To our members:
On behalf of the Alberta Regional Council of Carpenters and Allied Workers and the Locals we represent, I would like to wish all our members the happiest of holidays. I hope you have a restful Christmas with loved ones and that you are looking forward to the New Year, and what will hopefully be brighter days ahead.
Writing a recap of 2021, in many ways I cannot help but feel like it is a recap of 2020. Covid, and now the Omnicron variant, continues to be an omnipresent challenge for Alberta, Canada and the rest of the world. Covid has wreaked havoc with the economy and has impacted millions of people, whether it’s through loss of life or financial hardship. Unfortunately, Covid is also changing the way our contract partners must operate and we are continuing to adapt as a Council to this new workforce reality. I want to thank our members for continuing to demonstrate their skills and work ethic, along with the patience and understanding, that upholds the sense of union pride that the United Brother of Carpenters is so renowned for.
While worksite challenges related to Covid will persist for the foreseeable future, there will fortunately be many work opportunities available in 2022.
There will a number of turnarounds in Alberta next year. The following sites are just a few of the sites that have notified the Council of potential work for Carpenters, Scaffolders and Millwrights in the spring and/or fall: Suncor, Syncrude, CNRL, Dow Chemical, Shell Scotford, Agrium, Sundance, Keep Hills, CNOC and Imperial Oil. Please be sure to login in to your Dispatch profile and check the Job Board as new opportunities continue to be added.To help meet this demand, Millwrights 1460 recently began piloting a recruitment campaign spanning the province. LU1460 projects they will need up to 800 qualified millwrights to fill positions throughout Alberta next year. The early part of this campaign has yielded positive results and we are excited about the potential to meet our target. The campaign will also help create a template we can apply towards recruiting more carpenters and scaffolders. As always, members are encouraged to leverage their personal networks and in turn encourage others to pursue a career with Alberta Carpenters. We will have many calls to fill next year and need a committed base of members to help fill them. Membership applications are available on the ARCCAW and Millwrights 1460 websites.
Like Covid, another item I wish was resolved are the lingering issues related to the Rapid Site Access Program (RSAP) as we transition health care providers from Homewood Health to LifeWorks (formerly Morneau Shepell). I am pleased to report that the General Presidents Committee has committed early in the New year to adopt the program developed with the Building Trades of Alberta which sees members complete an assessment with LifeWorks in order to return to work. I recognize how challenging RSAP has been for some of our members and appreciate the feedback they have provided. I am hopeful we can finally turn the page on this next year.
In December, we hosted a Regional Council delegate meeting with Local Union 1325, 1460, 2010 and 2103 delegates. In addition to welcoming delegates in-person at the hall in Edmonton, we also offered the opportunity for delegates to attend the meeting remotely via the Zoom video conferencing platform. We know some members have been requesting the ability to attend regular member meetings for some time. However, creating this attendance option isn’t without its challenges. In addition to compliance and security considerations related to the UBC Constitution, there are also technical hurdles to address. This includes issues like creating a process to verify member participation on the call through to bandwidth issues that participants may experience if they access the meeting in work camps.
Overall, using Zoom for the recent delegate meeting went relatively well and was positively received by the delegates attending online or in-person. While we are more confident about using Zoom again for future delegate meetings, the meeting helped highlight that more work is required for us to ensure Zoom can be properly incorporated into regular member meetings. Our goal is to open member meetings in person and on Zoom for the Local 1325 meeting on January 5, 2022, with other Locals to follow thereafter. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we explore new ways to better connect our members to the Council and one another.
Unfortunately, the onset of the Omicron variant likely means the Alberta Carpenters locations will remain physically closed to the public until further notice. I recognize this can be frustrating for some members and I want you to know it’s also been hugely frustrating for the Council as we mitigate issues related to business continuity, health-care compliance and liability, and, most importantly, member engagement. Please know that even though we can’t always meet in person, the Council is there for you. My door is now at least open virtually and members are always encouraged to call or email me or their Business Representatives if they have any questions or require support. Thank you again for your continued membership and, once again, I wish you and yours Merry Christmas and happy holidays.
Reminder: The Alberta Regional Council of Carpenters and Allied Workers offices in Edmonton, Calgary and Fort McMurray will be closed starting at 4 p.m. on Thursday, December 23, 2021 and will re-open at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. This closure includes all the Alberta Carpenters Training Centre locations and ACAW Trust Funds. Please refer to the Training Centre and ACAW Trust Funds websites for their hours of operation.
Executive Secretary Treasurer
Alberta Regional Council of Carpenters and Allied Workers