Fatal Accident on the Hudson Bay Railway

Laval, Qc, September 16, 2018 – One member of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) died and another was taken to hospital in critical condition following a train derailment on the Hudson Bay Railway.

“Our thoughts are with the friends, families, and coworkers of the two men involved in this tragic accident,” said Doug Finnson, President of the TCRC. “As we mourn the loss of one of our Teamster brothers, we are also praying for the recovery of the man who remains in hospital at this time.”

The derailment occurred in the evening of Saturday, September 15 near Ponton, Manitoba. The TCRC is actively monitoring the situation and has written to the Arctic Gateway Group, which owns the Hudson Bay Railway, to request to be made aware of developments as they arise.

The cause of the derailment remains unknown at this early stage. The TCRC intends to fully cooperate with any investigation by the employer or the Transportation Safety Board.

The victims’ names will not be released by the TCRC out of respect for their loved ones.

Teamsters represent locomotive engineers and conductors who operate on the Hudson Bay Railway.

Teamsters represent close to 125,000 workers across Canada, including over 10,000 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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Media requests:

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

Laval, September 14, 2018 — Teamsters will meet this month with managers at cement company Demix to demand that the “Optimizer” tablet computers that were installed on board its trucks be deactivated. The tabs are being used to send and receive messages while the vehicle is moving.

The tabs, which were installed in fall 2017, initially couldn’t be used if a truck was moving faster than 50 km/h. But workers, who are members of Teamsters Local Union 931 in Montreal, later noticed that they could send and receive messages regardless of the vehicle’s speed.

The company is using the tabs to send messages about routes, assignment changes and
dinner breaks. Workers felt obligated to open the messages and to look at the screen for several long seconds before directing their attention back to driving.

Once the Teamsters were made aware of the situation, the union reminded its members that it is illegal to use these devices while driving, and that doing so puts lives at risk.

After inquiring about the issue with workers at other cement companies, the Teamsters found that the use of tablet computers is not a widespread problem in the industry.

Many semi-trailer truck fleets are equipped with devices similar to the “Optimizer” tablet which can be used in a very limited way while the vehicle is moving. In some cases, when the driver receives a message, an envelope appears on the screen. When the driver taps the envelope, the message is read out loud by the device. The driver therefore doesn’t have to look away from the road, unlike the tablets which were installed on board the Demix trucks.

Teamsters represent 125,000 members in Canada in all industries, including more than 15,000 in the trucking industry. 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

Hoffa, Laporte Say Workers’ Concerns Must Be Put Front-and-Centre in Any Agreement

Laval, QC, September 10, 2018 — The following is a joint statement from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa and Teamsters Canada President François Laporte in response to outstanding issues that U.S. and Canadian trade representatives must hash out to ensure that a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a deal that works for workers.

“As negotiators eye the finish line for replacing NAFTA, it is time for parties on both sides to reach consensus on the remaining issues that are holding up completion of the pact. We reiterate that this must be a trilateral agreement to enjoy the support of the Teamsters. Any compromises, however, must put the needs of workers across the continent first instead of just further lining the pockets of big business.

“To start, labour rights provisions included in the Labor Chapter must protect workers and their ability to organize with independent unions, and must be enforceable. North American families deserve the dignity that fair wages and working conditions bring.

“Additionally, the U.S. and Canada must create a mutually beneficial landing zone where they can come to terms on dairy and dispute settlement. For the U.S., that means compromising when it comes to Canada’s dairy market and supply management system. Meanwhile, Canada must not allow its views of the current U.S. administration to cloud its judgment and should drop its demand to preserve Chapter 19 dispute settlement.

“If all this is done, NAFTA 2.0 can become an agreement that lifts up North American workers and, therefore, can be supported by the same unions that have opposed the original deal and its expansion in other free trade pacts for over twenty years.”

Teamsters represent 125,000 members in Canada in all industries, including 5000 in the dairy industry. 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

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Hoffa, Laporte Say Continent-Wide Deal Is Necessary to Garner Union’s Support

WASHINGTON – The following is a joint statement from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa and Teamsters Canada President François Laporte in response to ongoing North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA) reform discussions taking place in Washington now between U.S. and Canadian trade representatives and the need for a trilateral agreement.

“The Teamsters are encouraged to see U.S. and Canadian representatives sitting down this week and trying to reach agreement on essential outstanding issues as part of NAFTA 2.0. Canada’s inclusion in any revamped trade deal is necessary if the Teamsters are ultimately going to endorse this pact.

“Likewise, all North American nations must be included in a freight rail fix the Teamsters and our Mexican rail union brethren are demanding that would protect the jobs of some 143,000 freight rail workers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. It builds off an agreement reached by the continent’s railway unions two decades ago in the spirit of solidarity – that no movement of employees across borders would occur absent explicit agreement with the unions permitting it.

“The U.S. Teamsters-affiliated Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen sent a letter to President Trump in July informing him that Kansas City Southern Railway was already allowing Mexican rail workers to staff trains inside U.S. borders, in violation of federal law.

“Similarly, Teamsters Canada sent a letter to the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs in late August calling on Canada to protect its rail members from companies wishing to replace them with U.S. workers. It referenced the 2015 actions of Canadian Pacific Railway as necessitating the request.

“We note that the exclusion of foreign rail crews that the Mexican government inserted in the original NAFTA is likely to survive into the replacement agreement and therefore we call on the U.S. and Canadian governments to similarly protect our freight rail crew members. These workers are members of BLET and TCRC, Teamsters all, and we expect that their existing collective bargaining agreements will be honored and their jobs will be protected from unilateral cross-border incursion under any new trilateral NAFTA replacement.

“The threat to North American rail workers is real. We urge the U.S. and Canada to make sure these workers are protected as part of a new NAFTA.”

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

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President Trump continues to bully Canada to give ground on dairy, so that American farmers can export more American milk to Canada – replacing locally produced high quality Canadian milk and dairy products on our store shelves. Recently, Prime Minister Trudeau stated once again that the Canadian Government remains steadfast in its support of Canadian dairy farmers and the system of supply management.

Dairy farmers, their families and the hundreds of thousands of Canadians whose jobs are linked to the Canadian dairy sector are now counting on your support.

Please sign your name to the letter here, to encourage the Prime Minister to keep defending our dairy farmers at the NAFTA negotiating table. This letter will be sent to the Prime Minister, copying Canada’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Agriculture, in addition to your local MP.

With a potential deal coming this week, we urge you to join the more than 20,000 Canadians who have already signed a letter and add your name to this important initiative. Please encourage your friends and family members to do the same. If you have already signed the letter, know that your support is greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much for your help!

Each year on Labour Day, workers across North America take a well-deserved day off as summer comes to an end. It’s also an opportunity to pause and think about our past victories and challenges that still lay ahead.

We live in a time of great uncertainty. In Canada, we hear almost daily about how trade might affect our economy and our livelihoods. The Trump tariffs, based on a twisted understanding of the North American economy, have already led to many of our sisters and brothers in the steel industry being laid off. Hundreds or even thousands more could be affected in the dairy industry should supply management be scrapped. The same goes for Teamsters who make auto parts in Ontario should negotiators not reach a fair and reasonable deal for automobiles.

The rise of automation and artificial intelligence is another source of uncertainty, albeit one that’s a little farther off. Many companies are hoping to one day replace professional drivers with untested and potentially dangerous unmanned vehicles. But it doesn’t just end with self-driving vehicles; every aspect of our economy could be affected. In breweries, for example, bottling lines are increasingly being replaced with canning lines, which require more machines and less people.

As I think of these challenges, I know that at least our economy is in an excellent shape. Employment numbers are strong for, exports are rising, and businesses are investing.

More importantly, unions are negotiating strong collective agreements. The labour movement is organizing and doing everything possible to ensure workers are getting a fair share of the economic growth. As a result, wages and working conditions are improving.

I’d be remiss not to touch on how unions have been able to advance the condition of working men and women. Labour Day in Canada finds its origins in the Toronto Typographical Union’s 1872 strike for a shorter work day. Union activity was a criminal offence in Canada at the time, but the workers persisted won the right to a nine-hour work day. Moreover, the strike inspired Prime Minister John A. MacDonald to legalize unions and get rid of Canada’s “barbarous laws” on workers’ rights.

While some opponents to unions point to how far we’ve come since the fight for a shorter work day, they don’t recognize that workers still face challenges and uncertainty. Indeed, unions are as necessary now as they were in 1872.

Laval, QC, August 31, 2018 – The following is a statement from Teamsters Canada President François Laporte on the ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations:

“Canada must not allow the U.S. to use artificial deadlines, threats and ultimatums to affect the course of NAFTA negotiations. I urge Canadian negotiators to instead stay focused on improving the lives of working people and crafting a fairer NAFTA.

“It is imperative that our government gets it right when it comes to workers’ rights. As things stand, we have grave concerns regarding the enforceability of the labour chapter. There is no point in having labour chapter in NAFTA without trade sanctions to back it up.

“Weak labour laws unfairly subsidize corporations by artificially reducing wages and working conditions. NAFTA countries should compete on the basis of productivity, not labour costs. We must end trade deals that lead to a race to the bottom.

“Dairy market access must also not be on the table. Canada has already handicapped itself in bad trade agreements like the CPTPP by giving market access to foreign multinationals, at the expense of Canadian farmers and workers.

“It is wrong to compromise our food security, our rural communities, our farmers and our dairy processors just to save a few pennies on milk.

“Canada and the U.S. are each other’s most important trading partners and biggest export markets – not China, not Mexico. The U.S. enjoys a US$8.4 billion trade surplus with Canada. Millions of jobs on both sides of the border depend on a stable trade relationship between both countries.

“Threats and bad policy must not be allowed to affect people’s livelihoods. That is why I can only hope that Canadian negotiators are serious when they say that no deal is better than a bad deal.”

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

Laval, QC, August 28, 2018 – The following is a statement from Teamsters Canada President François Laporte on the bilateral agreement-in-principle between the United States and Mexico to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):

“Teamsters Canada is pleased that Canada will be returning to the NAFTA negotiating table following the ‘handshake agreement’ between the United States and Mexico. Its details will need to be carefully studied as Canada and the U.S. work toward a tripartite trade agreement.

“Canada and the U.S. are each other’s most important trading partners and biggest export markets – not China, not Mexico. The U.S. enjoys a US$8.4 billion trade surplus with Canada. Millions of jobs on both sides of the border depend on a stable trade relationship between both countries, including 5000 dairy workers in Canada represented by the Teamsters.

“Dairy represents under 0.5% of total trade between both countries. The U.S. enjoyed a US$518 million dairy trade surplus with Canada in 2017. Canada consistently buys dairy products from the U.S. worth five times more than the small amount we export there.

“Our hope is that the parties will continue moving toward the Canadian labour proposal, and that provisions on labour rights will be enforceable. In the meantime, we will continue working with our International Union in Washington, DC, toward a tripartite NAFTA that works for workers.”

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

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Jean
Jean Chartrand, President of Teamsters Local Union 106

Not a day goes by that we don’t hear about the labour shortage in the media.

According to some commentators, the lack of workers in the trucking sector, in retail, in seniors’ residences and in agriculture, namely, is threatening the foundations of our society.
What these commentators aren’t saying is that appalling working conditions are at the root of this problem in a number of industries.

UNPREDICTABLE SCHEDULES

In the trucking industry, for example, it’s not uncommon for drivers to have to work 60-70 hours per week for about $50,000 a year. Besides the stress of dealing with constant traffic jams and driving through one construction site after another, not to mention coping with unreasonable delivery deadlines and harsh weather c

onditions, drivers’ long hours mean they often come home late from work.

As a consequence, they don’t get enough sleep, particularly when their work schedules change at the last minute and without warning. Because of these deplorable conditions, young workers are reluctant to get into trucking, while older drivers leave the business before they even reach retirement age.

A REVOLVING DOOR

In a number of seniors’ residences, apart from a core group of workers (mostly women in this sector), the “revolving door” phenomenon has been increasing for the past several years.
There are many reasons for this: full-time jobs in this field are not always available; wages in private residences are $4 to $6 lower than wages in the public sector; and the needs of seniors are constantly increasing. It’s not surprising then that orderlies, patient attendants and other workers in this industry come home from work exhausted or look for jobs in other industries.

And yet, if employers hired a few more workers to spread the work out more evenly, if they paid reasonable wages and offered decent working conditions, these employers would no longer be dealing with this so-called labour shortage.

The value that we place on certain trades is also a contributing factor. We know that truck drivers work hard to deliver all the goods we have in our homes and that workers in our seniors’ residences are devotedly taking care of our parents and grandparents… so why are they so often treated like second-class workers?

Is there a real labour shortage in certain industries, or are we looking at the consequences of an unwillingness to treat workers fairly? One of these days, we will have to take an honest look at this question … and give an honest answer.

JEAN CHARTRAND
PRESIDENT OF TEAMSTERS LOCAL UNION 106

Laval, August 7, 2018 — Labour disputes have been resolved at the five Résidences Soleil where workers had been on strike since July 17. Meetings with a conciliator in the last weeks helped remove roadblocks to bargaining at the seniors’ residences in Saint-Hilaire, Granby, Laval, Pointe-aux-Trembles and Saint-Laurent.

Once again, some 300 members of Teamsters Local Union 106 led the way in obtaining some of the best working conditions in the industry. Their courage was rewarded as they blazed a trail for all other workers in this industry, both unionized and non-unionized.

Pay increases, which vary by worker occupation, will reach $2.21 per hour. The collective agreements will cover four or five years, depending on the residence. A majority of the members who attended the union meetings voted in favour of the tentative agreements.

This development narrows the gap between private and public sector workers in this industry. Until recently, workers in the public sector earned as much as $6 per hour more than workers at Résidences Soleil.

“Our members have fought the good fight and won some encouraging increases, but there are still unfair discrepancies between the private and public sectors,” noted Teamsters Local Union 106 president Jean Chartrand. “Now it’s up to the provincial government to address the situation and close the gap by setting minimum standards for the men and women who work in this industry.”

The Couillard government, which wanted to eliminate joint labour-management committees in a number of industries this past spring, now needs to set up a new joint committee to set standard conditions for all the dedicated workers who take care of seniors. Otherwise the care provided to seniors living in private-sector residences could deteriorate rapidly.

“The potential class-action suit against the Quebec government, citing elder abuse in longterm health care facilities, sounds an alarm that should be a wake up call for civil servants and elected representatives,” added Chartrand. “A society as prosperous as ours cannot squeeze savings out of elder care and workers. Right after the election this fall, the government will have to take decisive action.”

Most of the previous collective agreements in these residences expired in 2017. Resolving the conflict required several meetings with the employer and with a conciliator.

The Teamsters Union represents the interests of nearly 40,000 men and women workers in Quebec, more than 1,000 of whom work in seniors’ residences and long-term health-care facilities. Teamsters Quebec is affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which has 1.4 million members across North America.

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