The Quality Control Council (QCC) is a joint venture between the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (IBB) and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada (UA), and is recognized as the designated Union to represent non-destructive testing and field heat treatment technicians across Canada.
The two organizations determined that these specially trained and highly skilled technicians had a unique interest and it was determined that they would be best represented independently of the affiliate union so the Quality Control Council of Canada was created. While QCC members retain the rights and privileges of both organizations, they are encouraged to participate in the activities of their home locals and lodges; in many ways, they benefit from the resources of both organizations. The QCC membership is strong, is growing rapidly with approximately 3,000 members across Canada (January 2011) and has also served to build strong relations between the UA and IBB and to benefit all of our members.
The QCC negotiates the "Quality Control Agreement" with Nondestructive Testing Management Association (NDTMA). The NDTMA is the registered employer’s organization and represents approximately 70 Union contractors engaged in NDT and Field Heat Treatment throughout Canada.
The Canadian-wide "Quality Control Agreement" allows for variances between the different areas of the country through separate "Regional Appendices". The Regions are:
|Province of British Columbia and the Yukon Territory
|Provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Northwest and Nunavut Territories
|Province of Ontario
|Province of Quebec
|Provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
Outside of the "Regional Appendices," the collective agreement also allows for separate conditions for Pipeline and Northern Work.
The Quality Control Council of Canada traces its origin to a meeting held in Vancouver, B.C. in early 1970. A principal owner of a Heat Treatment/Stress Relieving Company put forward a proposition on a joint agreement for the UA and the IBB, which would transcend the traditional jurisdictional boundaries. This proposed agreement was to be applicable to Heat Treating on all installations within the work jurisdiction of either union organization. UA International Representative, Russ St. Eloi, and Boilermaker International Representative, Bob MacIntosh agreed to consider this new concept as feedback from workers and industry leaders indicated an interest to pursue the concept further. This strong interest helped create the first specialty "Heat Treating Agreement" adopted in the latter part of 1970.
In 1971 a small group of non-destructive testing technicians in B.C. decided that they too would be better off if they were organized into a Union and began making inquiries. Because of the close working relationship, between NDT and Field Heat Treatment Technicians, word soon got back to the IBB and UA that there was interest being expressed by the NDT workers to join the QCC.
Brothers McIntosh and St Eloi again met to discuss matters further. Because of the strong similarities in the working conditions between the Field Heat Treatment and the NDT Technicians, the two International reps thought that all technicians would be best represented in an NDT group under the QCC. A "grassroots" organizing campaign was developed with workers signing membership cards on a 50-50 basis. The campaign went extremely well and in a very short time, joint applications for certification were filed with the B.C. Labour Relations Board (BCLRB).
While the applications before the BCLRB were pending approval, the contractors involved were approached by the Union Reps with an invitation to commence collective bargaining. The contractors agreed to consider voluntarily joining and a Collective Agreement was finalized before the BC Labour Relations Board issued bargaining certificates. The first contractors to sign up were:
The next phase was to start an organizing campaign in the Province of Alberta. With the guidance of the two International Reps, UA Local 488 (Edmonton), UA Local 496 (Calgary) and Boilermaker Lodge 146 initiated their own organizing campaigns. Throughout 1972 the two International Reps worked closely with the Local Unions to convince technicians to become unionized. Gordon Finlay did a superb job in getting Union membership in place for the NDT technicians and was instrumental in getting three contractors to sign "Voluntary Recognition" agreements.
On January 19th, 1973 a meeting was convened in Edmonton with a large number of representatives, from both the UA and IBB, to assess the success of the efforts in Alberta. Russ St. Eloi, who had been acting as Chairman, was encouraged by all the positive reports from the western provinces as well as the rapid growth and it is reported to have said that "the time has come to formalize this group". Brother St. Eloi received strong support from everyone and things moved quickly. Brother St. Eloi was declared temporary Chairman and Brother MacIntosh was declared temporary Secretary and the meeting proceeded with the adoption of a basic Constitution and the appointment of the inaugural Officers. They were: Russ St. Eloi, President and Bob MacIntosh, Financial Secretary with Vice-Presidents Don Whan, David Knight and John Carroll.
The new Quality Control Council of Canada decided their own "logo" was needed so a logo contest was run amongst the technicians and the final decision was made at a meeting in Ottawa on March 6th, 1973. Of the eight submissions received, Brother Les Hall’s logo won. The original logo is still in place today and remains a creative work of art for the members.
It was at the same Ottawa meeting the Council decided to start an organizing campaign in Ontario. To assist with organizing efforts Boilermaker member, Jon McManus was hired. In August of 1973, the Council met in Toronto to discuss the progress in Ontario and it was agreed that IBB Lodge 128 and UA Local 46 would be the designated QCC Locals in Ontario. BM Lodge 128 Business Managers Stan Petronski and UA Local 46 Business Manager Bill Howard were welcomed to the Council.
In early 1975 the NDT Contractors began their own organizing efforts and formed a central bargaining agency, naming themselves the Nondestructive Testing Management Association (NDTMA). The first president was John Zirnhelt and the first Treasurer was Gerry Pouget. In June of the same year, the first collective agreement between the QCC and NDTMA was signed in Calgary. The Provincial agreements in both B.C. and Alberta were allowed to expire and the new agreement took over.
The Council met in Montreal, in April 1977, to discuss the opportunities in Quebec. A few Quebec-based contractors along with some of the other contractors with operations within Quebec had expressed concern over the unfair competition within the Province. Brother McManus had successfully addressed most of the problems identified at the meetings in Toronto and was assigned to assist the Quebec locals/lodges with an organizing campaign.
During the summer of 1978, the Council held its first meeting in Atlantic Canada. The Business Reps from both Organizations were invited to meet the Council in Halifax to learn about the QCC. Attending from Atlantic Canada were UA Local 682 Ed Tighe, BM Lodge73 Mario Dube, UA Local 213 Herb Reid and BM Lodge 203 George Fewer. Brother McManus reported on his work in Quebec and the lack of success in signing new contractors from that Province. He had been appointed to a position with Boilermakers International however confirmed that he would keep the QCC assignment in Ontario and continue watching for other opportunities in Quebec.
1978 was also the year the Council was appointed Trustees to the newly established Benefits Plan. It should be noted that the first Health & Welfare Plan was entirely managed by the NDTMA however when the Pension Plan Trust documents were developed they specified eight Trustees (four from the QCC and four from the NDTMA) and the new model was adopted for the existing Health and Welfare as well.
December of 1978 was a turning point for the QCC. Negotiations concluded at that time which provided for an Administration Fund in the collective agreement. Each signatory contractor would contribute an amount equivalent to one percent of the NDT employees’ earnings; the Council would collect the money and remit one-half of all monies collected back to the NDTMA for their administration.
It wasn't until July 13th, 1982 that the QCC, at a meeting in Halifax, established that IBB Lodge 73 and UA Local 772 would represent the QCC in Atlantic Canada. It wasn't long before newly designated UA Local 740 and IBB Lodge 203 in Newfoundland would participate in the Quality Control Council as Representatives. With the inclusion of Atlantic Canada the Quality Control Council of Canada had finally become truly a "National Organization".
The strength of the Quality Control Council is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the many Union leaders who have worked diligently to build this organization.
At present, there are no formal apprenticeship programs for quality control technicians. Most technicians start as trainees and receive their practical training in-house on the job. Technicians are required to take courses at designated third-party training centers to obtain their theoretical requirements for certification from the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB). Upon successful completion of these courses, technicians are required to report to CGSB certified test centres for their written and practical tests. The QCC has opened its own training facility and has been certified by the CGSB to train in all NDT methods as well as has been certified as a written test centre.
The QCC and NDTMA jointly administer an industry training fund that reimburses all training and certification costs for member technicians. The Training Fund promotes constant education and upgrading of the QCC Members.