OEM: The Hidden Power behind Heavy Industry
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OEM: The Hidden Power behind Heavy Industry

What’s it like to work in a unique facility that keeps many large, diverse industries running at full speed? CLAC Representative Mathew Clarke provides some insight

What is OEM?

OEM Remanufacturing Company Inc. is a component remanufacturing centre in Edmonton that services three different industries:

  1. Remanufacture Caterpillar components (engine, powertrain, wheels, calendars, etc.) for mining, construction, and forestry applications
  2. Natural gas/diesel
  3. Railways

How long has Local 56 represented workers at OEM?

Local 56 has represented OEM employees since the company’s inception in 2004, although the union represented some workers for much longer. OEM was created as an amalgamation of two of previous CLAC-signatory companies, Headhunters Diesel Ltd. and Reliable Engine Company. Today, the local represents over 650 members at the plant in Edmonton.

What are some of the challenges they face?

The products and services that Local 56 members provide are in very heavy demand. And that demand continues to grow and multiply. As a result, members often experience an increase in demand for their time while ensuring that quality of their work does not decrease. This presents a very real challenge to the membership. Work-life balance is always a present consideration for these members.

What are some of the highlights?

The OEM facility is unique in its size and scope as well as the type and class of product the plant puts out and the processes it runs on. There is not another facility like this one in North America. It’s a huge highlight for the membership to be a part of such a unique and interesting workplace.

How has their work changed over the years?

As a remanufacturing facility, at its core, OEM has remained the same. As the scope of the demand for its product has increased, the size of membership has grown. OEM has had to get a lot more sophisticated in how members do their work. Also, it has been interesting to notice the evolution in safety at OEM. Standards are far stricter today then they used to be.

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