CP worker loses his life at work

A Canadian Pacific worker lost his life in the line of duty last night. The accident happened at the St-Luc rail yard in Montreal. Details are still sketchy but the Transportation Safety Board is likely to launch an investigation to shed light on this tragedy.

“Our thoughts are with our member’s family and colleagues,” said Teamsters Canada Rail Conference President Doug Finnson. “We will work with the employer and with the Transportation Safety Board to understand what happened.”

Psychological support will be offered in the coming hours to workers who witnessed the accident.

The Teamsters Union will not make any further comments until the findings of the Transportation Safety Board’s investigation are made public.

The Teamsters union represents close to 125,000 workers across Canada, including 12,000 workers in the rail industry. 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

While the Federal Government has directed OmniTRAX to repair the damaged track, it appears nothing has been done.

Ottawa, November 6, 2017 – The following is a statement from Roland Hackl, Vice-President of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), regarding the unprecedented challenges with rail operations on the Hudson Bay Railway (HBR):

“Our members are proud, contributing members of the communities in The Pas and Gilliam and they have been decimated by the failure of OmniTRAX (HBR’s parent company) to rebuild the railway as directed by the Federal Government.

“This line has been in operation for decades with the HBR and with CN before that, it is the lifeline for Northern Manitoba bringing food, heating fuel and essentials to northern communities.

“A railway is not just a business, it’s a responsibility. The communities they serve, the employees that work there, and their families are all dependent on this link. Employers always say they are an essential service and limit the union’s ability to bargain with them, but faced with the costs of maintaining infrastructure, this employer has effectively shut down almost all railway operations.

“Trucking product and materials that were previously handled by train will further deteriorate an already burdened highway system. The railway is the most efficient way to move product, and there are communities, like Churchill, that don’t currently have highway access.

“It is shameful that this company was allowed to buy the property from CN, get provincial and federal subsidies for the last twenty years and then basically walk away following the flooding, something that any railway is subject to.”

Teamsters represent 125,000 members in Canada in all industries, including 12,000 workers in the rail industry. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.

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Information:

Roland Hackl
Vice-President of the TCRC
info@teamstersrail.ca

Toronto, November 2, 2017 – Close to 25 workers at the Forensic Services and Corner Centre (FSCC) in Toronto have gone on strike. The workers joined Teamsters Local Union 419 in June 2017. They are seeking better wages, an end to favouritism in the workplace and more respect from management.

“Our members are [paid] almost $7 per hour less than other cleaners in the same building,” posted the president of Local Union 419, Brian Lawrence, on Facebook. “Shame on Carillion.”

The striking workers are employed by Carillion Canada, a firm hired to do building maintenance at the FSCC. They are currently paid $15.23 an hour, while others who do the same work at the FSCC are paid $22 an hour. The union was only asking for $1 raise, but management refused.

Carillion’s refusal to entertain the union’s modest proposals prompted workers to vote 89% in favour of strike action. Picket lines went up at the FSCC this morning, located at 25 Morton Shulman Avenue. The building is next to the Humber River Hospital, which employs another 900 members of Local Union 419.

Teamster members at FSCC include autopsy room cleaners, as well as workers who perform a variety of other building maintenance tasks.

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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Media requests:

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

Toronto, November 2, 2017 – Close to 25 workers at the Forensic Services and Corner Centre (FSCC) in Toronto have gone on strike. The workers joined Teamsters Local Union 419 in June 2017. They are seeking better wages, an end to favoritism in the workplace and more respect from management.

“Our members are [paid] almost $7 per hour less than other cleaners in the same building,” posted the president of Local Union 419, Brian Lawrence, on Facebook. “Shame on Carillion.”

The striking workers are employed by Carillion Canada, a firmed hired to do building maintenance at the FSCC. They are currently paid $15.23 an hour, while others who do the same work at the FSCC are paid $22 an hour. The union was only asking for $1 raise, but management refused.

Carillion’s refusal to entertain the union’s modest proposals prompted workers to vote 89% in favour of strike action. Picket lines went up at the FSCC this morning, located at 25 Morton Shulman Avenue. The building is next to the Humber River Hospital, which employs another 900 members of Local Union 419.

Teamster members at FSCC include autopsy room cleaners, as well as workers who perform a variety of other building maintenance tasks.

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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Media requests:

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

Toronto, October 30, 2017 – Teamsters Local Union 419 and Inkas Security Group reached a tentative agreement at 2:30 am. The company’s 80 armoured car drivers and guards in Toronto had gone on strike at midnight, but returned to work as soon as parties came to an agreement.

Local Union 419 will present the tentative agreement to members and hold a ratification vote. Members must vote to ratify the tentative agreement before it can come into force. Out of respect, the union will not publicly release details of the agreement until its members have had a chance to see them first.

Workers at Inkas joined Teamsters Local Union 419 in June 2017. They had been attempting to negotiate their first collective agreement since July 5, 2017. Safety was the Teamsters’ top priority at the bargaining table, along with wages and working conditions.

“Thank God we choose the Teamsters to lead us,” said Adil Khan, Inkas shop steward and member of the bargaining committee. “The experience of Teamsters Local Union 419 helped us get through our first negotiations.”

“It was great to have Teamsters Local Union 419 looking out for our safety and putting us first,” added Alex Lall, also an Inkas shop steward and member of the bargaining committee.

Teamsters represent 2,000 armoured car guards in Canada, making it the largest union in the industry. For security reasons, the union will not provide details on the safety problems facing these workers. Criminals could use the information to plan attacks and robberies.

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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Media requests:

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

Toronto, October 26, 2017 – Approximately 80 armoured car guards at Inkas Security Group in Toronto could go on strike at 12:01 p.m. on Monday, October 30. Workers gave Teamsters Local Union 419 an 89% strike mandate last week. Safety is the biggest issue for the union, along with wages and working conditions. The company broke off negotiations on Monday.

“Our members think Inkas cares more about profits than workers’ safety,” explained Owen Lane, the Business Agent leading the negotiations. “Safety standards at Inkas are a nightmare and fixing them is Teamsters’ top priority.”

Other sticking points include wages, benefits and pensions. Wages at Inkas are the lowest in Ontario’s armoured car industry. Guards also receive a substandard 50/50 co-pay benefits package, which is difficult to use on such low wages, and no pension.

“Inkas is stubbornly refusing to pay armoured car guards a fair wage,” added Lane. “Armoured car guards have a dangerous job. Being asked to risk our lives for roughly minimum wage is an insult.”

Teamsters represent over 2,000 armoured car guards in Canada, making it the largest union in the industry. For security reasons, Teamsters do not comment on the specifics of the safety problems facing armoured car guards. Criminals could use these details to plan attacks and robberies.

Workers at Inkas joined Teamsters Local Union 419 in June 2017. They’ve been attempting to negotiate their first collective agreement since July 5, 2017.

Inkas is the third-largest armoured car company is Ontario. The company services banks, ATMs, gas stations, jewelry stores, and other small businesses in the Greater Toronto Area. RBC and Ultramar are just two of the companies that could face disruptions in the event of a strike.

Negotiations will resume on Saturday, October 28 in a last-minute attempt to avert a strike. Teamsters remain committed to bargaining in fairness and good faith.

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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Media requests:

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

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