Purolator Teamsters Vote 97.4% to Authorize Strike Action

To all Teamster members at Purolator:

Today we’ve sent a strong message of solidarity by voting 97.4% in favour of strike action. While the membership has authorized strike action, the bargaining committee has not set a strike deadline. The bargaining committee will determine if and when such a deadline is set.

Our hope is that management will now rethink their positions on the issues that brought bargaining to a standstill. Many of the company demands are not acceptable to Teamster members.

We started this process trying to find common ground with Purolator. We remain committed to negotiating in fairness and good faith, and this vote makes it clear that we expect the same from the company. Hopefully negotiations will resume in the near future.

You, the members, are the strength of this union. As Teamsters, we will continue our efforts to bargain a fair and decent contract.

In solidarity,

Gary Kitchen
Chairman of the negotiating committee

François Laporte
President of Teamsters Canada

For more information, please contact your local union. You can also click here to view our previous update.

When talking about the armoured car industry in public, other organizations need to show more respect for trade secrets and for the safety of workers. Too much security information is being openly discussed online and in the press – information that can mean the difference between life and death for the members we serve in this industry.

The safety of armoured car guards is, and has always been, a top Teamster priority. I’m tired of seeing other organizations release sensitive security information right after blabbing about how much they care for workers. They are blatantly placing their own agendas before the safety of the industry.

Armoured car is a dangerous profession and no condition will ever be perfect. Instead of going to the press, it’s important that we deal with potential issues through the proper channels. Teamsters take work refusals and complaints very seriously, and we’re always listening to our membership. It’s precisely because of feedback I got from members that I’m posting this.

We will bring our fight for safety to Parliament and do everything we can to make our voices heard by decision makers. And you can be sure that we’ll do it without putting anyone at risk.

By Jason Sweet, Director of the Teamsters Canada Armoured Car Division

Working with other unions under the umbrella of the General Presidents’ Maintenance Committee for Canada (GPMC/NMC), we’re proud to report that we helped raised $300,000 for the Northern Lights Health Foundation.

Click here to read a thank-you letter from the Northern Lights Health Foundation which highlights the importance of this donation.

The Northern Lights Health Foundation serves to inspire philanthropy and secure funds to improve health and promote wellness in the Wood Buffalo region in Alberta. The foundation and the communities it serves were severely impacted by the Fort McMurray wildfires.

The GPMC/NMC is an alliance of International Building Trades Unions, including Teamsters Canada, that negotiates and administers labour agreements tailored for maintenance work at industrial plants in Canada.

The system provides a stable, long-term maintenance solution for industry and a reliable source of secure employment for unionized construction tradespeople.

Donations like these are proof that unions are committed to helping Alberta fully recover from last year’s wildfires.

Laval, January 10th 2017 – The Teamsters Union, which represents over 115,000 workers across the country, is congratulating Patricia Hajdu on her appointment as Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. Ms. Hajdu is taking over from MaryAnn Mihychuk.

“We’re hoping to meet with the Ms. Hajdu as soon as possible in order to continue the constructive dialogue we established with the outgoing minister,” explained François Laporte, the President of Teamsters Canada.

The union is looking to tackle issues like mental health support in the workplace, and talk about ongoing negotiations in the rail industry and working conditions in the trucking industry.

Teamster members are present in every industry and form the backbone of the Canadian economy. The organization is also the largest private-sector union in federally regulated industries.

“Our members and workers in the general are at the heart of Canada’s economic health,” added the President of Teamsters Canada. “We’re committed to doing everything possible to further their interests – a commitment I’m sure Ms. Hajdu shares.”

The Teamsters represent 115,000 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

Your union was present on all fronts this past year. Just as for the many collective agreements renewed, the bargaining at UPS mobilized local union stewards and representatives all across the country. Solid collective agreements were negotiated everywhere, improving the lives of thousands of members.

There is still a lot of work to do at Purolator, where an important meetings with our members will be taking place over the holidays. We will be following the negotiations closely.

On the topic of labour conflicts, 2016 was an unusual year given that there were a dozen or so strikes or lockouts. We steadfastly fought to defend the interests of our members, whom I commend for having the courage to stand up to their employers, who in some cases seemed to have forgotten that they owe their success in large part to the excellence of their workers.

In addition to negotiating good collective agreements, your local unions were busy on the organizing front in 2016. Your union is as active as ever in this regard and plans to continue growing its membership next year.

Election and politics

Union democracy is alive and well at the Teamsters, as evidenced by the large voter turnout this fall. I would like to thank everyone who voted in the elections.

I must also draw attention to the tireless political advocacy of your representatives, who were present on all fronts, including the federal pension plan issue, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project, the Strategic Plan for the Future of Transportation in Canada, the fight to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour and the repeal of union-busting bills C525 and C377. Teamsters Canada and its Local Union representatives were actively involved in these and other campaigns to build a more equitable and united nation.

For all these and other reasons, I am very proud of the work accomplished by our representatives all across the country. Their energy has invigorated and made your union a champion of progressive social change.

Social engagement

Like everyone else, I was captivated and horrified by the Fort McMurray wildfires. True to form, the Teamsters Union rose to the occasion by providing assistance and raising money for victims. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to our members for their involvement.

This past year, local unions coast-to-coast again raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities that help disadvantaged members of society, showing once more that your union works for the common good.

On another note, in 2016 Teamsters Canada also continued its campaign to raise awareness about the mental health stigma in the workplace and to educate the public about this illness, which will affect one out of five Canadians in their lifetime. We will continue our efforts in this regard next year and invite you to follow our progress in this ongoing initiative on our site makeitmandatory.ca

In closing, I would like to wish everyone happy holidays and a happy New Year. Only by standing together can we build a fairer and more prosperous country. I am convinced that by joining forces, we will go even further in 2017, because you are what makes our Union strong.

François Laporte
President
Teamsters Canada

Two years after a shooting that critically injuring an armoured car guard, the Ontario Courts sentenced two of the three men involved in the attempted murder and robbery to 11 and 6 ½ years respectively.

“The safety of every member is what we preach every day. That’s why I’m so very disappointed in today’s decision,” commented Jason Sweet, Director of the Teamsters Canada Armoured Car Division. “The sentences were far too lenient given the gravity of the crimes.”

“The brother who was shot that night was just doing his job. Today’s sentence will never make up for the pain and suffering that he will have to endure for the rest of his life.”

Teamsters will continue to fight for the safety armoured car workers and tougher regulations in the armoured car industry.

To all Teamster members at Purolator:

Despite sincerely trying to find common ground with Purolator Courier, negotiations between the Teamsters and the company hit a standstill after 6 weeks of intense bargaining.

Today the Purolator Negotiations Committee unanimously moved to ask members to endorse strike action through a strike vote.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The company is insisting on contracting out routes to non-union carriers anywhere outside of a 50 km radius of a depot. This would lead to layoffs across the country.
  • The company advised the union that they have a mandate to change your pension plan from defined benefit to defined contribution. This would lead to substantially less retirement income.
  • Finally, the company wants to put an end to the retirement bonus that many of our longstanding members are entitled to.

The strike votes will be conducted at union meetings across the country. The bargaining committee decided that all meetings must be held no later than January 15th.

We ask that you support your bargaining committee by attending your union meeting and voting for strike action. As Teamsters, we must send a strong message that these changes are unacceptable.

For more information, please contact your local union. You can also click here to view our latest update.

Ottawa, November 29, 2016 – Teamsters are praising the government’s decision to approve the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project, an ambitious pipeline maintenance project that will help thousands of working families.

The massive $7.5 billion project stands to generate over $514 million in tax revenue for federal and provincial governments and add close to $3 billion to Canada’s GDP. Communities along the pipeline project will also benefit, as workers will need food, lodging and other goods and services.

“In these tough times, we see in this project something much greater than dollars and figures,” explained Francois Laporte, the President of Teamsters Canada. “We see hope for the thousands of Canadians who were badly hit by the fall in oil prices.”

Indeed, the Line 3 Replacement Project will create thousands of good jobs – complete with pensions, benefits, and good wages. And even though construction jobs are never permanent, the money is usually enough to make a down payment on a first house, help put a child through university, or bridge until the next big construction project.

“These job-creating projects are incredibly helpful in an era of rising inequality, stagnant wages, and a collapsing middle class,” added Laporte.

Beyond the economic benefits, the Line 3 Replacement Project is first and foremost a pipeline maintenance project. All segments of the line will be replaced with the latest high-strength steel pipe and coating technology, while existing segments will be removed from operation

Teamsters believe that everyone benefits from regular and rigorous pipeline maintenance, and that a safe and modern pipeline network is critically important to all Canadians.

The Teamsters represent 115,000 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

Local Union 31 blazes an organizing trail through Yukon and British Columbia.

 
For over a year, Teamsters Local Union 31 has endeavoured to organize Canada Cartage System throughout British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. Thanks to the leadership of local President Stan Hennessy and Organizer Ben Hennessy, Local Union 31 has accomplished its goal and they are proud to welcome new drivers into the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT).

Several years ago, Canada Cartage began doing business in Vancouver, BC. The Teamsters recognized the company’s rapid growth in Freight Transportation and immediately started an organizing drive.

Over time, Local Union 31’s provincial and territorial organizing drive of Canada Cartage proved to be successful.

At first, Local Union 31 was certified to represent Drivers and Warehousemen in Vancouver. The local battled through tough collective bargaining and negotiated a first collective agreement. Shortly thereafter, the owner-operator drivers in Vancouver successfully joined and after several months of negotiating, a Teamsters contract was ratified.

Now, Teamster Local Union 31 members clearly benefit from higher wages, Teamster Health & Welfare, Teamster pension plan and representation in the workplace.

Our organizing drive then headed north to the Yukon Territory. Drivers in Whitehorse were not receiving the same benefits as our Teamster members in Vancouver nor the wages that goes along with the rugged, dangerous driving conditions that northern drivers face at every bend of the mountain highway. Union representative Tom Brown chaired the bargaining along with linehaul driver Ken Artimenko. Whitehorse brothers ratified their first Teamsters agreement unanimously.

The organizing drive continued. Drivers in Prince George, who perform city and linehaul work, said “yes!” to the Teamsters. Drivers performing linehaul trips routinely route as far west as Prince Rupert and as far south as Vancouver.

In other words, these drivers are highway warriors!

Currently, the local is at the bargaining table with union representative Anthony Kirk and driver Brandt Markwara negotiating a first Teamster collective agreement.

Continuing forward, the Teamsters were contacted by drivers in the Thompson Okanagan. Immediately Local Union 31 got to work and successfully certified drivers in Kamloops, Vernon, Kelowna and Westbank (West Kelowna). Drivers at these locations work long hours performing flatdeck work and operate curbside delivery equipment on behalf of a major hardware company. Union representative Paul Simms along with Driver, Scott Porritt will commence collective bargaining very soon.

Local Union 31 gives CLAC the boot

One more location was on our radar: Vancouver Island.

The Island drivers were represented by CLAC. Belonging outside the “House of Labour” (i.e. Canadian Labour Congress), CLAC has continually cozied up to employers and did not adequately represent members in the workplace. The fact that Vancouver Island drivers had not seen a CLAC union representative in years and that the drivers were tired of CLAC inferior wages and health benefits were key factors that led them to join Teamsters Local Union 31.

On Friday, November 18th, Local Union 31 gave CLAC the boot! Union representative Tom Brown scouted the Island for drivers the old fashion way; one worker at a time. President Stan Hennessy of Local Union 31 has now assigned Brother Tom Brown to negotiate a collective agreement.

Teamsters Local Union 31 proudly represents 300 members at Canada Cartage System throughout British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. Local Union 31 would like to thank all the workers who helped with the organizing drive and who ultimately contributed to making working conditions better for everyone.

Through diligent and strategic bargaining, Local Union 987 was able to reach a new collective agreement for Teamsters at the Coca Cola bottling facility in Calgary. The deal includes a 7% raise over 4 years, improved rights for part-timers, and other benefits for long-term employees.

“Because workers were unified and strong throughout the bargaining process, we were able to negotiate a fair deal for both sides,” commented David Froelich, Secretary-Treasurer of Local Union 987.

Teamsters Canada would like to congratulate the bargaining committee for their determination and hard work.