Remembering Jimmy Hoffa

Originally posted on teamsters.org

July 30, 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the disappearance of one of the greatest labour leaders in American history – James R. Hoffa.

As Teamsters General President, Hoffa honed his well-earned reputation as a tough and effective bargainer and gained the respect of labour and business leaders alike across the country. He worked hard to expand the number of working men and women who were protected by union contracts and under his leadership, the union’s membership rose to include more than 2 million workers.

Hoffa’s crowning achievement was the 1964 National Master Freight Agreement, which united more than 400,000 over-the-road drivers under one contract. This contract, a feat that had been declared virtually impossible by many, lifted more workers out of poverty and into the middle class than any other single event in labour history.

Former Congressman Elmer Holland (D-PA) once said that, “Jimmy Hoffa has put more bread and butter on the tables for American kids than all his detractors put together.”

Hoffa was devoted to his union and to his family. He gave his life while fighting to remove corrupt elements from the union and return power to the members.

On this tragic anniversary, Teamster members and retirees from across North America join together in honoring the man who forever improved the lives of millions of workers and their families.

The Teamsters Union recognizes the Hoffa family for their sacrifice and devotion to this great union – they lost more than a leader, they lost a father and grandfather.

The Teamsters represents 120 000 members in Canada in all industries. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.

Laval, July 23, 2015 — In advance of the final stages of Trans Pacific Partnership Negotiations (TPP), Teamsters Canada President Francois Laporte sent a letter today to International Trade Minister Ed Fast urging him to defend Canada’s Dairy Industry and to “make clear, as Canadian governments have done for many years in many trade talks, that our dairy supply management is ‘off the table.’”

The TPP end-game takes place in a context in which the United States, New Zealand and other nations would have Canada scrap its longstanding and successful approach to protecting its farmers, industry workers, and communities. The past year has witnessed a significant decrease in global dairy demand and prices, owning in part to the Chinese economic downturn, and a corresponding glut of milk product, particularly in New Zealand, where dairy comprises a significant portion of their GDP.  Fonterra, the country’s monopolistic dairy conglomerate, and one of the largest players in global dairy markets, has recently announced significant layoffs.

“The Fonterra-New Zealand model is not one that Canadian dairy and agricultural interests need further expose themselves to,” Laporte said. “Supply management works for Canadian farmers and dairy industry employees”

TPP negotiations have dragged for over half a decade, largely in secret, and dairy and agriculture comprise only one sector of a deal that would cover a broad swath of industries, rules, and regulations, that stand to affect the global economy in its entirety. Nevertheless, for all of the countries at the negotiating table, agricultural issues are always difficult to mediate because of the direct impact the sector has on citizens the world over. Which countries end up with what may boil down to those governments that acquiesce the quickest to the demands of global corporations, and those that stand fast in defending the standards and values which have an unambiguous impact on the public.

“It is not too much of a stretch to state that, when negotiators gather in seclusion in Maui, global pressure will be brought to bear on Canada to abandon its supply management system, and abandon Canadian farmers, communities, and dairy industry workers along with it,” said Teamsters Dairy Director David Froelich, of Local Union 987 in Alberta.

“By holding firm, Minister Fast can take a stand for far more than the Canadian dairy industry and our sovereignty;  Canada can send a strong signal to the world that the current “free trade” model is broken,” Laporte said.

Teamsters Canada represents more than 2,500 dairy workers and in excess of 120,000 workers total across a broad array of industries that could be affected by the still-secret trade agreement.

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Information:

Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Public Relations
Cell: 514-609-5101
Email: slacroix@teamsters.ca

Teamsters are lending a hand to the evacuees of Northern Saskatchewan. The province’s very own Local Union 395 raised $1000 to help those who were forced to evacuate the northern part of the province. Teamsters Canada also donated $3000, bringing the total to $4000

The money will go to the Salvation Army, which set up a trust fund for the wildfire evacuees.

During the course of these wildfires, approximately 10 000 residents of Northern Saskatchewan were forced to evacuate. Luckily, the situation is now starting to improve. Caring for the remaining evacuees remains an important priority.

“The evacuees have been placed in mass shelters throughout the province and have little to no information about the toll the fires may have taken on their communities,” explained Randy Powers, principal officer of Local Union 395. “Most have no idea what they will find when they are allowed to return home.”

Francois Laporte, the President of Teamsters Canada, highlighted the importance of helping communities recover after disasters like these. “We support communities everyday by fighting for better working conditions and by protecting people from abusive companies. But faced with a disaster on this scale, everyone needs to pitch in a bit more.”

Cheques can be made out to the Salvation Army with Saskatchewan Wildfires noted in the memo field, and sent to 2240 13th avenue, Regina, Saskatchewan, S4P 3M7. Teamsters Canada asks both members and the public to consider donating.

The Teamsters represents 120 000 members in Canada in all industries. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.

Building up British Columbia starts with getting better working conditions, including pensions, health benefits and higher wage.

Delta, June 29, 2015 — Teamsters Local Union 31 successfully won a representation vote that certified the union at the British Columbia Labour Relations Board to represent the Drivers, Warehouse Workers and Clerical at USF Reddaway Inc. in Delta, BC.

Some 1,600 workers of this company are unionized with the Teamsters.

The workers said they wanted to be respected by their employer.

“The workers expressed their courage for what matters most to them: respect,” said Ben Hennessy, Director of Organizing of Teamsters Local Union 31. “I’m proud to have given the workers at USF Reddaway a strong, helping Teamsters hand up to build a brighter future.”

USF Reddaway Inc. provides direct, regional delivery in twelve U.S. states and British Columbia. The company was founded in 1919.

The union will meet with the employer in the next few months, and both parties will bargain with a view to entering into their very first work contract.

“I would like to thank brothers Mike Hennessy of Local Union 31 and Grant Coleman of Teamsters Canada who helped us a lot in this organizing drive,” added Ben Hennessy. “Without them, none of it would have been possible.”

The Teamsters represents 120 000 members in Canada in all industries. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.

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Information:

Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Public Relations
Telephone: 450-682-5521
Cell: 514-609-5101
Email: slacroix@teamsters.ca

Toronto, June 11 2015 — Dozens of union representatives from Ontario and other provinces gathered to participate in the Teamsters Ontario Invitational (OTI), a golf tournament for the Variety children’s charity.

Randy Doner, president of Joint Council 52 of the Teamsters Union, handed the organization a $100 000 cheque. Variety Village is devoted to helping young people overcome disabilities and other barriers. Variety also offers integrated sports and aptitudes programmes for children.

“Building up Canada starts with being involved in our communities,” said Randy Doner. “Being a Teamster is more than negotiating collective agreements and taking care of grievances. It’s also about lending a hand to those in need, especially children.”

Mr. Doner wishes to thank the team of volunteers, Teamsters representatives, friends and corporate sponsors who made this tournament another great success.

“Without them nothing is possible,” added the union leader. “We all share the same spirit because there is no greater gift than to help children.”

The Ontario Teamsters Invitational will be back next year! Check out TeamstersVarietyGolf.com for more information.

The Teamsters represents 120 000 members in Canada in all industries. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.

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Information:

Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Public Relations
Telephone: 450-682-5521
Cell: 514-609-5101
Email: slacroix@teamsters.ca

Visitors will learn the benefits of joining the Teamsters Union

Laval, June 9 2015 – For the first time ever, Quebec’s Immigration Fair (Salon de l’immigration et de l’intégration au Québec) is playing host to the Teamsters Union. Teamsters Canada will have a booth at the Fair to show newcomers the point of having a union and the services we offer.

François Laporte, the President of Teamsters Canada, gave an interview (French only) to the event’s organisers. He sheds light on the steps to join a union and explains how Teamsters Canada works.

“I’m happy to see newcomers to Canada welcomed by so many organizations and companies,” said the Union leader. “I’d like to thank the Fair’s organizers for this chance to raise awareness about the important role Unions play in our society.”

Adapting to a new country isn’t easy. Immigrants are often easy prey on the job market, usually because of cultural or linguistic barriers. Sometimes, they simply don’t know their rights as workers.

Visitors will be able to fill out a questionnaire to figure out what they have to earn in relation to the lifestyle they desire.

The Union representatives at the Fair will give out information about workers’ rights, the advantages of joining a union, the resources we put at their availability, as well as Teamsters Canada’s different activities and campaigns.

“A decent wage, benefits, and a pension plan. Those are three things workers and their families need for a better future,” concluded the President of Teamsters Canada. “Our Union has been here since 1906. We have the skills and experience needed to give workers a better future.”

This fourth edition of the Quebec Immigration Fair will take place at the Montreal Convention Centre (Place d’Armes metro station). Admission is free. Other than Teamsters Canada, almost 200 professionals will be present to answer a wide range questions about looking for a job, training, entrepreneurship, networking, housing, immigration policy, and more.

The Teamsters represents 120,000 members in Canada in all industries. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.

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Information:

Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Public Relations
Telephone: 450 682-5521
Cell: 514 609-5101
Email: slacroix@teamsters.ca

Teamsters have several improvements on wages, pension as well as health and welfare.

Laval, June 8, 2015 — The workers of GardaWorld Cash Services affiliated with the Teamsters Union ratified a new collective agreement on June 4th. The ballots counted today indicate that 93,5% of the members were in favour of the employer’s proposal.

The workers are getting 3,5% wage improvements for the first two years of the contract, better health and welfare benefits, and improvements to their pension plan. They also join the Teamsters Prairie Provinces Pension Plan and the Prairie Teamsters Health & Welfare Plan.

Teamsters Local Unions represent over 450 workers at GardaWorld Cash Services in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The contract was due on June 1st.

« Both parties worked diligently to improve the workers’ conditions, said Lance Wallace, Assistant Director of the Armoured Car Division of Teamsters Canada. The bargaining committee did a hell of a job and they deserve to be congratulated! »

The new collective agreement will end in 2018.

The Teamsters represents 120 000 members in Canada in all industries. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.

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Information:

Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Public Relations
Telephone: 450 682-5521
Cell: 514 609-5101
Email: slacroix@teamsters.ca

Toronto, May 28, 2015 — Don Ashley, the National Legislative Director for the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), participated yesterday in a town hall meeting organized by Rail Safety First in Toronto. In addition to Mr. Ashley, the guests were Cynthia Quaterman, who served as an administrator at the US Department of Transportation, and Dr. Mark Winfield, an associate professor of the Faculty of Environmental Studies at the York University.

Rail Safety First is a coalition of citizens across Canada working to increase government regulations and enforcement in the rail industry.

« Rail Safety First and our goals are similar, explained Don Ashley. We’ve made representations to the Federal government and we’ve launched campaigns about rail safety to raise awareness in the population. »

« So it was very important to us to be part of this conference. »

Over the years, the TCRC warned the government that trains are too long, the cars too heavy, and the locomotives too fast. Furthermore, the Teamsters Union has continually worked with all the stakeholders in this matter to put an end to the self-regulation in this industry. Indeed, only one inspector covers every 450 kilometres of tracks in Canada

« Applying stricter standards, putting in place better emergency response plans along train routes and encouraging rail companies to improve safety are just a start, added the union leader. More importantly Transport Canada has to hire more inspectors to increase the surveillance of the rail system. »

On the other hand, fatigue management was also a major concern for the union in the last rounds of negotiations with the rail carriers.

« We went on strike at Canadian Pacific (CP) earlier in 2015 because it is crucial to implement broad based and effective fatigue countermeasures to protect the rail workers and the population, concluded the union leader. Our members have to be properly rested in order to safely operate long heavy trains. »

The Teamsters represents 120 000 members in Canada in all industries. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.

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Information:

Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Public Relations
Telephone: 450 682-5521
Cell: 514 609-5101
Email: slacroix@teamsters.ca

Laval, May 8, 2015 — François Laporte officially begins his tenure today as president of Teamsters Canada. He has been sworn in by International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) General President James P. Hoffa. General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall and the other members of the IBT General Executive Board were also at the ceremony.

François Laporte joined the Teamsters Union in 1985. He began at Local Union 1999 and Joint Council 91 and then went on to hold various positions, including communications specialist, organizer, director of government affairs, and business agent. He also sat on the executive boards of Local Unions 931, 1998 and 106. Until his election, he served as assistant to outgoing President Robert Bouvier.

Mr. Bouvier is taking a well-deserved retirement after more than 40 years of union labour activism, including 15 at the helm of Teamsters Canada.

“I would like to thank Robert for his leadership and invaluable contribution to our organization,” said François Laporte. “I will never forget this impressive man with whom I carried out many campaigns.”

“One need only think of the driving hours issue in the trucking industry, the union merger in the rail industry or the importance he placed on training stewards and members to get a sense of the legacy he is leaving behind. He showed us the way, now it’s up to us to go further still.”

To this end, François Laporte plans to make sure that Teamsters Canada communicates more efficiently with its members and the public, mainly through social networks and the media. He would also like to work with members, local union officers and Teamsters Canada’s executive board to set up brainstorming exercises.

“Collective agreements that are good for workers and their families, members involvement in charity work and our efforts to encourage the governments to introduce progressive laws regarding mental health in the workplace are just a few examples of our organization’s contribution to society,” explains the union leader. “We are agents of positive change and we are helping build a more prosperous and just society.”

The Teamsters Union represents 120,000 members in Canada in all trades. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.

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Information:

Stéphane Lacroix, Communications Director
Mobile: 514 609-5101
Email: slacroix@teamsters.ca

Laval, April 30, 2015 — Teamsters Canada is inviting its members to help the earthquake victims in Nepal. Like the affiliated unions of the Canadian Labour Congress, the Teamsters union has made a donation to Oxfam for the earthquake victims in Nepal.

According to current assessments, the earthquake that struck Nepal and its people on April 25 has left more than 5,000 people dead. The capital, Kathmandu, as well as dozens of villages, were devastated. The United Nations reports some 1.4 million Nepalese are in need of food, and many are without water and shelter.

In short, there will be a lot to do in the months and years to come in order to rebuild the country.

“This is a major natural disaster and we must contribute to international aid efforts that have been set up for the Nepalese people, as well as for the Canadians that are in Nepal right now,” said Teamsters Canada President, François Laporte. “I am calling upon our 115,000 members to contribute to humanitarian relief efforts for Nepal. Every donation – even the smallest one – counts.”

The Teamsters represents 115,000 members in Canada in all trades. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.

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For more information:
Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Communications
Cell: 514 609-5101
E-mail: slacroix@teamsters.ca

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