Category Archives: Operating Engineers
The founders of the International Union of Operating Engineers realized that In Unity There Is Strength. Unionized workers pledge to work together: maintaining and improving their wages, benefits, and working conditions through collective bargaining. Business owners have always banded together, through organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and various lobbying groups – the way to balance their collective power is for employees to use that same strategy.
Only through unity can a trade union successfully fulfill its purpose and provide all workers the dignity, security and respect they deserve. Our mission, as stated in IUOE Local 49’s Constitution is, “to organize all persons working in the jurisdiction of this International Union without regard to race, creed, color, sex, religion, age, or national origin.”
Local 49 of the International Union of Operating Engineers represents more than 13,000 men and women in Minnesota, North and South Dakota with contracts for highway/heavy and building contractors, well drillers, equipment repair shops, welding shops, sand and gravel suppliers, counties, municipalities, hospitals, school districts, cemeteries, and more.
LABOR UNIONS BUILT THE U.S. MIDDLE CLASS.
Trade Unions, such as Operating Engineers Local 49, exist because workers want a fair share of the wealth their labor produces. We are not organized to be a social club or to build the prestige of individuals: Our sole purpose is to advance the welfare of workers and working families. We believe union apprenticeships are one of the keys to building a workforce that begins contributing productively from day one, while earning fair compensation including benefits and a pension that starts building while many college students are building debt that will hang over them for years. Why pay for college when you can earn while you learn as an apprentice Operator, taking advantage of our year-round Training Center at no cost to our members?
A member of the staff of The Catholic Cemeteries since 2005, Gray oversees the seasonal field staff in the maintenance of cemetery grounds and assorted field duties. He’s a skilled mechanic who keeps the cemetery equipment serviced and operational. And of course, he handles the opening and closing of graves.
While his day-to-day work is largely physical, Gray sees it as much more.
“When I started this job I began meeting the people we serve and it became clear that this is a ministry,” Gray said. “We are here with people at times of great sorrow and sadness, and I realized the importance of our presence.”
The preparation of a grave for burial — locating the site, digging the space, putting up the tent, and related tasks — is sacred work, Gray says.
Whether standing by at the burial services or doing dauily fieldwork, Gray has come to know many families at Resurrection.
Gray’s spare time is filled with family, faith, and powerlifting – he can bench-press more than 400 pounds!
Several years ago, after his pastor was diagnosed with cancer, Gray helped start a competitive powerlifting benefit, called “Relentless“, which drew weightlifters from all across the country. The event was such a success that it is now held annually and supports “HopeKids“, which offers support to children with life-threatening medical conditions.
“Mike gives a lot of himself to his job and his community. He is a real asset to our team at Resurrection,” said John Cherek, Director of The Catholic Cemeteries.
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