LiUNA Local 837, a predominately construction-based trade union, headquartered in Hamilton, Ontario has over 6,000 members throughout the Greater Hamilton, Niagara, Brant and Kitchener-Waterloo communities. Local 837 is one of twenty local unions that LiUNA, the Labourers’ International Union of North America, has in Canada. LiUNA is Canada’s largest building trades union and represents over 140,000 members across the country. Founded in 1903, primarily through the determination and perseverance of immigrants who sought improved working conditions, prioritizing the health, safety, and respect of workers, LiUNA today honours its roots by advocating tirelessly for its people and for the community as a whole.

Business Elite Canada is proud to champion the men and women of LiUNA Local 837 whose tangible contributions to Ontario’s construction, healthcare and industrial facilities are the bedrock of its thriving economy and way of life. LiUNA represents workers in road building, sewer and watermain, demolition, pipeline, energy, health care, residential housing, low rise and high rise forming, formwork, tunneling, remediation, and utilities to name but a few.

Current estimates suggest that the Construction industry employs over 1.4 million people in Canada and generates about $141 billion to the economy annually. Construction is the foundation of the Canadian economy—building and maintaining the facilities and institutions in our cities, towns, and communities.

LiUNA members impact the lives of all Canadians every day, when they use hospitals, highways, and roads, drink safe water, enjoy a sporting event, or visit one of the many institutions where they live and work.

“LiUNA members have been a large part of building some of our great infrastructure.” says Riccardo Persi, Local 837 Business Manager. “We proudly boast the construction of key sites including the largest underground tunnel built for Hydo in Niagara, the many schools, factories, hospitals, highways, and bridge projects including the Burlington Skyway and both the Garden City Skyway and Burgoyne Bridge in Niagara.”

“We have built countless projects including working on pipelines, power plants, bridges, tunnels, roads, our essential services like courts, schools and hospitals.”

Speaking specifically to Greater Hamilton and Niagara, LiUNA members are proud of their participation in many projects including high profile projects such as the First Ontario Centre, the Red Hill Expressway and the Lincoln Alexander Parkway, the Sir Adam Beck Generating Station in Niagara, and are in the process of building the new Grimsby/Niagara West hospital. We also look forward to building Hamilton’s long awaited LRT.

“Our members also form a strong part of our Building Communities campaign,” says Persi, “and if it weren’t through their hard work many of our donations to key hospital and health care systems, community causes and charities would not be realized.”

The E.H. Mancinelli Learning and Education Centre

The diverse and talented LiUNA members are also behind bringing to life projects that push the envelope technologically. With a training and apprenticeship program that is second-to-none, LiUNA members are able to achieve skill requirements for jobs now, and as they evolve.

In late 2022, LiUNA Local 837 opened its new Training site, the E.H. Mancinelli Learning and Education Centre, a 45,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art training and education facility which heralds a new era for training conditions in the industry.

The facility’s opening also solidifies the Union’s long standing commitment to innovation and the safety of workers who continue to build Canada. “The new building has allowed us to not only expand our training and offer more apprenticeship classes, but it has allowed us to strengthen our partnerships—partnerships with the Indigenous community, with new Canadians, with school boards, and with youth at risk. It’s just amazing,” said Persi.

The E.H. Mancinelli Training Centre represents LiUNA’s commitment to fostering the most educated and safe workers.

“The new site not only provides us with increased space in a state-of-the-art training facility,” says Persi, “but also allows us to train an even greater number of students on the best health and safety training available”

The E.H. Mancinelli Learning and Education Centre also represents the integral improvement of health and safety from decades past. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, for instance, there was not any training or Health and Safety Guidelines that needed to be followed at all. Unsurprisingly, there was a higher incidence of worker death and job-site injuries.

Fortunately, through education and stronger collective bargaining language, safer workplaces have been established.

The new E.H. Mancinelli Learning and Education Centre also comes at a perfect time in terms of attracting the attention of new tradespeople. As the construction sector’s workforce is aging, it must attract younger workers to pass knowledge and experience on to ensure its sustainability and educate the public on the significant financial benefits within the trades.

LiUNA has developed state-of-the-art curriculums to go along with the most up-to-date health and safety courses for their members to take prior to going to job sites. Members are also assured that signatory contractors follow stringent health and safety measures on site through labour-friendly, appropriately worded collective agreements that are renewed every two to three years to ensure they remain current.

LiUNA Local 837’s training programs are broken into two distinctive categories: hard skills and soft skills, says Persi. “On the hard skills side we look at health and safety, fundamentals expansion, legal issues, and so on. On the soft skills side we look at specific skills training and enhancement.” The purpose of this training is to improve the employability of workers in Ontario, and to open up vast opportunities to those workers who take a proactive approach to career management.

LiUNA Local 837 is also partnering with local school boards and Indigenous communities to educate the public about construction skills or apprenticeship programs. It is also LiUNA’s position that a diverse workforce is an asset to Ontario in terms of encouraging innovation and evolution.

“As we continue to train workers, we are creating a stronger, more versatile workforce,” says Persi. “We have the team in place to continue to build and grow the province. As the province continues to grow, employment opportunities will grow.”

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