On November 26, 1947, the Ironworkers International went to the Province of British Columbia to charter Local 712, a new shop that protected and supported the rights and safety of local workers. 75 years alter, Shop Workers Local 712 is still setting industries standards and advocating for workers across all the manufacturing industries.

“During those 75 years, Local 712 has been a part of almost every major construction project in British Columbia, helping to build the landscape of one of the world’s great cities,” says Mike MacIntosh, Business Manager. BC Place Stadium and its later renovations, Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver and Nanaimo convention centers, GM Place, sky train stations, dams, major hydro and gas projects, ships, ferries, barges, tunnel borers, telescopes, Disney roller coaster, and almost every large steel and metal component throughout the province have the contribution of the skills of Local 712.

And of course, the famous Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, which recently hosted its 65-year memorial since it collapsed on June 17, 1957, where 13 Ironworkers never made it home that day. “One of the many reasons that worker safety cannot be stressed enough,” says MacIntosh.

Over its 75 years, Shop Workers Local 712 has evolved into other areas of worker representation. Over 1,500 members strong, its roots are firmly planted in the steel and metal fabrication industry. Decade over decade, Local 712 continues to deliver the highest quality Collective Agreements and the highest quality product due to its highly-quality trade workers and their extensive skills and experience.

“With 25 shops under 712’s representation, many are highly specialized and produce parts and assemblies for complex equipment such as those required for the aerospace industry,” says MacIntosh. “Their members are involved in many other industries, comprised of men and women who build theme park rides, fireplaces, windows and window assemblies, non-ferrous metal ornamental foundries, handrails, galvanizing, metal recycling, oil and gas, mining, tanks, boilers and pressure vessels and more.”

75 Years Strong

On November 26, 2022, Local 712 celebrated its 75th Jubilee Celebration. Just coming out of the pandemic, the timing was perfect opportunity to bring everyone together again for this monumental achievement. Over 650 members attended the anniversary dinner—a themed casino night was hosted in conjunction with the annual retiree’s dinner and pin ceremony, “which is always a pleasure. Especially since they hadn’t hosted one since the spring of 2019,” says MacIntosh. “Some of the 75th Celebration guests were, other union leaders, local Mayors, MLA’s, MP’s, and BC Premier Eby created a video for us to play, just eight days into his new leadership role. It was a very successful event that will be remembered for a long time.”

Most members participate in the Shop Workers Local 712 pension plan which was established almost 30 years ago, one that has seen tremendous growth and has been a very welcome source of income at retirement. “For the first time in the union’s history, we recently implemented a retirement benefits program as well,” says MacIntosh.

Over the last 3 years and leading up to the 75th anniversary, Shop Workers Local 712 has taken some internal bold steps. With new MacIntosh taking the reins in 2021, Local 712 has become a harder working and progressive union while taking great reflection by honoring the past, and mapping out goals to build the future.

Shop Workers Local 712 uses its market knowledge, experience, and diverse employer base to maintain strong relationships to help employers tender and procure more work.

Shop Workers Local 712 has a union hall to conduct its business. Union meeting are held once a month and members are always encouraged to come. “Our members work in many specialized manufacturing sectors,” says MacIntosh. “Whether its working to represent workers, taking political action, improving skills through training, or other, the professionals staffed by 712 go above and beyond for its members and manufacturing workers to secure their job stabilities and futures.”

Local 712 strongly supports apprenticeship and training and oversees many Red Seal trades such as Metal Fabrication, Welding, Machining, Millwrighting, Electrician, Carpenter, and Painter, along with other certificate programs or learn on the job skills like Robotic Welding, CNC machining, CNC plasma machines, break presses, pipe, HSS, beam and bar bending, plate shears, saws, ironworkers, machine operators, shipping receiving, truck drivers and so much more.

Occupational Health and Safety

Over its 75 years, Ironworkers Shop Local 712 has gained extensive knowledge in many different markets and also many different types of working conditions. Occupational Health and Safety is the absolute top priority for its members. Every worker has the right to work in a safe workplace and every worker has the right to go home safely to their families every day. Local 712’s members and its signatory companies contribute towards a joint training fund to support safety and training in real time, which greatly assists the financial cost burdens that any form of training may bring.

Shop Workers Local 712 takes its roles as a private and public advocate very seriously, working collaboratively with various government agencies. Shop Workers Local 712 sets the standards for manufacturing workers and companies in manufacturing through strong business relationships, strong collective agreement bargaining, and a strong grassroots relationship with its membership. Each company has its own collective agreement and is negotiated through extensive collaboration with each bargaining Unit. These relationships at all levels ensures prosperous employers, the workers have a voice in the workplace, and that leads to strong communications based on mutual respect between members, the union, and the employers.

Moving forward, Shop Workers Local 712 is honoured to represent blue-collar middle-class workers. “We fundamentally believe that no one can put a price on safety and job security,” says MacIntosh. “And it is an honour to set the standards and enjoy nurturing growth and success for all the days, years, and decades to come. Local 721 has a hearty business plan and looks to build off their momentum. And will continue putting in the work to be recognized as the best manufacturing union in British Columbia.”

Interested in finding out more information about manufacturing and manufacturing representation in British Columbia? Use one of the many tools available and get in touch with us to learn more. We are here to assist all manufacturing workers in the great province of British Columbia.