotan’s are worried about the economy and our elected leaders are choosing to have political fights instead of doing things to make sure that the economy comes back to life.

When it comes to Line 3 replacement, the Governor has one last chance to keep his word, to do the right thing for Minnesota. There are two permits the project needs from the state to continue. He pledged in his statement yesterday to move those forward. These are basic construction permits. They should not be political, and they are not controversial.

The Governor has asked us to judge him on whether projects get built and jobs are created. So far, his record is abysmal on this scorecard. He has a chance to do better. He has a chance to live up to the commitments he made to this union, the first union that endorsed him for Governor, and the men and women that believed him when he said he would be focused on job creation.

We are very confident that this appeal has no merit and will not be successful. Going forward, we sincerely hope the Governor keeps his commitment to fairness and allows his agencies to grant the basic construction permits needed in the next few months. We also hope the Governor gets back to his vision of One Minnesota where everyone’s views, not just those of twin cities activists, but of everyone in our state, are respected.

When it comes to Line 3 replacement, it is very clear that the view of the people that live where the project is going to be constructed, and the views of the men and women who hope to build it, are not being respected at all.

 

Click here to view the full press release issued to the media today. 

August 19, 2020

Local 49 and Supporters of Line 3 Deliver Thousands of Signatures of Support to Governor’s Office

Local 49 and Supporters of Line 3 Deliver Thousands of Signatures of Support to Governor’s Office

Local 49 joined other supporters of the Line 3 Replacement Project today at a media event held at the Minnesota State Capitol to officially deliver the signatures to Governor Walz of more than 11,000 Minnesotans who have virtually signed a section of the pipeline and are calling on him to say no to any more delays in the permitting process.

Local 49 Business Manager, Jason George, spoke at the event stating:

“We have a more than 60 plus-year-old pipeline that is aging in northern Minnesota, and we have the opportunity to replace that with a brand new state-of-the-art pipeline that will last decades longer and will be much safer. We have a company that wants to invest 2.5 billion dollars of their own money into a construction project in an area with a 20 percent unemployment rate. The signatures you see here today and the thousands more that have already signed from all over the state support this project. They see how many jobs will be created, and they see the need to replace an aging pipeline with a brand new one.

The people have spoken. They support this project and, more importantly, the people who live where the project will be put in overwhelmingly support this project. Every local mayor, city council, and county have all signed resolutions supporting this project. Replacing Line 3 has been studied extensively for years with more than 70 hearings, and the Public Utilities Commission in Minnesota have approved this project twice. The time for process is over. The time for jobs is now. And the time for a safe pipeline is today. We call on Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan to allow their agencies to let this project happen and let the Public Utilities Commission’s decision stand. Get out of the way, and let’s get to work.”

August 19th is the deadline for groups to file an appeal with the Minnesota Court of Appeals of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission’s recent action to re-issue a certificate of need for the project. The Walz Administration has to decide whether the Minnesota Department of Commerce will repeat an action that started under the Dayton Administration and file another legal challenge to the PUC decisions.  If any additional legal challenges are filed by the Walz Administration, it could not only create additional and unnecessary delays to the start of construction, at a time when Minnesota needs the jobs and economic boost that a $2.6 billion private creates.

The Line 3 project has been under review by agencies and regulators for more than six years. Pending receipt of remaining permits, Enbridge has indicated they are poised and ready to begin construction later this year. The Line 3 Replacement Project is an approximately $2.6 billion private investment that will immediately create more than 4,000 good-paying, union jobs.  Line 3 would also generate an estimated $35 million in new tax revenue for Minnesota in its first year of service using the replaced pipeline.

August 13, 2020

Project Labor Agreement Reached for Keystone XL Project

Project Labor Agreement Reached for Keystone XL Project

TC Energy Corporation (TSX, NYSE: TRP) (TC Energy) announced today that Keystone XL has reached a project labor agreement (PLA) with four leading U.S. labor unions that will inject hundreds of millions of dollars in middle-class wages into the American economy, while ensuring this pipeline will be built by the highest-skilled and highest-trained workforce.

TC Energy is also working with labor to establish a unique Green Jobs Training Program to help union members acquire the specific skills needed to work in the developing renewable energy sector. The company will contribute approximately $10 million, recognizing the 10 million-plus hours anticipated to be worked on Keystone XL by union workers, to establish new training courses for current and future union members in North America.

Local 49 Business Manager, Jason George, released the following statement:

“We are proud that the Operating Engineers have reached a project labor agreement with TC Energy on the Keystone XL Pipeline Project. I also want to thank General President Callahan for his support of this project labor agreement and making it happen with his leadership. This project will put hundreds of Local 49 members to work throughout the duration of this project. Not only will this stimulate the local economy and create local jobs, it also means that by our members building this pipeline, it will be built safely and to the highest standard. Our members have fought hard to make this project a reality and we’re ready to get to work.”

Click here to read the full press release. 

 

Photo Credit: TC Energy

August 5, 2020

Local 49 Endorses Congressman Tom Emmer for Minnesota’s 6th District

Local 49 Endorses Congressman Tom Emmer for Minnesota’s 6th District

In a press conference today held at Local 49’s St. Cloud office,  Local 49 announced our endorsement of Congressman Tom Emmer for Minnesota’s 6th District.

Congressman Emmer has consistently and strongly supported construction workers during his time in Congress. He has been a strong supporter of mining on the Iron Range and has consistently voted in support of critical Davis-Bacon protections that ensure construction workers throughout the country earn family-sustaining wages and benefits. Transportation funding is also a top priority for Congressman Emmer as he has authored legislation to prioritize funding for several transportation related projects, improving Minnesota’s roads, highways, and bridges while creating jobs for Operating Engineers and other skilled crafts.

Local 49 looks forward to working with Congressman Emmer throughout this campaign to ensure his much deserved re-election. After November, we look forward to continuing our collective efforts to create good-paying union jobs in Minnesota.

August 3, 2020

Jason George, Leader of Minnesota’s Largest Construction Union, Responds to the Failure of Another Special Session to Address the Looming Economic Crisis

Jason George, Leader of Minnesota’s Largest Construction Union, Responds to the Failure of Another Special Session to Address the Looming Economic Crisis

Another special session another failure. Our members have contacted their legislators. I have spent countless

hours talking to leaders from both sides of the aisle. They all knew the stakes. Construction jobs are drying up.

Projects are being cancelled or delayed. There is a looming economic crisis, and the only thing Minnesota can do

to help is pass a large infrastructure bill.

 

They all knew that. And still, they did nothing. Still, they play politics. Still they blame instead of lead. There is no

question that House Republicans own the majority of this failure. There was a good bill put before them, and they

all voted no. They chose to prioritize a debate about executive powers over helping real people. This is

profoundly disappointing. Our union has been one that has made a point to reach out to Republicans. I count

many House Republicans as close allies, including Minority Leader Daudt. They have delivered on jobs in the past

and shown a genuine commitment to the men and women of this union.

 

In my view, the Minnesota House Republicans have now lost their way. Their priorities are not with the people,

but with the political fight. They showed last night they are more interested in punishing the Governor than

creating jobs.

 

Their behavior doesn’t excuse the lack of leadership by others involved however. There were mistakes made in

these negotiations, big ones. The fact that all four caucus leaders were not meeting and not engaged on bonding

is something that just can’t happen. When you don’t talk, things inevitably breakdown. The fact that it appears

they didn’t even meet yesterday at all to talk about an infrastructure bill is inexcusable.

The skilled tradesmen and women of Local 49 don’t get to point fingers. We don’t get to walk away when things

are tough. We also don’t get to quit when we sit across the negotiating table from someone that’s being difficult

or that we deeply disagree with. In this union, we stay, we stick, and we get the job done. If we don’t, we get

fired. Period.

 

Our government needs to work the same way. We cannot accept anything less.

 

The Governor should call the legislature back into special session right now, and they should sit there, talking to

each other not tweeting, until they get their job done for the hard working men and women in the trades that

build and maintain this state. To do anything less is a complete failure on all their parts.

 

Click here to view the press release issued to the media.

July 21, 2020

July Union Meetings Cancelled

July Union Meetings Cancelled

All July union meetings have been cancelled. In lieu of having union meetings this month, I will be providing a video update in the Members Only section. As part of the video update, I wanted to give the membership the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have, and so we created a dedicated e-mail where you can submit your questions to. We will be accepting questions from the membership from today, June 25 until Thursday, July 2. At the closing of the question submission deadline, I will then give a video update on all of the latest union information as well as answer all of the questions that were submitted.

Click here to go to the Members Only portal and submit your questions.

June 25, 2020

Local 49 Donates $10,000 to Organizations Rebuilding Damaged Twin Cities’ Communities

Local 49 Donates $10,000 to Organizations Rebuilding Damaged Twin Cities’ Communities

The damage that took place last week left the Twin Cities in a state of devastation and destruction. Our neighbors are hurting, they have a long road to recovery, and they need our help.

Local 49 is committed to helping build a stronger community for our neighbors who are suffering, which is why the Executive Board unanimously approved a $5,000 donation to both the Hamline Midway Coalition’s Neighbors United Funding Collaborative and the Lake Street Council’s “We Love Lake Street” Fund. These organizations are solely focused on rebuilding the neighborhoods that have been affected by the recent destruction.

Local 49 Business Manager, Jason George, released the following statement:

“We have members that live and work in these communities, and Local 49 will be there every step of the way to help rebuild. Building infrastructure is what our members do every day, but we also take care of one another and the communities we call home. I am proud of the Executive Board’s decision to contribute to organizations that are focused on rebuilding the affected areas of Minneapolis and St. Paul, but I know our work has only just begun. Our members will continue to do what they do best, which is building strong and safe communities for all Minnesotans.”

If members are interested in assisting or contributing to these organizations, please click on the following links:

Hamline Midway Coalition’s Neighbors United Funding Collaborative

Lake Street Council’s “We Love Lake Street” Fund

 

June 4, 2020

IUOE Local 49 Business Manager Jason George releases statement regarding Governor Walz’s decision to hold a contested case hearing on a water quality permit for the Line 3 Replacement Project.

IUOE Local 49 Business Manager Jason George releases statement regarding Governor Walz’s decision to hold a contested case hearing on a water quality permit for the Line 3 Replacement Project.

I strongly disagree with the decision made by Governor Walz to hold a contested case hearing on a simple water quality permit for the Line 3 replacement project. This is a basic construction permit, one that is issued for many other kinds of infrastructure projects. I understand the justification raised due to the Polymet permit decision on contested case hearings, but do not agree that this step was necessary in this case.

Governor Walz has committed to us privately, to our membership and to me, on several occasions that he would follow the process for the Line 3 replacement project and would not change it. He has also said that publicly. There has never been a contested case hearing for this type of water quality permit for any other project that we are aware of. This is a clear deviation from the process and it will hold up construction for another three months. In my view this was a choice, not a requirement.

Northern Minnesota is hurting badly. Thousands of people whose livelihood depends on economic activity generated from the mines are out of work. We have a pandemic that has crippled the hospitality industry. Local governments are in trouble because of lack of tax revenue. People in these communities are desperate for good news, something to give them hope that jobs are coming back soon.

A private company wants to invest $2.6 billion to build an infrastructure project in Northern Minnesota. They want to replace a sixty year old pipeline with a brand new one. This project is supported by every local county and city in the area where the project will be built. Construction workers and their families, bars and restaurants, hotels, equipment dealers, material suppliers, and local governments that desperately need tax revenue will all benefit tremendously. Instead of throwing up hurdles and changing the process to create delay, the state of Minnesota should be doing what it can to swiftly move permits through the legal process in place.

This state doesn’t seem to have a sense of urgency about job creation. We don’t have a bonding bill right now. Line 3 is six years into review with no certainty. Polymet mining permits were overturned on ridiculous technicalities after ten plus years of review. Twin Metals Mining isn’t even being allowed to begin to study their project.

Enough is enough. Minnesota needs to get serious about economic development. The government needs to allow business to proceed with certainty. Politics need to be removed from infrastructure project permitting and job creation. No more excuses, no more politics – Minnesota’s elected officials from both sides of the aisle need to quit playing games and do something to get this economy going again.

 

Click here to view the press release issued to the media.

June 3, 2020

Union Activities Update, Twin Cities Riots, Pipeline Steward Training

Union Activities Update, Twin Cities Riots, Pipeline Steward Training

Union Activities Update
There are three areas in terms of Union activities that I wanted to update members on. These updates are all COVID-19 related.

Monthly Union Meetings:
Unfortunately, we are going to cancel all monthly union meetings again in June. We were hoping to start them up again this month. But after conferring with officers and getting information about what other IUOE locals in our region were doing, I decided that wouldn’t be the safest course.  

In addition, the kind of restrictions that are still in place in Minnesota makes it a little questionable as to whether holding an informational meeting would be within the CDC and state department of health guidelines. Also, given the fact that IUOE General President Callahan has given Locals the authority to conduct business without holding meetings, for now, they are not essential.

I am hopeful that restrictions will ease again soon, and that we can return to monthly meetings in July. I think we are all looking to get back to normal very soon, and we will do that as quickly as we can.

Union Hall In-Person Business
We are loosening the restrictions on in-person business at our halls. Most of our union halls are set up in a way where social distancing can be observed, and there will never be more than a couple of people in at a time. Not all of our halls are set up this way, and so I encourage you to call to see if you can stop by. I also encourage you to do business over the phone or email if you can.

Business Agent Jobsite Visits
I had instructed the Business Agents to stay off of jobsites as much as possible during the past two months and to do business over the phone and email to help do our part to stop the spread of the virus. As restrictions are being eased and given the majority of our jobsites are outdoors, I have instructed the Business Agents to start stopping on jobsites again.

They will ease back into this, they will use caution, and they will be socially distancing. They will also not stop when instructed by contractors not to unless there is a serious issue. I just wanted to give a heads up you will start to see your Business Agents more in the field, but we will continue to be cautious and safe.

Twin Cities Riots
First off, we are getting calls from members wondering if our main office in Minneapolis is ok. It is. There was no damage, and everyone is doing fine.

This past week saw destruction and violence, the likes of which the Twin Cities has never seen before. The death of George Floyd was an awful tragedy, and those responsible should be held fully accountable. The destruction and disruption of the neighborhoods in St. Paul and Minneapolis was a disgrace. Our neighbors are hurting, they have a long road to recovery, and they need our help.

Building infrastructure is what we as members of Local 49 do best. We also take care of one another and the communities that we call home. We will do everything we can to help pick up the pieces and build stronger communities for our neighbors who are suffering. In order to help rebuild and make our communities stronger, Local 49’s executive board will be discussing financial contributions to efforts focused on rebuilding the affected areas of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. 

If you are interested in assisting or contributing, please work with the Hamline Midway Coalition’s Neighbors United Funding Collaborative. If you are interested in helping the small businesses on Lake Street, please contribute to the Lake Street Council’s We Love Lake Street Fund.  

I hope the violence is over. It does nothing to solve the underlying problems that exist. It only causes pain and suffering to people in neighborhoods that are already struggling. 

Pipeline Steward Training
Local 49, in conjunction with the International Union, is conducting a pipeline steward class. This class is specifically related to Line 3. There are experienced stewards that will participate, but in an attempt to give more people opportunities, we have ten openings for members who are interested. If you have ever wanted to be a union steward on a pipeline job, and you have a lot of experience in the industry, this would be a good time to step up.

This will be first come first serve and is open to any pipeliner in our local. To get more details on the training please e-mail me at jgeorge@local49.org. The dates are June 13th all day and half-day on June 14th, and the location will be in the Twin Cities. You have to commit to attending both days.

Again, if you are interested in this class please e-mail me at jgeorge@local49.org. 

That is all for now – be safe out there everyone, and as always take care of each other.

Jason George
Business Manager

June 1, 2020

Local 49 Metro Area Summer Picnic is Cancelled

Local 49 Metro Area Summer Picnic is Cancelled

It is with great sadness that Local 49 has made the difficult decision to cancel the Metro Area Summer Picnic scheduled for June 28th at Hope Glen Farm. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but we feel it is of the utmost importance to ensure that our members and your families are safe. As of now, the Northern Minnesota picnic in August is still scheduled to be held. We will continue to evaluate the situation and keep you informed on that picnic.

May 20, 2020

Local 49 Responds to Bonding Bill Failure

Local 49 Responds to Bonding Bill Failure

Despite having four months to find a deal on a bonding bill, Minnesota’s political leaders ended session last night and failed to invest in Minnesota’s infrastructure and the people that build it. The political blame game has already begun, as it always does when politicians fail to do their jobs.

Local 49 is not interested in the blame game. We are interested in elected leaders doing what we elected them to do – lead. We are dealing with a pandemic. Our economy is on life support. People are suffering.

Extraordinary times like this call for elected leaders to exercise extraordinary discipline to help our citizens and economy recover. The best tool government can use to make that happen is a robust bonding bill focused on transportation infrastructure, wastewater treatment facilities, and building maintenance projects. These much needed investments in our infrastructure will provide the quality jobs and work hours needed to get our economy going again.

The time for partisan rhetoric is over. We call on Governor Walz and majority and minority legislative leaders to get in a room (virtually, if needed) and find a deal on infrastructure investment. There are no more excuses. The next time the legislature meets, this deal should already be done, and the bill should be passed. The people of our state should not have to wait for economic recovery to begin because of partisan gamesmanship.

Jason George, Business Manager, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49:

“The fact is that the House GOP, the Governor, and the Senate DFL all actively worked to defeat two separate bonding bills this weekend – both of which were good for Minnesota. Instead of sabotaging votes or using a bonding bill as trade bait, the four caucus leaders and the Governor must find a way to a get a deal on infrastructure spending. There should be no higher priority as they negotiate a special session agenda. Our members will keep speaking out on this until they find a collective solution, which is their obligation to Minnesota.”

 

Click here to view the press release issued to the media. 

 

May 18, 2020

COVID-19 Survivor and Local 49 Member Dick Kryzer Shares His Story

COVID-19 Survivor and Local 49 Member Dick Kryzer Shares His Story

On March 17, Dick Kryzer, a 12-year Local 49 member and plant operator for MET Council, experienced the first symptoms of what would later be confirmed as COVID-19.

Kryzer is a plant operator at a wastewater treatment plant and is responsible for cleaning water so that it can be re-used. This requires efficiently treating the wastewater, performing tests, and sending samples to multiple labs to ensure that the water meets Minnesota pollution control requirements before it is then released back into the Mississippi River.

“There are only four of us that run the plant, and on the weekends, only one of us operates the plant, so it’s a shared responsibility between all of us,” Kryzer said.

Kryzer said it was during one of those weekend shifts where he started to feel the beginning symptoms of what would be diagnosed as COVID-19.

“On that Saturday, when I was scheduled to work, I just felt terrible and experienced aches, pains, and a headache, so I finished my shift and went home. By 11:00 that night, I had a fever of 103 degrees, and I had to have someone cover for me on my Sunday shift so that no other employee would get sick,” Kryzer said.

Kryzer stated that after experiencing those symptoms for longer than three days, he called his primary care doctor to attempt to be seen.

“I was first told that I shouldn’t come into the hospital as I didn’t have enough symptoms, but just a few days later is when I started to develop the cough, so that’s when I went into a special COVID-19 clinic,” Kryzer said.

Kryzer was then tested for both strains of Influenza as well as a strep throat test – which all came back as negative.

“I was told that I probably did have COVID-19, but at that point in time they were only testing medical professionals, so I was told to return home, treat my symptoms, and quarantine,” he said.

A few days after he returned home, Kryzer’s symptoms took a turn for the worse.

“I remember it was the night of March 29, and I couldn’t breathe at all. My wife called the ambulance, and I was taken to the emergency room where I was started on oxygen,” he said.

It was that night, 12 days after he first started showing symptoms, that Kryzer received his COVID-19 test and tested positive.

“I was in intensive care for five days, so in total, I spent about a week in the hospital before I started to feel better,” he said.

Kryzer said that while dealing with the symptoms was extremely hard. It was even more difficult to go through it alone.

“I am very grateful to the nurses and doctors that helped me. They were all wonderful but other than seeing them; you’re in isolation. Your family can’t come and see you, and that was heartbreaking for them and for me,” he said. “Though I am glad that no one else got sick.”

None of Kryzer’s family or co-workers reported symptoms during the time that he was sick.

“At work, there’s only four of us that run that plant, and every plant is different, so it’s not like my employer could call someone from another plant to fill in,” Kryzer said.

After Kryzer and his family were completed with their quarantine, the Minnesota Health Department cleared Kryzer to return to work.

“The MET Council was very supportive throughout the whole process, and even now we have all the personal protective equipment that we need, they sanitize daily, and everyone practices social distancing,” Kryzer said.

As an essential worker, it was critical for Kryzer to return to work as soon as he was able to. Many Local 49 members are considered an essential worker, and Kryzer is just one of many examples of how Local 49 members are a vital part of our society.

From ensuring that there is clean water to making sure that our roads and bridges are safe to commute on, Local 49 members are an essential part of ensuring that we remain a functioning and safe society.

For more member stories visit www.local49.org

 

May 12, 2020

2020 Local 49 Scholarship Recipients

2020 Local 49 Scholarship Recipients

 

Recipients of a Scholarship award from Local 49 will be announced at the General Membership Meeting on June 17, 2020.  Ten grants of $1,000.00 each were awarded this year and Local 49 is pleased to announce the following winners:

  1. Gracie Bahr – granddaughter of Retired Brother Warren Bahr
  2. Levi Bast – son of Brother Steven Bast
  3. Meredith Bruening – daughter of Brother Adam Bruening
  4. Benjamin Groebner – son of Brother Richard Groebner
  5. Kelsey Hooker – daughter of Brother Bruce Hooker
  6. Brandon Koch – son of Brother Donald Koch
  7. Hattie Kragenbring– daughter of Brother Jeff Kragenbring
  8. Ciarra McNally – daughter of Brother Charles McNally
  9. Josephine Ramirez – daughter of Sister Tina Walski
  10. Jayden Thieschafer – daughter of Brother Joshua Thieschafer

The two (2) Alternates chosen this year by the Committee were:

Alternate #1:   Lindsey Espeseth – daughter of Brother Dan Espeseth; and

Alternate #2:   Cailyn Kuechle – daughter of Brother Jeremy Kuechle

 

Congratulations to all of the above recipients!

May 12, 2020