Members of IAM Local Lodge 99, District 14 Negotiating Committee attended Negotiation Prep training at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center (W3). The committee represents members at Weldco Heavy Industries in Fort Mackay, Alberta, Canada. Weldco does heavy mine maintenance on 400 ton trucks and shovels.

The committee’s courses included how to draft contract language, strategic planning, contract costing, and a negotiation simulation.

The committee lauded the information, skills, and the education center itself that included Chief Steward Broc MacWhirter. Brother MacWhirter travels to Fort Mackay every month for his 14-day rotation of 12 hour shifts, and was a key organizer for the bargaining unit in 2018 when the 95 new members joined the IAM.

“The facility is second to none,” said MacWhirter. “The staff out do themselves every single day to provide a safe, clean and extremely well maintained center. If you ever get a chance to partake in a course go out of your way to make it. I can’t wait for my next trip to the harbor.”

Brad Lesperance, a shop steward for the IAM at Weldco, was identified as an organizer in 2018 and lost his job in the fight for recognition with the IAM, but was able to return to work thanks to the efforts of the IAM organizing team. “It was a great honor and privilege to be able to take part in such a great training program,” said Lesperance. “The instructors were incredibly knowledgeable and the staff was willing to help in any way. The Winpisinger Center exceeded our expectations.” 

Cody Caldwell, who also played a strategic role in helping the union get Brad his job back, said “The time I got to spend at the Winpisinger education & technology centre was an amazing opportunity. The knowledge and experience the instructors bring to the table really helped me prepare, and has boosted my confidence for our upcoming negotiations. I am truly grateful to be here.”

“It was a pleasure to accompany these first-time visitors to W3, said District 14 Business Representative, and Lead Negotiator Jim Patterson. “It’s always a good time going to classes and furthering my knowledge, but this was especially invigorating seeing the committee experience the school for the first time.”

“We are very glad that our Local 99 Weldco members are getting training at the Winpisinger Center,” said Canadian General Vice President David Chartrand. “This means that they will be better prepared to bargain with the employer and obtain a better contract. “The Winpisinger Education Center adds incredible value to being a member of the IAM.”

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