CSO Conference details union response to industry challenges

The M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund gives us a chance to stay in the market and build back the work opportunities our members need to make a living and our pension needs to be a healthy plan again. It’s going to take a lot of effort, but we’ve got to claim our work. We may not win everything, but we’ve got to fight. The man-hours are out there, and I believe we can go and get them.

Newton B. Jones, International President

Business managers, other leaders and guests gather for the 2020 Construction Sector Operations conference in Marco Island, Florida.

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THE M.O.R.E. WORK Investment Fund, more man-hours and more advocacy for carbon capture technology headlined topics at the 2020 Construction Sector Operations Conference, where more than 15o CSO business manager/secretary-treasurers, other leaders and guests convened March 3-6, to discuss the challenges, opportunities and the future of CSO Boilermaker work.

“The M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund gives us a chance to stay in the market and build back the work opportunities our members need to make a living and our pension needs to be a healthy plan again,” said International President Newton B. Jones.  “It’s going to take a lot of effort, but we’ve got to claim our work. We may not win everything, but we’ve got to fight. The man-hours are out there, and I believe we can go and get them.”

IP Jones and others gave updates on deployment of the M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund’s marketing, organizing, recruitment and employment strategies over the past year, as well as plans for the future.

Director of Communications Amy Wiser gave an overview of M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund marketing activities, including advertising campaigns in the Western States designed to attract prospective owners and contractors and a recruiting campaign launched by Local 374 (Hobart, Indiana) aimed at the parents of graduating high school students—and the students themselves. She stressed that in order for an advertising campaign to be successful, it’s important to use a concise repeated message through different tactics, such as print advertising, video, social media, billboard, radio and digital advertising.

“Both of these campaigns are taking the right, smart, comprehensive approach,” she said, showing a microsite, www.BestInTrade.com, that was created to complement the Western States’ ads and a 30-second TV ad IBB created (available at www.BestInTrade.com or www.Boilermakers.org), along with other materials. She also showed a 30-second recruiting TV ad created for L-374 to complement a host of other advertising tactics in that campaign. The 30-second recruiting spot is being made available, customized to any construction local lodge that would like to use it.

Wiser also reported on trade show promotional activities, digital marketing strategies to complement organizing efforts and new recruiting materials in development.

“As new marketing materials are developed, we will be adding them to a marketing toolkit local lodge leaders can access on the new boilermakers.org website,” she said.

Our goal through the M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund job targeting program is to keep our members employed and gain a presence in facilities that we have not performed work in for many years, if ever. The results have been substantial.

Tim Simmons, D-CDS, AD-CSO, D-NRS-CSO, AIP

Tim Simmons, D-CDS, AD-CSO, D-NRS-CSO, AIP, gave updates on M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund recruitment and job targeting programs, citing different job targeting strategies taking place throughout each International Vice President section.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Our goal through the M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund job targeting program is to keep our members employed and gain a presence in facilities that we have not performed in for many years, if ever,” Simmons said. “Since this program began, we’ve been approached by contractors nationwide to use this fund, and the results have been substantial.”

Inspiration for CCUS promotion ignited

IN AN OVERVIEW OF M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund activities supporting carbon capture, use and storage advocacy, Cory Channon, International Director of Climate Change Policy Solutions, outlined why CCUS is vital to the future of Boilermaker work—and why it is imperative for Boilermakers to be involved in global discussions about the environment and CCUS’ place in climate change solutions.

Carbon capture, use and storage is the only solution that mitigates climate change while preserving our jobs and the economy. Boilermakers must take the lead in advocating for and promoting CCUS. We’re making sure the Boilermakers have a seat at the table in global discussions about climate change—to advocate and to make sure our trade and our jobs aren’t thrown out due to misinformation.

Cory Channon, International Director of Climate Change Policy Solutions – M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund, AD-CSO-CAN, SAIP

“CCUS is the only solution that mitigates climate change while preserving our Boilermaker jobs and the economy,” Channon reminded participants. “Boilermakers must take the lead in advocating for and promoting CCUS. We’re making sure the Boilermakers have a seat at the table in global discussions about climate change—to advocate and to make sure our trade and our jobs aren’t thrown out due to misinformation.”

In addition, he stressed that Boilermakers historically have been in lock-step with innovation, at the forefront of pollution mitigation technology application, and that CCUS is a natural progression of Boilermaker work.

“Contrary to what many misguided environmentalists think, natural resources like fossil fuels are not the villain—the villain is CO2,” he said.

Assistant International Director of Climate Change Policy Solutions Richard MacIntosh added that one of the so-called solutions being promoted in the green-only movement—and even by other unions—“just transition,” must be addressed and better understood as detrimental to many workers. “Just transition,” he explained is the euphemistic term coined to describe how workers in the fossil fuel industry would be trained and moved to other jobs or compensated to move out of their fossil fuel job.

“When you factor in the years of training and skills and the compensation in our industries, there is nothing ‘just’ about this kind of transition. Even some labor organizations believe that someone in government will take care of them and ensure they are not left behind,” MacIntosh said. “We need to ask ourselves: Where is the money coming from to help these workers and what type of occupation will they transition to? What will be the pay, and what will happen to your pension plan? What would happen to us, as Boilermakers?”

Bottom line: We all want less greenhouse gasses to be emitted and a clean environment for future generations. What’s the solution? We know it’s carbon capture. Boilermakers can make it happen right now. Invest the money, and Boilermakers will build carbon capture. Right now. We must take the offensive and continue to lobby Washington, D.C.—but the battle must be at the state and local level.

Shawn Steffee, Assistant Business Manager, L-154

Complementing Channon and MacIntosh’s presentation on CCUS and just transition, Shawn Steffee, assistant business manager for Local 154 (Pittsburgh), showed a clip of his testimony supporting CCUS and against the “Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative” (carbon taxing that feeds renewable energy interests) during a recent Pennsylvania House congressional hearing.

He explained that the far-left agenda has used RGGI to hamper and shutter fossil fuel in the Northeast United States, taking root in New York, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine—with devastating results to Boilermaker work.

“Make no mistake: Every state in our country is on their radar,” he cautioned, noting that RGGI is at the “doorstep of Pennsylvania and Virginia.”

“Bottom line: We all want less greenhouse gasses to be emitted and a clean environment for future generations. What’s the solution? We know it’s carbon capture. Boilermakers can make it happen right now. Invest the money, and Boilermakers will build carbon capture. Right now.”

Several business managers and International Vice Presidents took the mic after the presentations to champion IBB’s pro-CCUS efforts or ask what more Boilermakers can do to amplify the message about CCUS.

Said Steffee: “We must take the offensive and continue to lobby Washington, D.C.—but the battle must be at the state and local level. We need to get the information out, keep the facts simple—they don’t know what we know about carbon capture. Use the video brochure IBB has, and let them know about our success with CCUS in North America, like the Boundary Dam project in Saskatchewan.”

Your union fights above its weight because of all the innovative things you are doing. You are the most strategic, smart union. Hats off to all of you.

Ed Smith, President and CEO, ULLICO

Rounding out four productive days of discussions and meetings to address industry challenges and changes, other speakers and topics included: Ed Smith with ULLICO, Bank of Labor, federal and state legislative initiatives and updates, a CSO referral rules update, Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, and updates on the Boilermakers National Funds pension and health and welfare programs.

“The M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund is giving us the tools and the dollars to go out and build work opportunities and manpower. Whether it’s through the legislative efforts we’ve undertaken, or our job targeting efforts, or the recovery agreements we’ve been trying to put in place, or our CCUS advocacy, this is our opportunity,” said IP Jones. “And this is just the beginning.”