Tragedy in Halifax

The death of seven children in a Halifax house fire has shocked and saddened our union.

My thoughts are with the young victims’ family and loved ones. No parent should ever have to bury their children.

I pray that the two adult survivors of the fire, who are still in hospital and who are presumed to be the victims’ parents, will one find the strength to recover.

On behalf of our union’s 125,000 members, I would like to express our sincerest condolences to everyone affected by these events.

In sympathy and solidarity,

François Laporte
President
Teamsters Canada

Calgary, February 8, 2018 – Teamsters are applauding Transport Canada’s order that all railway companies must use handbrakes when trains are stopped on a mountain grade after an emergency use of their air brakes. The order comes after a deadly train derailment between Field, BC and Calgary which cost the lives of three railroaders, all members of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC).

“Transport Canada’s order on the use of handbrakes is a clear demonstration of their commitment to rail safety,” said Don Ashley, National Legislative Director of the TCRC. “We can’t be taking any chances until the exact causes of this tragic derailment are determined. You can’t put a price tag on rail safety – it’s a matter of life and death.”

Teamsters represent close to 125,000 workers across Canada, including over 16,000 workers in the rail industry. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.

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Media requests:

Christopher Monette
Director of Public Affairs
Teamsters Canada
Cell: 514-226-6002
cmonette@teamsters.ca

Accident marks eight deaths in the rail industry in a little over one year…

Calgary, AB, February 4, 2019 – Three members of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) have died as a result of a major Canadian Pacific (CP) train derailment. The accident occurred at approximately 1 a.m. Mountain Time between Field, BC and Calgary, AB.

Details are sparse at this stage. Teamsters have learned that the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has deployed a team of investigators to the crash. The union will cooperate fully with the TSB and CP, monitoring the investigation’s progress closely.

“Our hearts and our deepest condolences go out to the victims’ loved ones and co-workers. Our union and its 125,000 members stand with them in mourning,” said François Laporte, president of Teamsters Canada.

The three victims are believed to be a locomotive engineer, a conductor, and a conductor trainee. Their names have not yet been released.

Eight railway workers have now died in Canada since November 2017. Investigations into these accidents are still ongoing.

“Today, our focus is on this accident as well as the victims’ friends and families. But moving forward, the government and the rail industry will have to recognize that something is wrong and change is needed. Eight workplace fatalities in a little over a year is not something that should be expected or accepted,” said Lyndon Isaack, President of the TCRC.

Teamsters represent close to 125,000 workers across Canada, including over 16,000 workers in the rail industry. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.

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Media requests:

Christopher Monette
Director of Public Affairs
Teamsters Canada
Cell: 514-226-6002
cmonette@teamsters.ca

Laval, QC, January 25, 2019 — Reports that Téo taxi will be seeking bankruptcy protection has raised concerns and worries among drivers at the company, who are members of Teamsters Local Union 1999.

Representatives from the Teamsters Union have yet to reach managers at Téo taxi. They will continue attempting to reach them in hopes of learning more about the company’s situation and what the next steps are.

Contrary to what some commentators are saying on the radio, our members are not responsible for this situation. We think mismanagement is what led to this, and the fact there was a high turnover at senior levels of the company.

Many companies are able to restructure and move forward after facing difficulties. We hope the company will be able to meet the challenges ahead of it and make the necessary arrangements with their creditors.

Teamsters represent 125,000 members in Canada in all industries, including 35,000 workers in Québec. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, represents 1.4 million workers in North America.

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Media requests:

Stéphane Lacroix
Cell : 514 609-5101
slacroix@teamsters.ca

Laval, QC, January 24, 2019 – An annual meeting of transport ministers ended earlier this week in Montréal on a joint proposal to implement a basic national training standard for truck drivers by 2020. The Teamsters Union supports the move as it stands to improve road safety.

“We’ve been pushing for better training standards for truck drivers for a long time,” said the president of Teamsters Canada, Francois Laporte. “Now we need to make sure the new training program is properly developed so new drivers are prepared to hit the road.”

Teamsters are an active lobby group when it comes to the trucking industry. The union regularly partakes in federal and provincial consultations as well as Canadian Council of Motor Transportation Administrators (CCMTA) meetings.

“We have expertise when it comes to trucking. We want to help governments and the industry set up these new training standards, and we’re ready to meet them to get things going as soon as possible,” said John McCann, National Director of the Teamsters Canada Freight Division.

Teamsters represent 125,000 members in Canada in all industries, including 15,000 long-haul truck drivers. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, represents 1.4 million workers in North America.

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Media requests:

Christopher Monette
Director of Public Affairs
Teamsters Canada
Cell: 514-226-6002
cmonette@teamsters.ca

Laval, QC, January 22, 2019 – Teamsters are disappointed that the new food guide minimizes the role of milk products. Milk and dairy products can be a healthy part of any diet. Moreover, the evidence that went into the new food guide comes disproportionately from U.S. government dietary guidelines, which have been deemed to “lack scientific rigour” by the National Academies of Science.

“Nobody will convince me that dairy products can’t be part of a healthy diet,” said François Laporte, president of Teamsters Canada, a union representing 5,000 dairy workers and 125,000 workers overall in Canada. “The new food guide only shows how unreliable the government is when it comes to nutrition advice.”

According to Canadian Clinicians for Therapeutic Nutrition (CCTN), a not for profit group of Canadian physicians and health professionals, dairy products are often vilified due to their saturated fat content. But worldwide experts (including the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada) agree there is no evidence to back that up. The CCTN says that much research has been published recently showing that saturated fat is either neutral or beneficial to health.

Health Canada has itself recognized dairy products play a role in reducing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer. The evidence to that effect is just as strong, if not stronger, than it is for fruits and vegetables and other parts of a plant-based diet.

Finally, in making the new food guide, the Canadian government did not conduct a primary review of nutritional evidence, as Canadians rightfully deserve. The new food guide instead relies heavily on information from the U.S. government, which is very susceptible to lobbying from special interest groups

“If the government is going to issue guidelines minimizing milk, which could affect our health and the thousands of people employed in the dairy industry, I would at least expect that they be based on scientific evidence. That does not seem to be the case,” said Paul Barton, director of the Teamsters Canada Dairy Division.

Teamsters Canada represents 125,000 members in Canada in all industries, including 5,000 in the dairy industry. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.

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Media requests:

Christopher Monette
Director of Public Affairs
Teamsters Canada
Cell: 514-226-6002
cmonette@teamsters.ca

After a 42-day lockout lasting over the holidays, close to 120 workers at Satin Flooring in North York, Ontario, voted last Friday by a margin of 79% to ratify a new 3-year collective agreement and gradually return to work.

“This was a prolonged labour dispute at a company facing serious financial difficulties. Our members decided it is time to move forward and start healing,” said Fernanda Santos, President of Teamsters Local Union 847, which represents workers at the company. “We achieved the best possible deal, given that the company’s survival is at stake.”

“I would like to thank our members for their outstanding support, and especially recognize our stewards Sidhu, Andrew and AJ for remaining strong throughout everything,” she added.

Satin Flooring was founded in 1922 and changed ownership five years ago. The company filed for creditor protection in 2018.

Workers had been locked out since December 7, 2018. This was the first labour dispute at Satin Flooring since its workers joined the Teamsters over 30 years ago.

Teamsters represent 125,000 members in Canada in all industries. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, represents 1.4 million workers in North America.

Instead of trying to suppress wage growth, the Ontario Trucking Association should be looking at ways to give truckers a big raise…

Toronto, January 10, 2019 – Teamsters Canada, the country’s largest transportation union, is slamming the Ontario Trucking Association’s (OTA) proposal to bring in foreign workers to fill a shortage of drivers in the trucking industry. They should instead be focusing on significantly improving drivers’ wages and working conditions to attract more people to the profession.

“Trucking companies can’t move overseas, so they’re trying to bring cheap labour to Canada. This is nothing short of an attack on Canadian workers and the middle class,” said François Laporte, President of Teamsters Canada. “Instead of trying to suppress wage growth, the Ontario Trucking Association should be looking at ways to give truckers a big raise.”

In real dollars, non-union company drivers’ wages in Ontario have remained stagnant for close to 35 years. According to a study published in 2013 by the Conference Board of Canada, approximately 87% of productivity gains by the for-hire trucking industry since 1986 have flown through to customers in the form of lower prices.

The problem began when the federal government deregulated the trucking industry in the 1980s. Deregulation allowed just about anyone to open a trucking company, leading to a proliferation of fly-by-night transport operations.

These businesses chipped away at working conditions and profit margins in the industry by offering ridiculously fast delivery standards at unfairly low prices. The entire industry was forced to adjust; unreasonable delivery schedules, low wages and long hours became the norm for truckers.

Many non-union truckers must now work over 60 hours a week, usually alone and away from their families, to be lucky enough to earn $50,000.

Drivers paid by mileage will sometimes earn below the minimum wage when their routes force them to spend too much time in traffic, not moving.

Truck driver’s licences in Ontario (Class AZ) are also easy to obtain, as long as you have enough money. They cost upwards of $10,000 and most companies no longer help cover the expense. The province should act to reduce these costs and make trucking a skilled trade (which would give prospective truckers access to grants and other subsidies).

“Unless their workers are union members, transport companies usually got away with paying Canadian drivers ridiculously low wages. They’re only now realizing that they won’t be able to do that forever,” explained John McCann, National Director of the Teamsters Canada Freight Division. “But we are more than willing to sit down with the Ontario government to find solutions to these issues.”

Teamsters represent 125,000 members in Canada in all industries, including 15,000 semi-truck drivers. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, represents 1.4 million workers in North America.

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Media requests:
Christopher Monette
Director of Public Affairs
Teamsters Canada
Cell: 514-226-6002
cmonette@teamsters.ca

Sisters, brothers,

Christmas is upon us. It’s a favourite time of year for many, filled with celebration and cheer.

I would like to salute our members and all transportation workers, many of whom had to work long hours over past few weeks to meet the demands of their employers during this busy season. This is especially true for drivers and others at courier companies like UPS and Purolator, who every year perform small miracles in order to bring gifts and Christmas joy to people across this country.

As we gather with our families to celebrate Christmas, I would ask that we all keep in place in our hearts for our sisters and brothers at Satin Flooring in Toronto. Workers at the company, who are represented by Teamsters Local Union 847, will be spending Christmas locked out by their employer. The company is trying to force them to accept wage cuts and a more expensive health and welfare plan.

We will stand up to these bullies and grinches, because that’s what Teamsters do.

It is privilege and an honour to work for our members, to help defend them from unfair employers and fight to improve their quality of life.

A very Merry Christmas to all!

In celebration and solidarity,
Francois Laporte
President
Teamsters Canada

Union hopes two injured guards make speedy recovery…

Edmonton, December 13, 2018 – An armoured car robbery in Edmonton involving an improvised explosive device (IED) injured two GardaWorld guards at around 2 a.m. on Thursday. The workers, a man and a woman, are members of Teamsters Local Union 362. Both are currently in hospital.

“Two armoured car guards were ambushed in a gutless, cowardly robbery. We pray they make a swift recovery,” said the president of Teamsters Canada, François Laporte.

The use of an improvised explosive device represents a shift from normal armoured car robbery tactics, which usually involve knives or guns. The union is committed to working with management and the government to address the issue and work to improve the safety of armoured car crews.

“Armoured car crews are professionals who put their lives on the line every day, but they don’t expect to face IEDs when they go to work,” said Al Porter, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local Union 362, the union representing most armoured car guards in Alberta. “The two guards did everything right last night.”

Teamsters represent a little over 2,000 armoured car guards across the country.

Teamsters represent 125,000 members in Canada in all industries. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, represents 1.4 million workers in North America.

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Media requests:
Christopher Monette
Director of Public Affairs
Teamsters Canada
Cell: 514-226-6002
cmonette@teamsters.ca