Teamsters Condemn Gutless, Cowardly Armoured Car Robbery in Edmonton

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

Union had been attempting to negotiate in good faith for six months…

Toronto, December 7, 2018 – Close to 120 workers at Satin Flooring in North York, Ontario, were locked out today at 12:01 a.m. The company is attempting to cut hourly wages from $19 to $16 and to force workers to pay up to $200 more out of pocket every month for benefits.

“Satin Flooring is putting 120 people out of work, just in time for Christmas,” said the president of Teamsters Canada, François Laporte. “Their greed and carelessness, in this season of giving and solidarity, is sickening.”

Talks between the employer and Teamsters Local Union 847 have been ongoing for six months. While the union was in a legal position to strike, it had assured the company that it was willing to remain at the bargaining table for as long as it took.

To help the company save money, the union suggested offering buyouts and compensation packages for workers, many of whom are older and open to being bridged to retirement. The company turned down the idea, opting instead to fight for lower wages and working conditions.

“We’ve been trying to negotiate in good faith for six months, to work with Satin Flooring and bring creative solutions to the table. But we’re dealing with modern-day scrooges who absolutely want to cut wages and benefits,” explained Fernanda Santos, President of Teamsters Local Union 847.

On top of cutting wages and benefits, the company is also seeking to cut vacations and to suspend pension contributions for three years.

Satin Flooring was founded in 1922 and changed ownership five years ago. This is the first labour dispute since its workers joined the Teamsters some 30 years ago. The previous three-year collective agreement expired on April 30.

Picket lines have been set up at 15 Fenmar Drive in North York, ON.

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

Accident marks rail industry’s fifth workplace fatality in thirteen months…

Edmundston, NB, December 4, 2018 – A Canadian National (CN) worker died following a workplace accident this morning in Edmundston, New Brunswick. The victim was a 33-year-old father of two and a member of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC). He started working at CN in September as a conductor/foreman trainee. His name is not being released at this time.

“Our brother was a proud father of two who loved his new job and talked about it all the time. We are shocked and saddened by his passing,” said the president of Teamsters Canada, François Laporte. “On behalf of our over 125,000 members, I would like to express our sincerest condolences to his loved ones and co-workers.”

This marks the rail industry’s fifth workplace fatality in thirteen months. While the investigations surrounding these most recent fatalities are still ongoing, the industry as a whole needs to work together to end these senseless tragedies.

Teamsters Canada has learned that the Transportation Safety Board is deploying a team of investigators to the scene of the accident. The union will cooperate fully with the investigation and monitor its progress closely. Once the facts have been determined, the union will sit down with the company and federal officials to address the issue more broadly.

“Our hearts go out to our brother’s friends and family. We promise them, and our members, that we will never stop fighting to improve rail safety in this country,” said Doug Finnson, president of the TCRC, which represents 12,000 rail workers nationally.

Out of respect for the victim’s family, and because of the ongoing investigation, the Teamsters will release no further details about the accident at this time.

Teamsters represent close to 125,000 workers across Canada, including over 12,000 rail workers. 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

Canada made few real gains in the new trade deal…

Laval, QC, November 30, 2018 – Today’s signing of the new NAFTA offers Teamsters little reason to celebrate. American tariffs on steel and aluminum continue to actively harm hundreds of the union’s members. Dairy workers also remain under a cloud of uncertainty; their compensation package is being negotiated in secret between the federal government and big business.

“Canada’s few real gains, like the elimination of the old Chapter 11 and a new labour chapter, won’t immediately affect our members in their day-to-day lives,” explained the president of Teamsters Canada, François Laporte. “U.S. tariffs are still costing us jobs, and we still don’t know what kind of compensation dairy workers will be entitled to. Ottawa has inexplicably chosen not to consult us on the issue.”

Teamsters Canada represents approximately 1,500 workers who make steel or aluminum products, and approximately 5,000 workers in the dairy industry.

Few real gains for Canada

On paper, the NAFTA 2.0 labour chapter is superior to the original NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. However, it’s enforceability and capacity to dissuade companies from moving to low-wage jurisdictions remain to be tested.

Eliminating the old Chapter 11 and its investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism is also good for the country. Under ISDS, Canada became the most sued NAFTA nation because of its comparatively stronger environmental and public health regulations.

It is unclear if Canadian negotiators managed to make any other gains. In their fight to preserve as much of the status quo as possible, compromises were made on everything from dairy to prescription drugs to B.C. wines. This was meant to provide stability for workers and businesses who rely on Canada U.S. trade.

“Canada made big concessions to secure access to the U.S. market without solving the issue of steel and aluminum tariffs. That implicitly leaves the door open to President Trump to impose national security tariffs on whatever he wants. So at the end of the day, I’m not sure we secured as much access to the U.S. market as we think we did,” concluded Laporte.

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

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Calgary, November 22, 2018 – A train conductor employed by Canadian Pacific (CP) died as the result of a workplace accident on Monday afternoon. The accident occurred on the CP rail tracks adjacent to 9th avenue in downtown Calgary. His union, the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), has been advised that a Transport Canada investigation is ongoing.

“As we prepare to enter the holiday season, I am sad to report that one of our Teamster families will be in mourning,” said François Laporte, President of Teamsters Canada, the largest transportation union in the country. “On behalf of our over 125,000 members, I would like to express my sincerest condolences to the victim’s loved ones and co-workers.”

Teamsters will cooperate fully with Transport Canada and monitor the investigation’s progress closely. Once the facts have been determined, the union will sit down with CP and Transport Canada to address the issue more broadly.

“While the loss of a fellow railroader is always tragic, it seems even more so at this time of year,” said Doug Finnson, President of the TCRC. “Over the holidays, I hope we will all keep a place in our hearts to remember our deceased co-worker.”

“Once again, we remind everyone to stay vigilant and aware of their surroundings at all times while at work,” added Finnson.

Out of respect for the victim’s loved ones, and because of the ongoing investigation, the Teamsters will make no further comment at this time.

Teamsters represent close to 125,000 workers across Canada, including over 12,000 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

Teamster representatives pictured with MPs. From left to right: Phil Benson (Lobbyist, Teamsters Canda), Greg Furgus (Liberal, Hull—Aylmer), Stéphane Lacoste (General Counsel, Teamsters Canada), Wayne Easter (Liberal, Malpeque).

 
The Government of Canada announced new measures to better protect federally-regulated workers. The bill includes new paid emergency leave days, scheduling rights, equal pay for temps as well as casual workers, and much more.

Stéphane Lacoste, General Counsel for Teamsters Canada, and Phil Benson, Lobbyist for Teamsters Canada, appeared in Parliament earlier this month to testify on the proposed changes.

Watch their testimony here:

Standing Committee on Finance, Bill C-86 Budget Implementation Act Part 2, November 8, 2018. This video is available without translation.

 
The changes are a step in the right direction. For example, measures dealing with medical and nursing leave, and provisions giving workers a right to refuse overtime to take care of family responsibilities, are all welcome.

Contract flipping was also addressed. The term refers to a practice by employers of awarding contracts to different service providers every few years. Workers must then re-apply for their jobs, often losing any wage increases and benefits earned under their previous employer.

The issue was only partially dealt with in the new bill for non-union employees. Under the new law, workers rehired by the new employer will have to retain some of their conditions of employment.

Federal Labour Minister Patty Hajdu has already announced that she intends to go further in tackling the issue of contract flipping at airports, which particularly affects Teamster members. Our union will take part in the consultations and demand regulations to preserve workers’ jobs, wages, working conditions, and union representation when a contract flips at an airport.

Finally, Teamsters Canada addressed provisions of the pay equity legislation that were inadequate to ensure equal pay for women performing work of equal value. We called for the deletion of clauses that would leave employers in control of the pay equity process and allow them to evade compliance through claiming the needs of business or through exemptions.

Overall, these changes are positive, and the Teamsters will continue pushing the government to go further to better protect workers.

Sisters and Brothers,

It is with tremendous sadness that I share with you the recent passing of Brother George Hucker, retired Locomotive Engineer and former International Vice President and National Legislative Representative for the International Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (IBLE) and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC).

Brother Hucker had worked his way through the BLE officer ranks beginning in Thunder Bay as a Local Chair, then moving to Calgary as General Chair for Locomotive Engineers CP West. His success as a General Chair led to his election as International Vice President and National Legislative Representative for the IBLE and, due to his strong work ethic and dedication, he was re-elected numerous times.

Coinciding with the historical merger between the IBLE and the Teamsters, and the formation of the TCRC in Canada as part of Teamsters Canada, Brother Hucker had the honour of being the very first TCRC Vice President and National Legislative Director and was instrumental in the formation of the TCRC and the successful merging of the railway running trades crafts throughout Canada. Brother Hucker completed his long and exemplary union career at the inaugural TCRC 2006 Convention and retired at that time.

It is through the hard work of Brother Hucker that so many of our union sisters and brothers received the highest level of representation, and we all are a little bit better off because of the work of Brother Hucker and his dedication to the union and to the union membership. George made many, many friends and was not afraid to be confrontational if that is what it took to get the job done for the members. His unique slang and his epic stories are legendary and many of our current officers remember “Hucker stories” and recall how unique George was in so many ways. There will never be another George Hucker, and collectively we wish to commemorate his contribution to so many union members’ lives, and together mourn his passing.

We express our deepest sympathies to the Hucker family at this time of sadness.

At this time we are not aware of funeral service details, however we will share them as soon as they become available.

Sincerely and in solidarity,

Douglas Finnson
TCRC President

Laval, QC, November 4, 2018 – Teamsters have made a historic breakthrough by organizing drivers at the parcel delivery company Dicom in Drummondville. The application for union certification was submitted on October 31, 2018, by Teamsters Local Union 931.

After an organizing blitz, the fifteen drivers chose to be represented by a union for the first time in the company’s history.

“The drivers weren’t satisfied with their working conditions and that’s why they joined our union,” said Gerry Boutin, president of Local Union 931. “I would like to welcome them into the big Teamster family.”

Teamsters are the dominant force in the package delivery industry in North America.

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 :

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

Saturday’s shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, which killed eleven people and injured six others, left me saddened and horrified.

Hundreds of our members are of the Jewish faith. Our union stands in solidarity with them and all those who feel affected by this act of pure evil.

On behalf of Canada’s Teamsters, I would like to convey our sincerest condolences to the victims’ families and loved ones. I would also like to thank first responders and wish a speedy recovery to those injured.

Fraternally,

François Laporte
President
Teamsters Canada

Retirement home workers are strong, devoted and compassionate people with often-difficult jobs.

Working in senior care facilities can be challenging. Homes are often understaffed, making the job stressful and making it difficult to give residents the care they deserve. Sometimes, workers are also victims of violence or harassment from the very people they’re trying to help.

People who care for the elderly are working-class heroes. They deserve support in the workplace, fair wages, and all the respect in the world. That’s why workers at the Victoria Street Manor in Amherstburg, ON filed to join Teamsters Local Union 879 last Thursday.

The new members, which include duty nurses, direct support and maintenance workers, wanted to rally together to make positive changes in their workplace.

Their hours were regularly cut for no reason, paychecks were often late or incorrect, and many workers hadn’t seen a raise in years until the Ontario minimum wage increased in 2018. That’s no way to treat people caring for our elderly parents and grandparents.

The staff holds a deep respect and admiration for the residents under their care. It’s time their employer showed some appreciation – especially since improving working conditions in retirement homes usually leads to improved conditions for residents.

The staff will now have to work to get a first collective agreement. They’ll have to show the same solidarity they did when they voted to join the Teamsters.

Teamsters represent retirement home workers at both private and public-sector facilities across the country. Interested in joining the Teamsters? Click here to get in touch with an organizer. All information will be handled confidentially.