Thirteen Truck Drivers Lose Their Jobs in Côte-Nord

Laval, October 19, 2017 – Thirteen workers at Kingsway, a subsidiary of Transforce, lost their jobs in Côte-Nord in the past few weeks. It seems the cause was an insufficient volume of merchandise for delivery.

The Teamsters Union, which represents a total of 5,500 truckers in Québec – including these 13 workers –, is currently examining its legal options to challenge these job losses.

“We believe that some jobs could have been saved and that’s why we’re now studying the possibility of filing grievances in this case,” explained Michel Héroux, President of Teamsters Local Union 1999. “As far as I’m concerned, these are ten jobs too many lost in a region that’s struggling to keep its workers and its industries.”

Last August, Kingsway sent the Teamsters two letters to announce its intention to close two terminals in October, one in Sept-Îles and the other in Baie-Comeau.

Up until a few months ago, TST Overland, another Transforce subsidiary, handled the merchandise deliveries, before it transferred the contracts to Kingsway. A few weeks ago, TST Overland decided to take the contracts back, and then it transferred them again, this time to a non-unionized trucking company.

As a general rule, non-unionized companies offer working conditions that are inferior to those enjoyed by unionized truck drivers.

“In theory, a non-unionized trucking company charges less for its deliveries because it pays its workers less,” said the union leader. “Subcontracting is great for a company’s employers and shareholders. Workers, however, lose their jobs, which has an impact on their communities and families.”

The Teamsters union represents close to 125,000 workers across Canada, including 5,500 truck drivers in Québec. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has 1.4 million members in North America.

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Information:
Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Cell: 514-609-5101
slacroix@teamsters.ca

Laval, October 16, 2017 — The Teamsters Union believes that the new minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, Isabelle Melançon, will have a lot on her plate in the coming months, particularly with the promotion of the capped brown bottle.

In fact, the Teamsters Union, which represents over 1,500 workers employed by the Molson and Labatt breweries, among others, estimates that hundreds of jobs in the brewing industry are threatened because of the move toward cans a few years ago.

In their constant search for ways of boosting market shares and profitability for their shareholders, major brewers have decided to follow the North American trend and offer more of their beer production in cans.

However, it is estimated that nearly one out of three cans ends up in a landfill site, which defeats the principles of sustainable development and exacts a toll not only on Canadian resources, but also on Quebec municipalities, which must often pay dearly to get rid of their waste.

The Consignation organization estimates that 440 million of the 1.8 billion containers marked for deposit are never recovered and therefore never recycled. These 440 million containers include cans, whereas 98% of brown bottles are recovered and reused.

“Landfilling 440 million unrecovered containers is very costly and causes pollution,” explained the President of Teamsters Union Local 1999, Michel Héroux. “And this situation will only get worse, since the government’s failure to renew the Recyc-Québec agreement, which expired in 2016, could tempt brewers to produce and sell beer only in cans.”

And yet, the advantages of brown bottles cannot be denied: they are recovered at a rate of 98% and reused up to 17 times each.

The Recyc-Québec agreement is dead

Brewers, soft drink manufacturers and retailers are all bound by the Recyc-Québec agreement, which underpins the deposit-refund system in place in Quebec since 1984. This agreement stems from the Act respecting the sale and distribution of beer and soft drinks in non-returnable containers.

Until last year, brewers paid penalties when they sold more than 37% of their beer production in cans. But is this still the case? In addition, the non-renewal of the agreement has created a regulatory void that may encourage brewers to produce only beer cans.

It should be pointed out that 55% of beer production in Quebec is sold in cans. Relatively unscathed by government fines, brewers continue to favour the aluminum container.

The recently announced construction of the new Molson plant, combined with the expiry of the Recyc-Québec agreement, could lead to the complete disappearance of brown beer bottles. As a result, close to 150 well-paying jobs would be eliminated upon the opening of the new plant. This is a conservative estimate – and we’re only talking bottling jobs.

“Cans are not environmentally friendly – period!” said the union leader point blank. “The government must demonstrate its commitment to protecting the environment by letting Quebecers know how it plans to promote the brown bottle and convince brewers that producing more cans is socially unacceptable.”

Teamsters leaders sent a letter to the new minister requesting a meeting to discuss the issue.

“It is important that we meet with the new minister as soon as possible, because Molson, for example, will soon be making decisions that will have an impact on jobs and the environment,” concluded Mr. Héroux. “We are prepared to work with her to find solutions benefitting all parties, provided they are profitable for the community and, of course, our members.”

The brown bottle in a nutshell:

  • 98% of brown bottles are recovered
  • They are recycled up to 17 times before being crushed, melted and resold
  • Brown bottle production requires between 15 and 25 assembly line workers
  • Capped brown bottles account for 45% of beer sales in Quebec and have been losing ground for several years
  • Unlike cans, they are manufactured and recycled in Quebec
  • The Recyc-Québec agreement, which was supposed to protect the brown bottle, expired a year ago
  • The Teamsters Union launched a campaign two years ago to promote the brown bottle. Go to http://mieuxenbouteille.ca to find out more.

The Teamsters Union represents the interests of nearly 125,000 members in Canada, including 45,000 in Quebec. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has 1.4 million members in North America.

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

International Union Sees Glass Half Full

Washington DC, October 16, 2017 – At the fourth round of NAFTA renegotiation, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters dispatched staff from both its U.S. and Canadian trade policy teams to track and influence the negotiations on behalf of several top Teamster priorities, including highway safety, dairy supply management and worker rights.

As the talks wind down tomorrow, both General President Jim Hoffa and Teamsters Canada President François Laporte express support for U.S. and Canadian negotiators on these and other issues. In particular, the Teamsters applaud the decision by the U.S. Trade Representative to fix the NAFTA cross-border trucking provision.

“The Teamsters and our allies among independent truckers and highway safety advocates will be pleased with the U.S. position on cross-border services,” Hoffa explained. “The USTR approach is a creative solution to this long-standing controversy. Without getting into the details of the proposed text, I am satisfied that the U.S. position will permit Congress and the Dept. of Transportation to safeguard the livelihoods of American truck drivers and the personal safety of American families on U.S. highways under NAFTA 2.0.”

Laporte said, “Minister Freeland and Canadian negotiators have a progressive, pro-worker influence on these talks. We hope that the other parties will commit to a strong and enforceable labour chapter, grounded in the initial Canadian proposal, which would serve as a model for protecting workers’ rights in future trade agreements.”

As North America’s dairy workers’ union, Teamsters have also been monitoring U.S. demands on dairy.

“The United States launched a violent assault on Canada’s dairy supply management system. Tens of thousands of jobs will be in jeopardy unless the Trudeau Government continues its defense of dairy workers and farmers,” Laporte said. “Don’t be surprised if

U.S. dairy proposals derail these NAFTA talks. An unstoppable force is meeting an immovable object.”

Finally, the Teamsters express cautious optimism that the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) apparatus will be dramatically reformed under a new NAFTA in a way that protects our governments and sovereignty from corporate litigation in secretive tribunals.

“Under the Ambassador’s leadership, the USTR staff has proposed a bold revision to the substantive scope and jurisdiction of these controversial corporate courts,” Hoffa said. “The reported ‘opt-in’ provision is a good step to fulfilling the USTR’s promise to remake the investment chapter.”

The Teamsters, along with many other civil society critics of ISDS in both Canada and the United States will be hard-pressed to support a final agreement that doesn’t limit future ISDS cases to claims of direct expropriation.

“We note with approval the corporate consternation from the chambers of commerce over this important and overdue reform,” Hoffa added. “The vehemence of the opposition from the employer community is an indication of just how unused they are to not getting their full agenda into trade deals, and it’s about time!”

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 contact:

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

Toronto, October 15, 2017 – The 80-day strike at Pearson Airport by members of Teamsters Local Union 419 is officially over. Swissport workers today voted 63% in favour of ratifying a new tentative agreement.

The new 3-year agreement contains minor improvements on wages, benefits and scheduling.

“I would like to thank our members, mediators and the bargaining committee for their time and efforts over the past months,” said Harjinder Badial, Vice-President of Local Union 419. “Teamsters will continue working to improve conditions at Swissport over the coming years.”

Swissport’s 700 ramp equipment operators, baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, and other ground crew workers at Pearson Airport had been on strike since July 27, 2017. They will go back to work on Wednesday.

Teamsters represent 125,000 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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Media requests:

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

Teamsters Say New North American Trade Deal Must Enforce Basic Labour Rights

(WASHINGTON) – Top Teamsters leaders joined with members of Congress and their fellow union allies from across North America today in laying out a path forward for a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as negotiators meet in the nation’s capital to discuss changes to the trade pact.

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa and Teamsters Canada President François Laporte, speaking at a North American labour summit sponsored by the AFL-CIO, agreed that workers’ rights must be front-and-center in the minds of those participating in the fourth round of renegotiations of NAFTA. A new deal, they said, must enforce basic labour rights, increase wages and living standards for working families throughout the continent.

In the U.S., Hoffa said that means pushing back on anti-union legislation that hampers workers’ ability to collectively bargain.

“Teamsters in the U.S. are mobilized against the spread of so-called ‘right-to-work’ laws in the states because they depress wages by undercutting union power,” he said. “I applaud the Canadians for making this a trade issue. We agree that these laws incentivize employers to relocate from Canadian provinces that don’t allow ‘free-riders’. I urge the Canadian negotiators to hold their ground on their progressive labour text and for the U.S. negotiators to take this issue seriously. ”

Laporte added, “Canadian Teamsters, like our brothers and sisters stateside, recognize that a new NAFTA must contain an ambitious new chapter that will protect worker rights and also be a model for future trade pacts. We appreciate the text tabled by our government, but we want to emphasize that worker rights and protections for indigenous people and women in the workforce are all very important, but that the enforcement is essential. New rights in a new NAFTA won’t be worth much without trade sanctions to back them up.”

A labour chapter as part of NAFTA 2.0 is essential to the fight. That’s why the Teamsters are participating in talks with the Steelworkers, the AFL-CIO and fellow unions from Canada and Mexico to ensure a successful NAFTA renegotiation.

Teamsters Canada represent 125,000 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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Media requests:
Christopher Monette
Director of Public Affairs
Teamsters Canada
Cell: 514-226-6002
cmonette@teamsters.ca

Laval, October 12, 2017 – The Quebec cabinet shuffle announced yesterday by Premier Philippe Couillard was closely watched by the Teamsters union, which congratulates André Fortin, Member of the National Assembly for Pontiac, on his appointment at the helm of the Ministère des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l’Électrification des transports [department of transportation, sustainable mobility and transportation electrification].

Because this department oversees the trucking industry – the backbone of Quebec’s economy – it is vitally important to the province.

According to the Teamsters, who represent some 5,500 truckers in Quebec, the trucking industry is at a crossroads, and a meeting with the new Minister of Transport as soon as possible is imperative.

The union’s leaders want to talk with the Minister about issues that weaken the industry, particularly truckers’ driving hours, highway infrastructure, highway safety statistics, and a possible rush-hour ban on trucks on the island of Montréal.

“For truckers, the highway is the office,” explained Jean Chartrand, President of Teamsters Local Union 106. “Every day, our members – and all truckers – deal with traffic jams and highway construction, in addition to being squeezed like lemons to deliver goods within deadlines that are often unreasonable. Their working conditions are very tough.”

“We want to meet Minister Fortin soon, so that we can talk about these issues and take remedial action that will benefit not just our members, but everyone on the road.”

While much of the trucking industry is federally regulated, certain issues fall under provincial and municipal jurisdiction, and the Teamsters want to meet with all industry stakeholders in the upcoming weeks and months.

“The cabinet shuffle opens the door to a new approach and new solutions,” concluded union leader Chartrand. “We look forward to meeting Minister Fortin, and we wish him every success in his new portfolio.”

The Teamsters Union represents the interests of 4,000 workers in the Quebec trucking industry. The Teamsters represent 125,000 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 Communications & Public Affairs (Quebec)
Cell: 514-609-5101
slacroix@teamsters.ca

Toronto, October 11, 2017 – Teamsters Local Union 419 and Swissport reached a tentative agreement during the night of Tuesday, October 10. The agreement must now be ratified by members at union meeting on Sunday, October 15.

The union’s bargaining committee recommends that members accept the agreement. The strike will continue until the tentative agreement is formally ratified.

Over 700 cabin cleaners, baggage handlers and other ground crew workers employed by Swissport at Pearson Airport have been on strike since late July.

Out of respect for its members, the union will not release details of the tentative agreement to the public until members have had a chance to review them first.

Teamsters represent 125,000 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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Media requests:

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

Laval, October 3, 2017 — Yesterday, Quebec food giant Metro confirmed the purchase of Jean Coutu Group pharmacies for $4.5 billion.

This announcement has a very dark side: 300 workers employed at Metro’s McMahon warehouse may lose their jobs by the middle of 2018 to employees of the Varennes warehouse owned by Jean Coutu Group. The McMahon warehouse supplies the Brunet pharmaceutical chain.

“We feel that our members should be transferred to the Varennes warehouse and will do everything in our power to make this happen,” explained the president of Teamsters Local Union 1999, Michel Héroux. “We refuse to stand idly by while these men and women lose their jobs.”

The Teamsters Union will examine all legal options in order to protect its members’ jobs. In addition, it will be holding an emergency meeting with the employer to discuss this important issue.

Frustration and Anxiety

The announcement by the company’s management has created a sense of frustration among employees. With their future hanging in the balance, many McMahon employees are feeling very anxious.

“Behind the bottom line are real men and women,” points out Michel Héroux. “And each of them has a history with the company. For some, this purchase means 25 years of good, loyal service down the drain. They’re all afraid of losing a job that has helped them make ends meet and put food on the table. “

In short, the acquisition of Jean Coutu Group by the Metro food giant definitely does not benefit everyone.

Teamsters represent 125,000 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 Communications and Public Relations (Québec)
Cell: 514 609-5101
slacroix@teamsters.ca

Stories Fabricated and Spread by Biased Online Sources to Further Anti-Union Agenda

(WASHINGTON) – The Teamsters Union denounces reports from online, anti-union sources that stated Teamster truck drivers in Puerto Rico have refused to move supplies from the port as part of an effort to leverage wage increases from the government. These reports are false and have no basis in fact.

The truth is that members from Teamsters Local Union 901 in San Juan have been working or volunteering since the day after the hurricane passed, helping with disaster relief and recovery.

“Let me be clear – Teamsters in Puerto Rico have been working on the relief efforts since day one,” said Alexis Rodriguez, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local Union 901. “Anyone that has reported anything different is lying. Our only agenda is to help bring Puerto Rico back better and stronger.”

“These viral stories spreading across the internet are nothing but lies perpetrated by anti-union entities to further their destructive agenda,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “The fact that they are attempting to capitalize on the suffering of millions of citizens in Puerto Rico that are dire need of our help by pushing these false stories, just exposes their true nature.”

The union is also coordinating with the AFL-CIO to send Teamster volunteers to Puerto Rico to help augment the relief efforts. Hundreds of Teamsters have volunteered to aid in the recovery in the key areas like the distribution of aid and sanitation.

“The outpouring of volunteers from our membership across the country is truly inspiring,” said George Miranda, President of Teamsters Joint Council 16 in New York, N.Y. “We have had hundreds of members contact us to volunteer their time to go down to Puerto Rico to help with the relief efforts.”

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Contact:
Oct. 2, 2017 Galen Munroe, (202) 624-6911
gmunroe@teamster.org

Laval, Qc, October 2, 2017 – Canadian Teamster local unions and joint councils, along with Teamsters Canada, raised over $100,000 for the Teamsters Disaster Relief Fund. The donation comes in response to three back-to-back hurricanes that hit the United States in less than a month.

“As Teamsters, we have a duty to our assist our sisters and brothers in their time of need. The level of devastation from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria demands action,” stated François Laporte, President of Teamsters Canada.

The Teamsters Disaster Relief Fund is a charity developed in 1991 to assist Teamster members who suffered a loss from a natural disaster. The fund proved to be a key tool to support members in times of crisis like the Gulf Coast for Hurricane Katrina, the East Coast for Hurricane Sandy and countless other natural disasters.

The charity is mostly funded by donations from members, local unions, and their affiliates. The donation from Canadian Teamsters is likely the largest single Canadian donation in the fund’s history.

“Borders won’t stop Teamsters from helping Teamsters,” added Laporte. “I would like to thank Canadian local unions and joint councils for taking part in this show of international solidarity.”

To help those who have been devastated by the hurricane season in the United States, visit tdr.teamster.org to donate to the Teamsters Disaster Relief Fund.

Teamsters Canada represents 125,000 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:

Christopher Monette
Director of Public Affairs
Teamsters Canada

Cell: 514-226-6002
cmonette@teamsters.ca