Lockout at Hôtel Le Président: Meeting Called by Conciliator

Laval, July 20, 2016 – The Teamsters and management of the Hôtel Le Président have been called to a meeting with the conciliator from the provincial Ministry of Labour tomorrow.

Workers at Hôtel Le Président are seeking a substantial wage increase to catch up with their brothers and sisters at other hotels in the region.

Hotel management brutally locked out roughly 30 workers on July 11. This shocking decision came on the heels of the closure of the hotel’s restaurant in June, and the resulting loss of 24 jobs.

The Union also noted the presence of possible strike breakers at the hotel last week. The Ministry of Labour is investigating and should issue a report shortly.

The Teamsters represent 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
Cell: 514-609-5101
slacroix@teamsters.ca

Laval, July 20, 2016 – The 74 workers of the Résidences Soleil Manoir Sainte-Julie are still waiting for a sign from owner Eddy Savoie to resume negotiations.

Nearly a week after the strike was called (July 14), there is still no meeting scheduled between the parties. Negotiations are deadlocked as members of Teamsters Local Union 106 continue to demand an increase of $1.50 per hour and a night-shift premium for a two-year collective agreement.

“Our members feel that Eddy Savoie doesn’t respect them,” said an exasperated, Jean Chartrand, president of Teamsters Local Union 106. “They provide high quality service to the facility’s 551 residents and deserve the best.”

Support and Petition

Still, the labour dispute has had some positive consequences. Several residents and their children have come by to greet and support the workers on the picket lines. They asked for buttons reading “We respect our seniors and those who care for them,” so they could wear them with pride. Even motorists along busy Chemin du Fer-à-Cheval in Sainte-Julie have been encouraging, stopping to chat with workers and honking in support.

A petition was also circulated at Manoir Sainte-Julie and submitted recently to the employer. Many residents are unhappy with the quality of meals offered in the Résidences Soleil network of retirement homes. Some residents even go to neighbourhood restaurants rather than eat the food offered on-site.

“The wave of sympathy and support from residents, their children and the public warms our heart,” added the union leader. “It would be a mistake for him (Eddy Savoie) to turn a deaf ear to our calls for negotiation. Stubbornly ignoring us is only tarnishing his image with his clients.”

The strike will continue until the workers get satisfaction. Personal care attendants in the public sector earn up to $6 more per hour than private sector workers. This situation is both unfair and deeply insulting to workers represented by the Teamsters.

“I don’t know if this will be a long strike,” said Jean Chartrand. “But I do know that our members are determined to get the respect they deserve.”

The Teamsters have decided to use pressure tactics only during their breaks and holidays, so as not to affect the quality of services offered to seniors. This is a first in Quebec.

The Teamsters represent 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
Cell: 514-609-5101
slacroix@teamsters.ca

Today, our sadness is only surpassed by our solidarity with the French people. Yesterday’s attack was as terrible as it was unbelievable.

As the representative of Canada’s over 120 000 Teamsters, I would like to offer our sincerest condolences to the French people.

I have no doubt in my heart that France will emerge from this tragedy stronger than ever.

In solidarity,

François Laporte
President
Teamsters Canada

Teamsters are committed to ensuring residents’ well-being by maintaining all services…

Laval, July 13, 2016 — Workers are set to go on strike tomorrow morning at Manoir Sainte-Julie, one of the seniors’ residences in the Résidences Soleil network owned by billionaire, Eddy Savoie.

Workers overwhelmingly rejected the three proposals submitted by the employer in April, June and July. Their main demand is a substantial wage increase that will reflect their hard work and dedication as orderlies.

The some 74 workers represented by the Teamsters Union will picket in front of the residence during their breaks and days off. The Teamsters are committed to maintaining all resident services – a first for the Union.

“Our main concern is the well-being of our seniors,” explained the President of Teamsters Local Union 106, Jean Chartrand. “Over the past few weeks, many of them have come to us to show their support and express their solidarity with our cause.”

The workers are asking for an hourly raise of $1.50 for a two-year labour contract, as well as a night shift bonus.

The previous collective agreement expired on September 18, 2015.

“No one can accuse the Teamsters of not respecting seniors,” concluded the union leader. “Now it’s up to Eddy Savoie to show that he respects workers.”

Teamsters Canada 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
Cell: 514 609-5101
slacroix@teamsters.ca

Laval, July 11th 2016 – Contract negotiations at Résidences Soleil in Sainte-Julie, Québec have stalled. Barring a last-minute agreement, workers will strike on July 14th

During the strike, the Teamsters Union is committed to ensuring the entirety of services in order to guarantee the well-being and safety of the seniors under their care.

“We believe that the comfort of seniors must be fully ensured during the labour dispute,” explained Jean Chartrand, the President of Local Union 106, which represents the workers in question. “We’ll keep doing our jobs, and our members will picket during their break times and days off. ”

Management Coming Up Short

Workers rejected their employer’s three proposals in April, June and July. The rejected offers simply did not reflect the hard work done by the home’s orderlies, auxiliary nurses and kitchen staff. Orderlies, for example, are only paid between $12.86 and $14.19 per hour.

Teamsters Local Union 106 represents 74 workers at the retirement home. They’re asking for a $1.50 raise for a two-year collective agreement, as well as a premium for night shifts.

“We’re going on strike unless management returns to the bargaining table with an acceptable proposal,” warned the trade unionist. “We won’t back down. Workers deserve better.”

The previous collective agreement expired on September 18, 2015. Despite help from a conciliator, no significant progress was made at the bargaining table and workers reacted by voting unanimously for a strike.

Retirement home staff work in a non-competitive industry when it comes to their working conditions. They have no pension, very few days off and even fewer benefits. The Teamsters Union is working to change that.

“They’re asked to look after our mom and dads and get nothing but unfair treatment in return,” said Chartrand. “A strike in Sainte-Julie could lead to strikes across the province. We’re tired of being treated like cheap labour.”

In addition to improving working conditions, one long-term solution to the issue of working conditions in Québec retirement homes would be to set up a joint committee, which could significantly improve labour relations and the lives of workers.

“Working in a retirement home is physically and mentally demanding”, concluded Chartrand. “Our wages should reflect that.”

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
Cell: 514 609-5101
slacroix@teamsters.ca

Teamsters Union asks vacationers to steer clear of Hôtel Le Président until labour dispute is settled…

Laval, July 11, 2016 — Bad news awaited some thirty workers at Hôtel Le Président this morning. After being served lockout notice by management at 10 a.m., the employees were asked by security guards to vacate the premises immediately.

This sudden, disrespectful announcement follows the closure of the restaurant and very difficult negotiations between the two parties. Despite meetings with a mediator, the deadlock could not be broken.

“Needless to say, our members are furious and very disappointed,” fumed Michel Richard, representative for Teamsters Local Union 1791. “Negotiations had been at a standstill for a few weeks since we were waiting for a response to our proposal, but the employer never even bothered to contact us.”

The employer’s latest proposals for a 1% to 1.5% salary increase per year for a six-year contract are considered ridiculous. The Teamsters members were simply asking for parity with other local workers.

“When workers earn between $12 and $14 per hour, they are justified in seeking a better life for themselves,” added the union leader. “In addition to working for next to nothing, they have no pension plan and very few holidays.”

Such working conditions are unacceptable in 2016.

Picket Lines and Boycotting

Picket lines will be set up in front of the establishment tomorrow. The Teamsters Union asks vacationers to steer clear of Hôtel Le Président until the dispute is settled.

“It is not our practice to launch a boycotting campaign,” explained Michel Richard. “But the employer’s offensive attitude gives us no choice.”

“In any case, hotel management does not have sufficient human resources to ensure guests’ comfort without using scabs. Clients would be well-advised to stay elsewhere until the lockout is lifted.”

Teamsters Canada 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
Cell: 514 609-5101
slacroix@teamsters.ca

As the spokesperson for Canada’s Teamsters, I would like to express our shock and sadness over the senseless violence gripping the United States.

Unfortunately, our union was not sparred from the bloodshed. Last Wednesday, we lost one of our own.

Brother Philando “Phil” Castile was a member of Local Union 320 in Minnesota and, by all accounts, a good man who loved his job and his community.

His death should remind us all that racism exists and affects workers every day. Even the Governor of Minnesota said that Brother Castile would probably still be alive had he been white.

Finally, I would also like to express our disbelief over the tragic shooting death of five Dallas police officers. Many Teamsters work in law enforcement, and I feel their pain as well.

Canada stands in solidarity with Brother Castile’s friends and family, and we offer our deepest condolences to all those who have lost their loved ones over the past days.

François Laporte
President of Teamsters Canada

The Lac-Mégantic derailment that occurred three years ago has left an indelible mark on the history of our country. The tragedy that took the lives of 47 people and virtually destroyed the downtown core of this beautiful Eastern Townships municipality is a painful reminder of the importance of making rail safety an absolute priority.

I find the recent job cuts in this industry very troubling. For one thing, Canadian Pacific (CP) plans to lay off or abolish the jobs of 500 track maintenance workers, who are responsible for the maintenance and repair of railways across the country. Their work is essential and must not be underestimated.

Corporate profits are one thing, but the 12,000 rail workers we represent feel that the industry is putting people’s lives at risk. Reducing railway maintenance or demanding more of workers who are already exhausted is the perfect recipe for another disaster.

As you know, the Teamsters Union has demanded for years that workers be given reasonable rest periods and that Transport Canada hire additional inspectors to keep a closer watch over rail companies’ activities. The commissioning of new, better assembled cars and the construction of bypass tracks are good ideas, but they are only part of the solution.

Railway safety does not begin and end with the Lac-Mégantic derailment. We must not lose sight of the fact that derailments occur across the country. Some have caused hazardous waste spills, while others have resulted in injuries or fatalities. Sometimes the smallest incident can be indicative of a much larger problem.

In conclusion, my thoughts go out today to the residents of Lac-Mégantic, particularly the relatives and friends of those who perished in 2013. They have suffered terribly and we owe it to them to ensure that our railway network is as safe and risk-free as possible.

Teamsters Canada will continue to work toward this goal over the coming months and years.

François Laporte
President of Teamsters Canada

The Teamsters Canada Executive Committee ratified the recommendations of President François Laporte and proceeded to make the following nominations:

  • Jason Sweet, Director of the Armoured Car Division
  • Wayne Garner, Assistant Director of the Armoured Car Division
  • Fernanda Santos, Director of the Sports Entertainment, Hotels and Restaurants Division
  • Grant Coleman, Assistant Director of the Package and Parcel Division
  • Mike Hennessy, Assistant Director of the Freight Division
  • Danny Mitchell, Federal Political Action Assistant Coordinator
  • Éric Laramée, Assistant Organizing Coordinator (Québec)

Read more about the trade divisions.

We wish them good luck in their new roles.

The massive layoff of maintenance of way crews by Canadian Pacific (CP) does not bode well for the Canadian railway system in the event of a major disaster. In light of this fact, Transport Canada must intervene immediately and apply the Railway Safety Management System Regulations, 2015.

CP refuses to undertake a risk assessment even though it has the obligation to do so pursuant to the Regulations and despite the layoffs or the abolition of 500 or so maintenance-of-way employee positions.

On the eve of the commemoration of the Lac-Mégantic disaster, the Teamsters Union summons Transport Canada to take prompt action before it is too late.

“CP is in clear violation of the law, and Transport Canada has all the tools it needs to order the reinstatement of these workers,” says Gary Doherty, president of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference—Maintenance of Way Employees Division. “Not only is CP abolishing these key positions, but it is also increasing the speed at which its trains will cross certain cities!”

Indeed, the union recently learned that the rail carrier would be increasing within 60 days from 50 to 60 miles per hour the speed at which its trains will pass through the town of Beaconsfield.

The mayor of this western suburb of Montréal, Georges Bourelle, denounced the fact that CP did not even bother consulting him or undertaking a risk assessment. The mayor is concerned about the safety of his fellow citizens, some of whom live within a few metres of the railway.

Bad memories

For Doug Finnson, president of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, which represents the running trade employees of CP, CN and VIA Rail (locomotive engineers and conductors for example), CP’s announcement conjures up very bad memories.

“We believe reducing maintenance budgets that results in a reduction of qualified maintenance personnel compromises the safety of railway operations and the general public,” he explained. “Let’s not wait for another disaster such as the McBride [British Columbia] bridge derailment to occur before legally requiring railway companies to maintain their tracks in accordance with very rigorous standards.”

“Fines and slaps on the wrists after the fact do not repair the shattered bodies and lives of those workers.”

A locomotive engineer and a conductor both died in the derailment.

In 2003, the Transportation Safety Board report commented that “the maintenance work on the bridge was not given a high priority”, and that “deficiencies associated with the inspection and maintenance of timber bridges were identified during the TSB investigation.” Within the TSB Report conclusions it was stated: “The failure to identify the urgency and the severity of the condition of the bridge was not recognized, despite subsequent inspections, because of shortcomings in the inspection, assessment, planning, and maintenance process.” and that “because there was no Transport Canada audit of work procedures, there was no opportunity to identify the deficiencies associated with such bridge inspection and maintenance procedures.”

“We sent a very clear letter to Minister Garneau two weeks ago,” concludes Gary Doherty. “I will therefore hold the federal government directly responsible for the next derailment involving inadequate maintenance of ways if he does not implement our recommendations.”

The Teamsters Union will be monitoring the situation closely and will systematically document all incidents connected in any way to track maintenance work. It also encourages members of the public to contact their elected officials if they witness worrying situations on railway tracks.