Chris Feller began his career in 1987, joining the Operative Plasterers’ & Cement Masons’ (OPCMIA) union as a Cement Mason apprentice. He served as trustee on the executive board and worked twice as an agent before becoming the Business Manager for the Cement Masons’ Local 919 in 2002. In 2019, Chris was elected to the position of International Vice President of the OPCMIA.
Family is at the Heart of Everything
Chris is married to his beautiful wife, Hayley and they have three adult children including two daughters, Shanel and Jewel, and one son, Chad. They are also avid dog lovers and have a 3-year-old black and white female pit-bull. In his free time, Chris enjoys golfing, traveling to exciting new destinations with Hayley, and taking his Can-Am Spyder out for a ride.
The Benefits of Unionized Labour & GPMC | NMC
Chris feels that some of the benefits of a union job include greater job security, higher wages, and a focus on safety in the workplace. The best part of his job is interacting with union members and ensuring that their voices are heard and properly represented.
As infrastructure is built in Canada, maintenance plays an important role and the GPMC/NMC works hard to secure more work opportunities for its members. Chris believes that being part of a union gives workers the ability to develop skills to perform work that provides higher wages and long-term job security.
The Next Generation of Union Workers
Labour shortages in skilled trades can impact Canada’s economic recovery, as many workers are nearing retirement. There are few industries that play such a pivotal role in the daily lives of Canadians. Chris is proud that his own son, Chad, has chosen to follow in his father’s footsteps, and is currently a cement Mason apprentice in Chris’ local union.
Canadians from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to consider apprenticeship training, which can lead to well-paying, secure careers with union employers. In addition to investing in training centres, the federal government is also working to attract more immigrants and women to work in the skilled trades. Versatility of trade programs can enable workers to easily transition from one trade to another and offer additional career flexibility. It is important to connect with Canadian students to get them interested in these types of careers.
In 2022, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced the launch of the new, federal Apprenticeship Service which plans to invest nearly $247 million in 13 projects, enabling small and medium-sized employers to offer apprenticeship training opportunities.
Chris and his son represent the next generation of union families who embrace secure, well-paying union jobs that support Canada’s economic stability.