As you are aware forest fires have impacted our province and communities where IUOE members work and live. In Williams Lake and the surrounding area it is estimated that there are more than 600 members from Locals 115,882 & 959 who have been temporarily displaced. The long term impact is unknown at this time. Several Local 882 members have stayed in town to ensure the fire hall remained open and that pumping stations, generators and heavy equipment are available for use when needed. They are committed to keeping critical city services running as long as possible.
Local 963’s Officers have approved a donation to assist fellow IUOE members similar to the donation made to assist in last years wildfires at Fort McMurray Alberta, at $10 per member.
I wanted to take the time to acknowledge the hard work of our grounds and operations staff over the past while. It’s very clear that the weather this winter has added huge amounts to your workloads. I very much appreciate the flexibility and efforts that have gone into ensuring our schools and grounds are as safe as possible for our students, families, staff and the general public. People are sometimes quick to criticize but it’s very clear to me that you are all doing excellent work in your roles and I want to thank you for that.
At the General Membership meeting of May 7, 2016, a motion was carried by the membership to donate an amount equal to $10 per member to the Fort McMurray disaster fund. Local 963 Business Manager Tim De Vivo said “there are many Operating Engineers who have been impacted by this disaster and Locals across Canada, as well as the International-through the National Charitable Fund- are stepping up to provide assistance. This is what we do in Canada- support each other in times of need.”
When informed of the donation, IUOE Local 955 Business Manager Bruce Moffatt (Edmonton Alberta) replied, in part, “Thank you very much for the support. We have now had about 900 members through the union hall in the last two days who are Fort Mac [residents] who our Local is funding with immediate relief.” Of the estimated 1,600 homes destroyed by the wildfire “we should count on at least 100 members losing their homes,” he added. “The stories we have heard over the last two days are difficult…[and] most of the people in rented accommodation had no tenant insurance. The impact is so profound.”