Better service contracts at Robert Transport

Montréal, June 25, 2019— For class 1 and 2 drivers, as well as other members of Teamsters Locals 106 and 1999 at Robert Transport, collective agreements have been substantially improved. While widescale bargaining is set to begin in the fall, the Union and management have already signed letters of agreement.

02 drivers who work within a 40-mile radius will be paid by the hour, while drivers working within a radius of 40 to 140 miles will have either guaranteed hours or the most advantageous pay calculation method. Pay scales have been eliminated.

01 and 02 drivers will also receive shift premiums. For example, the evening shift premium (from noon to 8:00 p.m.) will be $15 per day, the night shift premium will be $25 per day, and the weekend shift premium will be $35 per day.

As well, pay for handlers and shunters will be increased by $1.50 an hour on evening shifts, $2.50 an hour on night shifts, and $3 an hour on weekends.

The 1.5% pay increase for 01 drivers will be retroactive.

Workers at Robert Transport will be renegotiating their collective agreements starting this fall. Over the next few months, they can expect further improvements to their working conditions.

That’s why it pays to be a Teamster.

Toronto, June 24, 2019 – Approximately 400 truck drivers and dock workers employed by TST Overland in Ontario voted 83% this weekend to ratify a new 4-year collective agreement. This comes after they had voted by over 99% in favour of strike action last month. Roughly 30 mechanics at the company also voted unanimously to ratify their own separate 4-year agreement yesterday. The workers are represented by Teamsters Local Unions 91, 938 and 879.

“Workers in the trucking industry have demanding, thankless jobs. They deserve fair pay and decent treatment, things these new contracts guarantee,” said the president of Teamsters Canada, François Laporte. “I would like to congratulate the bargaining committee for their hard work and dedication over these negotiations. Job well done.”

The truck drivers, dock workers and mechanics will receive a 9.5% raise over the course of both agreements. They will also see improvements to their pension fund and benefits plan.

Dock workers, mechanics and city drivers at TST Overland are paid an hourly wage. Highway truck drivers are paid a combination of hourly wages and a mileage rate. In their case, the hourly wage kicks in once a route takes longer than normally expected.

Hourly wages are important in the trucking industry; they guarantee fair pay for drivers who need to wait in traffic, at the border or at a warehouse. Some non-union truck drivers paid only by mileage earn less than the minimum wage due to low rates and being stuck waiting for long periods of time.

No concessions

The union made no concessions throughout the course of the negotiations. The company had sought to deny drivers the ability to refuse to work over 45 hours/week. Forced overtime would have greatly diminished drivers’ quality of life, and would have made it more difficult to manage their fatigue.

The company also wanted to be able to hire casual workers who would not have been covered by a collective agreement. These workers would have received smaller paychecks and no benefits, pension or job security.

Finally, the company had sought to crack down on union rights in both collective agreements. The proposed changes would have greatly reduced to the union’s ability to defend employees’ rights.

“This victory would not have been possible had our members not demonstrated incredible solidarity by voting almost unanimously to authorize a strike,” said Rick Davies, business agent at Teamsters Local Union 938 and head of the negotiating committee. “They showed the company in no uncertain terms that they were serious about defending their rights.”

“I would like to thank my colleagues, Brother Doug Pilkey and Brother Brad Reid, for helping me chair these negotiations, and the sixteen stewards on the bargaining committees who played a critical role at the table,” he added.

Teamsters would like to recognize and thank Brian Stevens, a mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), for his role in helping reach a negotiated settlement.

The previous collective agreements for the drivers, dock workers and mechanics had expired on March 23, 2019. Negotiations had been ongoing for approximately 4 months.

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

Being a Teamster is about more than negotiating collective agreements and taking care of grievances. It’s also about building up our communities and lending a hand to those in need. That’s why we’re proud to support United Way.

Teamsters Canada is a recipient of the 2018 “Thanks a Million” award. This recognition is given to organizations whose members raise over $1 million in support of the community work carried out by United Way.

Check out the letter we received from United Way. You can the original (in French) here. The translation has been posted below.

United Way │Centraide Canada

June 3, 2019

François Laporte
President
Teamsters Canada
400-1750, rue Maurice-Gauvin
Laval, QC  H7S 1Z5

Dear Mr. Laporte,

We are pleased to recognize Teamsters Canada as a recipient of the 2018 “Thanks a Million” award. This recognition is given to organizations whose members raise over $1 million in support of the community work carried out by United Way Centraide. Every year, this award is bestowed on Canada’s largest corporations and labour unions, on behalf of all United Way Centraide offices across the country.

Please express our heartfelt gratitude to Teamsters Canada members. Their truly generous impulse allows us to invest wisely in improving people’s quality of life and building communities that are good places for everyone to live.

Your generous support will be highlighted starting on June 25, 2019, on the national United Way Centraide Canada web site (unitedway.ca). As well, the full list of “Thanks a Million” award recipients will be published across Canada in the Globe and Mail, the National Post, and Les Affaires.

Your organization’s leadership is exemplary. Your support brings us closer every day to realizing our vision of a community where every individual can reach their full potential.

Rest assured that your sustained contribution is greatly appreciated.

Yours sincerely,

 

Dan Clement
President and Chief Executive Officer (interim)
United Way │Centraide Canada

 

Lili-Anna Pereša
President and Executive Director
Centraide of Greater Montreal

Laval, QC, June 13, 2019 – Teamsters Canada is welcoming today’s announcement from Transport Canada mandating the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) by federally regulated trucking and bussing companies. The new rules come into force on June 21, 2021.

“While today’s announcement does not fully address the issue of fatigue in the trucking industry, it at least levels the playing field for companies by finally making drivers’ hours of service rules enforceable. It is a welcome development,” said the president of Teamsters Canada, François Laporte.

Electronic logging devices monitor drivers’ hours of service and are tamper-proof. Currently, hours of service are tracked in paper-based daily logbooks. Because paper logbooks can easily be falsified, they are not effective at stopping drivers from being forced to work dangerously long hours.

In fact, the traditional paper-based daily logbooks were falsified so often that they came to be known as ‘lie books’ or ‘cheat sheets.’

“As the largest union in the trucking industry, Teamsters Canada has been working on this file for over twenty years with the government and our industry partners. Overall, we are pleased with the result,” said the national director of the Teamsters Canada Freight Division, John McCann.

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

News of the Drummondville terminal’s closure was extremely troubling for the owner-operators who work there and who are members of Teamsters Local Union 931. Michel Aubin, the union rep assigned to the file, immediately got in touch with management in order to determine ways to save the jobs.

After discussions, the twelve jobs will be maintained and the drivers’ routes transferred to Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke, and Boucherville.

“Being part of a union isn’t just about negotiating good collective agreements,” said the president of Teamsters Local Union 931, Richard Lamoureux. “It’s also about all the little things that add to make a big difference in the lives of our members.”

“Union members aren’t always aware of everything their reps do for them behind the scenes. I can guarantee you that we’re working day and night for their well-being,” added the local union president.

Workers at Loomis are relieved to still have a job, all thanks to the Teamsters.

Interested in joining the Teamsters? Click here to get in touch with an organizer.

All information will be handled confidentially.

Laval, QC, May 24, 2019 – Workers at school bus company Intersco ratified their first collective agreement yesterday. The agreement stands to significantly improve their working conditions. Teamsters Local Union 106 represents employees at the Verchères, QC company which covers the Commission scolaire des Patriotes school board.

The union negotiated an 18% raise over the course of the three-year contract. Hourly wages will go from $17.55 to $20.94 at the end of the collective agreement.

Improvements were also made to sick leave and family leave provisions, as well as to vacation percentages.

“I would like to congratulate our members on this beautiful first collective agreement,” said Sylvie Duval, business agent with Teamsters Local Union 106. “More than ever, the Teamsters are doing their part to improve the lives of workers across the country.”

The contract was ratified by 91% of members present at the union meeting.

Teamsters represent close to 125,000 workers in Canada, including 35,000 in Quebec. 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:

Stéphane Lacroix
Director of Communications and Public Affairs (Québec)
Cell: 514-609-5101
slacroix@teamsters.ca

Laval, QC, May 28, 2019 – François Laporte, president of Teamsters Canada, spoke at the Quebec Energy Association’s convention which ended today. He pledged the union’s support for energy projects that create good jobs.

“Because our society still needs oil and natural gas to function smoothly, I don’t see why we shouldn’t develop and use our own resources as we transition to cleaner energy,” said the union leader. “Since we have to use oil and gas, we might as well produce and upgrade our own resources instead of importing them.”

“As we wait for the electrification of transport and a just transition, the Teamsters Union will support any and all reasonable pipeline and fracking projects, so long as they create good jobs and meet the best possible environmental standards,” he explained.

“Stopping Energy East and other energy projects won’t help stop climate change. All it does is force us to import resources we already have and sacrifice opportunities for job creation,” he added.

“The oil and gas sector could potentially employ tens of thousands of people in Quebec. And we’re talking about good union jobs. Jobs that mean people will be able to buy a house, support their kids through school and retire with dignity,” concluded the union leader.

Teamsters represent close to 125,000 workers in Canada, including 35,000 in Quebec. 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, May 25, 2019 – A 56-year-old truck driver employed by Clean Harbors in the Fort McMurray area died on Thursday in a fatal collision on Highway 63 at the Albian Sands (CNRL) turn-off. The victim was a fly-in, fly-out worker who lived in Prince Edward Island. He was a member of the Teamsters Union and had been working at Clean Harbors for almost 10 years.

“On behalf of our 125,000 members, I would like to express our sincerest condolences to the family and to his co-workers,” said the president of Teamsters Canada, François Laporte. “The man we lost was the salt of the earth. He worked hard to support his family, and he was really well liked by his colleagues.”

The company broke the news to workers the morning after the accident. The union is urging members who feel the need to speak with someone to use the employee assistance program the company has made available.

The truck driver was hauling two large water tanks when his semi-tractor was struck head-on by a pick up travelling northbound in the southbound lane. The driver of the pick-up also died.

“A lot of our members at Clean Harbors are from other parts of the country, and right now many of them are trying to reassure their worried loved ones back home,” explained Laporte. “I would like to add my voice to theirs, and state clearly that Clean Harbors is a safe place to work. This was a freak accident on a highway.”

Teamsters Canada would like to take this opportunity to remind the public to be careful and patient on the road, especially around large trucks as they cannot stop or get out of the way as quickly or as easily as smaller vehicles.

The union is not releasing the name of the deceased worker at this time.

Clean Harbors services oilsands camps and other facilities. The company’s 280 workers in the Fort McMurray area are represented by Teamsters Local Union 362.

Teamsters represent close to 125,000 workers in Canada, including 15,000 in Alberta. 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

Pictured: Teamsters Canada President François Laporte

 
Laval, QC, May 17, 2019 – Jim Hoffa, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and François Laporte, President of Teamsters Canada, made the following statements today on the lifting of the U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs:

In Washington, Hoffa was quick to offer his support for the announced solution: “When this overdue announcement was made, I personally thanked Ambassador Lighthizer and congratulated him for the successful resolution of this irritant in our traditionally excellent bilateral trade relations.

“We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Canada and with the Steelworkers unions in both countries. As we all know, steel and aluminum are the backbone of North America’s integrated economy, critical infrastructure and mutual defence.”

Laporte echoed Hoffa’s response: “I spoke with Minister Freeland earlier today to congratulate her on the government’s work on getting the U.S. national security tariffs lifted. This is truly excellent news for both countries.

“These tariffs put hundreds of our members out of work, primarily in auto parts factories in Ontario and at a steel mill in British Columbia. We hope the laid-off workers will be promptly reinstated, and we are currently studying ways to help get our affected members’ lives back on track as soon as possible.”

Hoffa and Laporte agree: “American and Canadian workers are united by a tight bond. We are each other’s closest trading partners and closest allies. We have worked together, fought together, and built great things together.

“Teamsters on both sides of the border lobbied their respective governments for an end to these tariffs. Our combined efforts, against these tariffs and for Fair Trade, exemplify the international solidarity of working families, and illustrate the importance of international unions in the global economy.”

Teamsters represent close to 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 Canada President François Laporte is in Winnipeg tonight to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike. He is accompanied by a large delegation of Teamster representatives, including International Vice-Presidents Craig McInnes and Stan Hennessy.

The following is an article on what the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike teaches every working person by Hassan Yussuff, as published in the Winnipeg Free Press and in the Toronto Star. Important reading on an important day…

What the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike teaches every working person

by Hassan Yussuff, President, Canadian Labour Congress

The year 1919 was fraught with discontent.

Workers in Canada were struggling to make ends meet and inflation had risen by 65% over a six-year span.

Men who had just returned from a horrific war in Europe could not find employment; factories were shutting down and bankruptcies were a common occurrence. Tens of thousands of people in Winnipeg alone lived in substandard housing where disease was a deadly reality. Working-class immigrants faced deep divisions along ethnic, linguistic, and religious lines.

This was the backdrop to what would become the most significant workers’ movement this nation has ever seen – one that holds lessons for us today. Key amongst them: organized and united workers are much better positioned to negotiate better working conditions than those who aren’t.

On May 15, 1919, over 35,000 Winnipeg public and private workers united to send a clear message to employers and to governments: they would strike in order to win better wages and the right to collective bargaining.

Workers overcame cultural and gender divisions to organize and effectively shut down the entire city of Winnipeg for six weeks while maintaining key services. Women were at the forefront – among the first workers to walk off the job.

While the strike was eventually broken and many of its leaders were imprisoned or deported, it left a legacy of labour law reforms that redefined fair and safe work across the country.

We have a far stronger social safety net than those workers could have ever dreamed of. We have universal health care, minimum wages, old age pensions, and employment insurance. We have maternity leave, weekends, health and safety standards, due in part to their sacrifices.

Nowadays, we take many of these things for granted, but we can’t afford to become complacent. Just as the various industrial revolutions transformed society, we are currently experiencing what some have described as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This means the world of work is shifting and that brings both opportunities and challenges.

Over half of Canadian employees are worried about not having the training and skills they need to get a good paying job in our evolving labour market.

And with fewer workers belonging to a union, it becomes harder to stand up to the power of big business and government in the interests of workers.

“We know that employers are making greater use of employment agencies and short-term contractors to replace salaried employees,” remarked Carolyn A. Wilkins, Senior Deputy Governor at the Toronto Region Board of Trade in a speech this past January. “Unionization rates in the private sector are down. And we hear from labour market experts that this has changed the social contract between companies and their workers.”

In blunt terms, as corporate profits soar in the billions, wages continue to stagnate for the majority. (CEOs now earn more in one day than the average worker’s annual salary) Statistics Canada estimates that over the past four decades, wages for people between the ages of 18 and 35 have literally risen by about a $100 a year – nowhere comparable to the rise in the cost of living. Compounded with the astronomical costs of housing, the opportunities to own one’s own home for today’s young workers– historically a marker of economic health – have shrunk considerably.

When workers are isolated and unorganized, it is far too easy for companies to squeeze their workforce for the maximum amount of profits. Corporate profits soar while the salaries of the people adding value to the company languish.

Corporate tax cuts also benefit shareholders, while diminishing the ability of government to support a functioning society built on reducing inequality. Canadians are taxed on personal income at a significantly higher rate and contribute far more to government coffers than corporations. This wasn’t always the case. In the early 1950s, corporations and households contributed the same share of income tax. Nowadays, corporations contribute around 15%; the rest of us contribute close to 50%.

With a changing economic landscape that continues to threaten certain industries and create whole new ones, the key lesson from the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike must be for workers to overcome fear and division to unionize and safeguard their rights.

Canada’s unions are proud of the contributions they have made to raise the bar for everyone. We are committed to advocating on behalf of all working families – for universal pharmacare, pay equity, better pensions, safer workplaces, and much more.

But if history has taught us anything, it’s that we need every worker to stand up and be counted.