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International Operating Engineer - Summer 2019

  • Text
  • Infrastructure
  • Pipeline
  • Engineer
  • Apprenticeship
  • Iuoe
The quarterly magazine of the International Union of Operating Engineers

Feature machines and

Feature machines and pumps. With that much equipment, maintenance and repair are a constant necessity. Billy Myers is a Master Mechanic on site, and has been with Local 324 for 13 years. “We have a team of three mechanics and a greaser,” explains Myers. “We deal in dirt, and things get tore up. You name it, we fix it.” “Today, we have winch cables to fix. Tomorrow, we’ll break down booms and move them around.” McEvoy jumps in. “See, you start pulling on these pipes and you don’t always know how much pressure it’s going to take. The limit can be 3800 psi, and that’s all tension in the cables.” He smiles. “It’s not for the weak.” there’s an elderly couple with this huge yard.” He points to the distance for comparison. “Yesterday, when the Operators got off their dozer after work, they grabbed a push mower and mowed her yard. No one even asked them to, they just did it on their own time, after a 12 hour day.” Sanderson adds, “I think it’s great that we’re seeing younger people, more women, different folks too. It’s growing, and getting even better.” And when asked about the negative connotations that sometimes come with talk about pipelines, Thompson shakes his head. “There are so many pipelines in the ground people don’t know about. Without them, put in right and maintained, the important products would be where – in trucks down the road? Making our roads worse? Or on rail? This gas is going to heat people’s homes. It’s going to keep the electricity on.” “Pipelines are so much safer than any other option.” “We’re strong – we stick together out here,” says McEvoy. “As a union, we gotta stick together, and we have to be good for the contractor too.” [article & photos] Dan McKernan, IUOE Local 324 “I’ve seen them snap like thread,” says Myers, who adds with a grin, “I like what I do. Somedays.” They all agree that the industry on the whole has changed, and there are more opportunities for training now than ever before. McEvoy thinks it’s essential to keeping jobs safe, and preserving labor’s role. “As Local 324 we have to stick together and get this done the right way. We don’t want the non-union companies to come in here like they are building pipelines out West and down South. That’s what we try to teach these kids, to get into it now and learn it the right way.” Kanopka points out that along with safety and training, overall professionalism has increased as well. “We get a lot of kudos and attaboys from neighbors and the community about the workers. We’ve had multiple instances of people thanking us for professionalism, how they conduct themselves.” Sanderson mentions a story from the night before. “On Coldwater road, 14 INTERNATIONAL OPERATING ENGINEER SUMMER 2019 15

International Operating Engineer

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