Teamsters Canada participates in a town hall meeting on rail safety

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

Facebook.com/TeamstersCanada ▪ Twitter.com/TeamstersCanada ▪ teamsters.ca

Laval, April 27, 2015 – Tomorrow is the National Day of Mourning for the workers killed or injured on the job.

With the help of its members, shop stewards, union representatives, the local unions of the Teamsters Union continues to ensure – and improve – occupational health and safety.

The fact is that 900 Canadians died on the job in 2013 alone. These unsettling statistics hide a worrisome fact: the actual number of work-related deaths is difficult to determine because workers die each year from unreported accidents.

Plus, who doesn’t know a friend, a family member or a co-worker who couldn’t afford to take time off to recover from an injury? And that’s not counting the temporary foreign workers who get injured on the job and choose to keep it quiet.

The upcoming fall elections will be an opportunity for Teamsters Canada to remind all MPs and the next federal government that occupational health and safety laws must be applied, including the Criminal Code, if need be.

“Regardless of whether they’re unionized, workers must be able to work in a safe and healthy environment,” explains Teamsters Canada President François Laporte. “The consequences of occupational illnesses, injuries and deaths are immense.”

Mental health: another major issue

Mental health rarely comes up in discussions about occupational injuries or deaths but is, in fact, a serious issue.

Teamsters Local Union 362 has come up with an initiative to raise awareness on this very topic. The campaign seeks to mobilize public figures, decision makers and politicians to make mental health support mandatory in all workplaces.

Research shows that mental health indirectly affects all Canadians at some time, through a family member, a friend or a colleague.

According to Statistics Canada, it is estimated that presenteeism costs Canadian businesses between $15 billion and $25 billion a year. Presenteeism occurs when employees are physically present, but due to an unaddressed physical or emotional issue, are distracted to the point of reduced productivity.

One out of five Canadians will experience a mental health problem during their lifetime,” says François Laporte.  “I think we should all be able to talk about this openly without fear of reprisal or judgment from our employers.”

But for that to happen, we need federal, provincial and territorial laws to allow people struggling with mental health issues to get the help and rest they need to get better.”

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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Information:

Stéphane Lacroix, Communications Department
Cell: 514 609-5101
Email: slacroix@teamsters.ca

Facebook.com/TeamstersCanada ▪ Twitter.com/TeamstersCanada ▪ Teamsters.ca

CN conductor dead after accident at the Saskatoon rail yard. Source of the picture: Global News
CN conductor dead after accident at the Saskatoon rail yard. Source of the picture: Global News

Ottawa, April 10th, 2014 – The Teamsters Union, which represents Canadian National (CN) conductors, would like to express its sincere condolences to the family of Kevin Timmerman who lost his life after an incident at a rail yard in Saskatoon on Thursday night.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the conductor who died in this tragic accident,” declared Teamsters Canada Rail Conference Vice President, Roland Hackl.

According to the Globe & Mail, CN’s safety record has come under the scrutiny of the federal government after the two recent fiery derailments in Northern Ontario.

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) said it is investigating the accident, but had few details to share for the moment.

“We won’t make any comments before the investigation is over,” said the union leader.

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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Information:

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

Facebook.com/TeamstersCanada ▪ Twitter.com/TeamstersCanada ▪ teamsters.ca

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Laval, March 19, 2015 — Based on the results received, François Laporte of Local Union 106 has been elected president of Teamsters Canada, replacing Robert Bouvier, who held the position for the last 15 years.

François Laporte joined the Teamsters in 1985, first with local 1999 and Joint Council 91, and went on to hold different positions including Communication Specialist, Organizer, Director of Government Affairs and Union Representative. At the regional level, he gained comprehensive union experience while sitting on the Executive Board of Teamsters Local Unions 931, 1998 and 106, and while serving as Union Representative for Peerless Clothing employees.

He was also actively involved in the recruitment of workers from Arcon Canada, Purolator and UPS. He also led the unionization of 2,500 employees at Peerless Clothing and was instrumental in seeing 10,000 rail workers swell the ranks of the Teamsters. Since 2000, Mr. Laporte has served as the Assistant to the President of Teamsters Canada.

“I look forward to taking up this new and exciting challenge,” said François Laporte. “The Teamsters Union is a powerful organization that will continue to have a positive impact on its members and all Canadian workers.”

Some 115,000 ballots were mailed on February 16 and members had until March 18 to vote.

“Democracy has spoken,” said outgoing President Robert Bouvier. “I’m confident that brother Laporte will take our organization to new heights.”

The union leader will step down in May after a long and successful labour career spanning four decades.

Robert Bouvier worked for Labatt Brewery in Montreal before joining Local Union 1999 as a business agent. He later became its secretary-treasurer and was elected president of Teamsters Canada by acclamation in 2000.

The election of the new president was held under the supervision of Collins Barrow LLP, who will confirm the details of the results very soon.

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

Facebook.com/TeamstersCanada ▪ Twitter.com/TeamstersCanada ▪ Teamsters.ca

Halifax, March 19, 2015 – Eurest’s 26 workers responsible for maintenance at Robert Stanfield Airport (YHZ) are resorting to pressure tactics 11 months after their collective agreement expired. The points at issue are both various and troubling: no benefits, low pay, unfair treatment by the employer, and others.

“These workers clean toilets and don’t even have group insurance. So if they get sick, they can’t get reimbursed for any prescription drugs they may have to take,” said Local Union 927 president Rob Beairsto. “Cleaning toilets is dangerous work when you consider that our members are exposed to germs on a daily basis.”

Unlike other airport workers, maintenance workers are paid so little that they sometimes have to rely on food banks to make ends meet.

“I’m speechless. This situation is simply appalling. How can we build a just and prosperous society when workers who keep a major airport clean aren’t paid enough to feed themselves or put a roof over their heads?”

Eurest’s workers have voted in favour of a strike, but they have the choice of using pressure tactics first to make their employer aware of their tough situation. As such, members of other unions have expressed solidarity with their brothers and sisters at Robert Stanfield Airport.

“I’d like to thank the members of Unifor, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the Canadian Labour Congress for their support,” continued the president of Local Union 927.

The maintenance contract for Robert Stanfield Airport was originally awarded to Hurley, which was acquired by Compass Group and then purchased by Eurest.

“In the interest of fairness and public health, the airport’s management shouldn’t let this situation drag. It’s also a question of common sense,” concludes Mr. Beairsto. “More rallies are planned and we hope the Halifax International Airport Authority will listen to us.”

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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Information:
Stéphane Lacroix, Communications Department
Telephone: 450 682-5521
Email: slacroix@teamsters.ca

Ottawa, March 12, 2015 — The Teamsters Union once again raises concerns following the third train derailment in Northern Ontario in less than a month.

For years, the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC)—which represents more than 12,000 railway workers—have continually stressed the need for more inspectors to be hired to see to the optimal operation of the equipment and the integrity of the tracks.

Teamsters Canada launched a campaign last fall to raise public awareness of its concerns. It is estimated that each inspector is responsible for 450 kilometers of track, the equivalent of the distance between Toronto and Montreal.

“In our opinion, the trains are too long, too heavy and travel too fast, for the present infrastructure under certain environmental conditions” points out Doug Finnson, president of the TCRC. “Could more inspectors on the track have prevented this disaster?”

The Transportation Safety Board is investigating and will unveil its findings in the coming months. According to TSB statistics, 102 derailments occurred in 2014 alone.

“It goes without saying that we cannot comment further before the TSB tables its report,” carefully adds the union leader. “However, may I point out that this is the second time that a train derails on a bridge in less than a year.“

This Canadian National (CN) train was carrying crude oil. It derailed three kilometers to the west of the small town of Gogama in Ontario and caught on fire. Roads were closed and tank cars fell into the river.

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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Information:

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

Facebook.com/TeamstersCanada ▪ Twitter.com/TeamstersCanada ▪ Teamsters.ca

An election by secret ballot is being conducted among the eligible voters of Teamsters Canada to fill the Office of PRESIDENT OF TEAMSTERS CANADA International Vice-President.

Ballots will be mailed on February 16th. If you have not received your ballot by February 23, 2015, or if you have lost or destroyed it, communicate with Erica D. Clapp at 1-613-768-7546, toll free at 1-844-768-7546 or by email (PREFERABLY) at edclapp@collinsbarrow.com and give her your name, current address, preceding address, the name of your employer, the name of the affiliate that you belong to (either a Local Union or the TCRC or the TCRCMWED) and your phone number. She will then proceed to make verifications and send you a new ballot if justified.

No replacement or new ballot will be mailed after March 11, 2015.

To be counted, your vote must be returned to the post office box at the latest on March 18th at 9:29 am.

Erica D. Clapp
Election Supervisor

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Laval, February 26th, 2015 – In January 2015, a delegation comprised of representatives from Teamsters Canada, the Quebec Federation of Labour (QFL) and the Canadian Labour Congress took part in a mission to Haiti. This mission was intended to help workers of the Brasserie Nationale d’Haïti, la BRANA (Heineken), consolidate their forces and demand better life and work conditions.

One of the mission goals was to improve the operational capacity of SYTBRANA, the Workers Union of BRAÑA (Heineken). In addition, with international solidarity, the delegation demonstrated actual support to workers.

The delegation facilitated training sessions and shared tools with SYTBRANA members during their visit to Haiti.

“When we help workers in other countries improve their conditions, we work to protect jobs in Canada”, explained Robert Bouvier, president of Teamsters Canada.

BRANA (Heineken) is the most important brewer in Haiti and a major economic player in the country. Despite the commercial success of the brewery, union activity is threatened, as well as job security due to outsourcing contracts.

In fact, the Confédération des Travailleurs et Travailleuses des Secteurs Public et Privé (CTSP), one of the most important trade unions in Haiti, called for international support in order to assist SYTBRANA in defeating those unacceptable management actions.

In response, Teamsters Canada brought together an expansive coalition, including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and the International Union of Food Workers’ Associations (IUFWA). These organizations represent all brewery unions in the world, including those from Heineken. They have decided to ban together to form a coalition in order to support unionization and comply with human rights in Haiti.

“We share common values and goals with Haitian workers”, noted the president of Teamsters Canada. “SYTBRANA faces the same challenges as Teamsters, despite the distance and different culture.”

In closing, note that almost one worker in five in the Canadian Brewing Industry is a member of the Teamsters Union. This is particularly the case of Molson and Labatt employees.

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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Information:

Nathalie Mayer, Communications Department
Telephone: 450 682-5521
Email: nmayer@teamsters.ca

Facebook.com/TeamstersCanada ? Twitter.com/TeamstersCanada ? Teamsters.ca