We Want to Work!  Do the right thing, CESSCO.  END THE LOCKOUT.

Thirty Edmonton families have been going without paychecks and benefits since June 28. That’s when CESSCO Fabrication & Engineering Ltd. locked workers out of their jobs. Workers had been bargaining with the company for over 2.5 years, and CESSCO wanted them to accept a contract that would gut wages, pension contributions and protective seniority language. Rather than continue negotiating, CESSCO locked the workers out.

During a pandemic. During a time of unprecedented economic and personal uncertainty.

The workers, members of Boilermakers Local 146, just want to go back to work. They want to continue negotiating while they keep doing the quality work they’ve done for years for CESSCO.

Read the full press release

What’s happening to us at CESSCO

Dwight Watson - Locked out at CESSCO

Dwight Watson

“My future is up in the air. I don’t know if they’re going to close the doors”

Dwight Watson

“My future is up in the air. I don’t know if they’re going to close the doors. For now, I’m walking the picket line for the young people who might come into CESSCO in the future looking for a union company.”

Dwight Watson turns 65 in March. He was looking forward to finishing out a satisfying career where he worked hard and had well earned an upcoming retirement. Thirty-seven years on the job, the last 12 serving as a job steward.

And he was lucky: He liked his job. He liked where he worked.

But CESSCO doesn’t care about Dwight Watson. Or his plans. Or the nearly four-decades—multiplied by thousands upon thousands of dedicated hours—he put in to make the company successful. They locked him out anyway.

“It was more of a shock than anything else. It’s like you’ve been shot in the gut, and you don’t know how you’re going to come out of it,” he says.

Watson went to work on June 28 expecting to go back to the bargaining table, where Boilermakers and CESSCO had been negotiating for over two and a half years toward a new contract. He thought things were looking good for a resolution, but within 10 minutes, CESSCO president Dave Hummel dug his heels in and announced a lockout.

“There was no way we could take that contract—it was a ridiculous contract, and Dave Hummel knows it,” says Watson, noting that the contract would have reduced his wages by at least $5 an hour. “Things have really changed since Dave Hummel became president. His aim is to break the union.”

That was over 20 weeks ago, and there are no signs that CESSCO will let up. It seems Hummel’s conscience won’t even stir him to concede to bringing the workers back under their old contract as they continue negotiations. During a pandemic. During some of the most uncertain economic times many families have ever faced.

And Watson is just one of the 30 Edmonton families impacted. He and his wife of 41 years raised their four children in Edmonton, and they were looking forward to relaxing and enjoying their 16 grandchildren together. They’ve both worked for that. They’ve earned it.

Dwight Watson

Dwight Watson and his wife of 41 years, Marie-Anne, had looked forward to a well-earned retirement and time to spend with their four children and 16 grandchildren.

But now? His wife has had to go from part-time at her government job back to full-time work; and as Alberta’s coldest weather sets in, Watson is on the picket line every day.

“My future is up in the air. I don’t know if they’re going to close the doors. For now, I’m walking the picket line for the young people who might come into CESSCO in the future looking for a union company.”

Jeff Burns - Locked out at CESSCO

Jeff Burns

“I don’t think we’re welcome here, and I think that was their intention all along.”

Jeff Burns

“I’d like to have optimism—I really would. But I think that ship’s sailed. I don’t think we’re welcome here, and I think that was their intention all along. It’s hard to be optimistic when we haven’t sat down with CESSCO since August.”

Jeff Burns feels fortunate. He and his wife, Tina, just celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary. And even though he has been locked out of his job at CESSCO, where he’s worked for over 21 years—even though he walks the picket line every day in the Alberta cold—he feels fortunate. He feels lucky that it’s just him and his wife at home. That they have been smart over the years with their finances. That the regular check Tina Burns receives for a permanent disability is money they can count on to pay the bills.

Jeff Burns

Jeff Buns and his wife, Tina, recently celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary.

What Jeff Burns doesn’t feel is optimism.

“I’d like to have optimism—I really would. But I think that ship’s sailed,” he says. “I don’t think we’re welcome here, and I think that was their intention all along. It’s hard to be optimistic when we haven’t sat down with CESSCO since August.”

Like his Boilermaker brothers, the lock-out notice came as a surprise. Especially in a bargaining process that had lasted over two and a half years.

“In the past, we had continuity in our collective bargaining. No matter what the economy looked like and even if it meant no increases in pay or benefits, previous management always kept things moving forward,” he says, referring to before Dave Hummel became CESSCO CEO and Amanda Hawkins took over for her father as CEO of CESSCO parent company Canerector Inc.

“It would be nice to be treated with the same level of respect as we were prior to their arrival—in 20 years we worked with [Amanda Hawkins’] father.”

Burns recalls Hawkins’ grandfather, who was CEO before her father, at company Christmas parties.

“He made sure to come around and shake our hands and have at least a short conversation with us,” he says. “It made us feel like we mattered. We got hand-written cards from [Amanda Hawkins’] grandmother. What happened? It’s the same family, and we’re the same people.”

JeffBurns

Before the lockout, Jeff Burns enjoyed his job as a lead hand and roll operator at CESSCO.

Burns isn’t sure what he’ll do long term. As the summer turned into fall, and fall turned into winter on the picket line (at -12 degrees Celsius in November), it’s a grim outlook. He and others believe CESSCO and Canerector have used the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to stall negotiating.

“If they were having financial issues with the facility, that’s not our fault,” he says. “And it sure feels like we’re being blamed for it.”

He’s considered leaving Alberta entirely since the province has made many recent anti-labor moves. He can hold out a little while longer, but others he knows are really struggling. Some have found work through L-146, but it means traveling away from their families.

“They’ve grown accustomed to working in the shop and coming home to spend time with their families,” he explains. “Now if they need to get work, they have to go away—and some of them have young children. They have to choose between work and their families.”

That’s not something he can imagine for himself. His focus is on keeping the picket line going and being near Tina. His relationship with his wife is what is helping him bear the injustice, the cold and the uncertainty.

“Like me, she can’t understand how this CESSCO situation ever got to this point,” he says. “I’m thankful for our relationship. After being on the picket line all day, I can go home, and she ‘gets it.’ She doesn’t press me for dialog, because she knows it’s been consuming me all day. And she’s there when I need a shoulder. It’s what keeps me from unraveling completely.”

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Just like that, they can decide you’re not important.

This affects all workers.

We all need to stand together..

Enough is enough. Fair pay and benefits for an honest day’s work.

How you can support the Local 146 workers locked out by CESSCO

$

Send a Donation

Send a donation through a fund set up by the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. Checks should be made out to “W.T. Creeden, IST” with “146 CESSCO Lockout Assistance” on the memo line. Mail checks to:

International Brotherhood of Boilermakers
Attn: IST W.T. Creeden
753 State Ave., Suite 565
Kansas City, KS 66101

#

Use Your Social Media Power

Use #StandWith146 to aggregate posts showing support for L-146 and denouncing CESSCO. Follow @boilermakers.union and @ibb146 on Facebook and @boilermakernews and @146lodge on Twitter, and share news about the L-146 CESSCO lockout as it happens.

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Literally Stand with L-146

Visit the picket line in front of CESSCO at 7310 99th Street NW, Edmonton, Alberta. We’re on the picket line every day from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Share your Photos or Videos

Share your photos or video from the picket line. Send us your photos or short videos so we can share them through our communication channels. Send to: Reporter@Boilermakers.org.

Show Your Support, Add Your Name

Add your name and show CESSCO and the workers locked out that you #StandWith146!
(Your email address will not be shared.)

Your name was added to the petition!

We Stand with 146 in calling for CESSCO to End the Lockout!

Tyler Albright
Don Hamric
Aaron Peck
Tom Fatigante
crhone
Robert Wilcox
kylie janzen
Robert Erickson
Darren Ford
Stu Johnston 128
dean chmilar
Eric Via
jonathan Deveau
Corey Perchinski L 13
Shawn Knickle
Ben Simmons
Kemal Ozkan
Josef Sopiarz
Brent Battin D-39
Stirling Munn
Local 744 Cleveland
Berean McMichael
Cecile Conroy
Phillipp Evans
Patrick Furey
Liliana Calderon
Dalas Santavy
Don Taylor
Greg Paccone
Cris Ruiz
Tameka Diamond
Kerry Hooten
Geno Forkin
Mitchell Durand
Marvin Androschuk
Larry McManamon
Don kaufman
Sue Rock
Sheila Rogers
Chris Wilson
Eugene Gill
Tom Grinter
Yanis Ropalo
Debbie Goodwin
Gan Han Lin
Ella Henry
Nadina Brown
Héctor Alberto Mareque
stan barry
Glen Gibson
Jake Ludeman
Rick Vanderveen
Maurice Deveau
Richard MacIntosh
Monic Bazinet
Sisay Tulu
Dagoberto Correa
James R Chew
Krysty Thomas
Howard Anstey

Check out the latest newsclips, articles and letters about the lockout

Local 146 Boilermakers locked out at CESSCO
Boilermaker Reporter, August 7, 2020

Attacking the Trades in Alberta
Organizing Work, July 16, 2020

If you have questions about the Boilermakers union, Local 146 or what’s happening at CESSCO in Edmonton, Alberta, please contact us:

Rick Vanderveen
Boilermakers International Rep
780-908-2591
rvanderveen@boilermakers.org

Casey Worden
Organizer, Local 146
780-990-4527
cworden@boilermakers.ca

Mackenzie Walker
Assistant Business Manager, Local 146
780-887-5764
mwalker@boilermakers.ca

#StandWith146

We want to Work!  Do the right thing, CESSCO.  END THE LOCKOUT.
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers