Teamsters Praise Approval of Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project

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 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 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.

Sisters, Brothers,

Our union’s international election has come to an end. I’d like to thank all the candidates for their hard work, and congratulate General President Jim Hoffa and General Secretary Treasurer Ken Hall on their re-election.

Above all else, I would like to thank the thousands of Canadian members who voted, and all those who got involved to encourage their fellow Teamsters to exercise their right to vote.

During this election, we all sacrificed time at home with our families, and we all had to work twice as hard during the day so we could spend time campaigning at night and on weekends.

Because of your hard work, Canada was the only part of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters that improved voter turnout from previous years. Without your commitment to your union and its democratic process, this would not have been possible.

Canadian Teamsters have always been proud members of this international union — a union greater than any border. Workers in Canada have the same challenges, aspirations, and often the same employers as workers in the United States. By working together and in solidarity, there is no limit to what we can achieve.

I would like to personally thank you for your work and your efforts.

Together, we are and will remain stronger.

See you soon,

François Laporte
President
Teamsters Canada

Teamsters recognize the heroism and sacrifice of our veterans. That is why we are so proud to support them.

Over the past two years, supporting veterans meant working on a campaign with Helmets to Hardhats Canada, an organization that helps veterans find employment.

Our objective was to convince governments to recognize the DDN 404 military driver’s licence for their commercial class equivalents. This facilitates the transition into civilian life by providing access to jobs in transportation and construction.

These veterans can operate heavy military vehicles in extreme conditions, on battlefields or after natural disasters. And yet, most governments did not recognize their skills, and made these skilled drivers apply for a civilian driver’s licence before taking to Canadian roads.

Fortunately, we helped make a difference. Today, after a lot of lobbying, all provinces and territories (except Nunavut) now have a procedure for recognizing a military driver’s licence.

Canadian companies cannot do without the talents of our veterans because they are motivated, competent workers.

If you are a veteran and would like to know how to get your DND 404 recognized by your province or territory, please click here.

On this Remembrance Day, we also invite Teamsters to wear a poppy and to visit the Veterans Affairs Canada web site to learn about the many ways to commemorate this important day.

Our veterans have done so much for our country. Teamsters are proud to support them and remember their sacrifice.

Ottawa, November 9, 2016 — The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), which represents 12,000 workers in the rail industry, publically released its Fatigue Risk Guiding Philosophy for the Railway industry. On November 4 the TCRC issued the document to government and industry leadership alike.

Sleep-related fatigue has been a long-standing concern for railway workers, industry, government, and the TCRC. The issue of rail crew fatigue gained national attention thanks to the Foisy Report, which investigated the the Hinton derailment in 1986. It subsequently became the focal point of many labour negotiations, joint stakeholder working groups, external studies, government inquiries and media articles.

The issue of fatigue was also been highlighted by the Railway Safety Act review in 2007, the Advisory Council on Rail Safety, the Standing Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities. It was also recently included on the Transportation Safety Board’s Watchlist.

Unfortunately, despite the attention rail fatigue garnered over the last 30 years, significant improvements remain to be made.

“We openly share this document and favour transparency in communicating our position,” explained Douglas Finnson, president of Teamsters Canada Rail Conference who represent approximately 12,000 workers in the rail industry. “Our commitment, our guide in future decisions and the standards for expected daily operations are all consistent with our advocacy for improvements to fatigue management systems and processes.”

“It can only be through the TCRC taking a leadership role that our efforts can effectively improve the functional capacity, health, safety, and maintain the productivity of our members”, added the union leader. “We also believe all parties are in agreement that a solution must be found that ensures rail crews commence duty alert and rested and that alertness is sustained throughout their tour of duty respecting that rail crews have to meet personal needs and railways need to meet service objectives and implement changes.”

The Teamsters enlisted the services of a renowned expert in the field of fatigue and sleep science with intimate knowledge of the transportation industry, to assist in the development of this document and work with the union going forward to achieve its goals.

The union has seen positive outcomes with certain fatigue management applications and continues to work with stakeholders on making improvements consistent with its guiding philosophy.

The TCRC is aware of CP’s marketing statements on their recent Web site. The TCRC remains committed to fatigue risk management based on fatigue science in reducing fatigue and improving rail safety not only for its members, but also to protect the general public.

The Teamsters represents 115,000 members in Canada in all industries, 12,000 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:

Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Public Relations
Cell: 514 609-5101
slacroix@teamsters.ca

Laval, November 3, 2016 – The Teamsters Union is satisfied with the measures proposed by Minister Marc Garneau, namely with respect to the environment and infrastructure. However, the Strategic Plan for the Future of Transportation in Canada does not directly meet the specific challenges facing rail transport workers and truckers, and the Teamsters will therefore be impatiently awaiting the detailed announcements in the coming months.

“We commend the Minister for his willingness to improve the railway system to make it more modern, efficient, and safe, namely through the implementation of voice and video recorders on trains,” points out François Laporte, President of Teamsters Canada. “We are also satisfied with his commitment to protect workers’ right to privacy.”

The Teamsters Union, which represents close to 12,000 railway workers, contends that only the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) should have access to recordings when an investigation is conducted following a derailment.

The Teamsters invite the Minister to focus on the major issue of fatigue management in the rail industry. In the rail transport sector, workers must too often stay awake for stretches of 18 to 20 hours and are constantly on call and must be ready to report to their supervisors at all times because of prevailingly unpredictable schedules. That poses an enormous challenge in terms of fatigue management. In fact, the TSB has officially recognized fatigue management as an issue in its 2016–2017 Watchlist.

Trucking industry also in need of attention

Teamsters are frontline stakeholders in the trucking industry. The union represents tens of thousands of truck drivers, who are more than aware that their working conditions have deteriorated since the deregulation of the industry in the mid-1990s.

“Today, there’s nothing easier than setting up a trucking company. Anyone and everyone can improvise, propose unreasonably low rates and force truckers to work in appalling conditions,” points out François Laporte. “This leads to a devaluation of the job and makes it difficult to recruit and retain qualified truckers.”

In a report released three years ago, the Conference Board of Canada estimated that the industry would need to hire up to 25,000 workers by 2020. The difficult and even precarious conditions that prevail in the industry will lead to shortages of qualified labour which in turn could hinder economic growth in several parts of the country seeing. It is common knowledge that most goods shipped in Canada end up being delivered by truck.

Fatigue management issues are also difficult among truckers. Studies indicate that 25% of truckers suffer from sleep apnea. Their rest periods must therefore be adjusted accordingly and research on circadian rhythms must also be taken into consideration when it comes to truck transport.

The Minister has promised to make more specific announcements in the coming months. Teamsters Canada has committed to working in close collaboration with the government to improve the transportation industry and protect the health and safety of the workers as well as the public as a whole.

The Teamsters Union represents 115,000 members in Canada in all industries, including 12,000 in the rail industry and 30,000 truckers. 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

Ottawa, October 31, 2016 – The Transportation Safety Board released their Watchlist today. The Watchlist identifies key safety issues aimed at improving safety in Canada’s transportation system.

The ten-item list identifies four issues specific to railway operations. Notable changes include the removal of railway crossing safety and the addition of worker fatigue for train crews.

Like in previous years, the transportation of flammable liquids by rail, compliance with railway signal indications, and on-board voice and video recorders remain on the list.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), which represents approximately 12,000 workers in the rail industry, has been urging the federal government for two decades to make crew fatigue a priority. Crew fatigue is a major safety risk for both workers and the public.

“We’re pleased that the TSB formally recognized crew fatigue by including it in the Watchlist,” said Doug Finnson, president of TCRC. “Reducing crew fatigue has been a major focal point for our union. This announcement should raise awareness and spark more definitive action from the government and the industry,”

“We’ve always believed that fighting fatigue should be based on sound science, not operational efficiency,” added the union leader.

However, the union is reserved in its view of the removal of railway crossing safety from the Watchlist. Although significant progress has been made, as evidenced by a decline in the 5-year average for crossing accidents, new data has shown a significant increase in serious accidents from last year.

The Watchlist also included two multi-modal issues addressing the TSB’s concerns regarding safety management oversight and the speed in which Transport Canada addresses the TSB’s recommendations. The union has had long standing concerns with safety management systems and the lack of regulatory oversight.

“Let’s not forget that the goal of all the industry’s stakeholders should be to ensure the safety of workers and of the public,” concluded Doug Finnson. “That is why the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference has consistently advocated for an efficient and transparent safety management system.”

The Teamsters represents 115,000 members in Canada in all industries, including 12,000 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:

Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Public Relations
Cell: 514 609-5101
slacroix@teamsters.ca

Laval, October 24, 2016 – The Québec government’s intention to collect deposits on water bottles and most containers of less than 900 millilitres in volume is well-received by the Teamsters Union, which represents thousands of Québec workers in the brewing (Molson, Labatt) and soft drink (Coke, Pepsi, Cott Cola) industries.

Seeing as all containers smaller than 900 millilitres in volume would be subject to deposits, it is estimated that this measure would extend to close to one billion containers.

“Extending the deposit is desirable because it would consolidate and even validate the relevance of refillable containers such as the brown screw-top bottles used in the beer industry,” explains Michel Héroux, president of Teamsters Local Union 1999. “In the long term, we hope that all bottlers and brewers sell their products in refillable containers.”

See also: Teamsters launch campaign on brown beer bottles

Water bottles end up in landfill sites or, worse, directly in nature and water courses. They are a danger for the environment, and the situation needs to be corrected as soon as possible. However, several major players are opposed to the measures contemplated by the government, on the pretext that small retailers would have difficulty managing the water bottles returned to them by consumers.

“In my opinion, care for the environment must lead to concrete action,” stresses the union leader. “Opponents’ recriminations about this government measure, namely those of Stéphane Forget of Québec federation of chambers of commerce, are exaggerated. I’m convinced that the government will implement solutions that are viable for everyone involved.”

Furthermore, a private deposit collection network already exists among major brewers, and it has proven itself efficient and useful.

“Imagine the environmental benefits if we managed to recuperate one billion refillable bottles every year,” concludes Mr. Héroux. “This [government] measure therefore appears viable to me in both environmental and economic terms.”

Ultimately, the Teamsters Union therefore hopes for deposits to be charged on most containers, including wine bottles, to further strengthen the current system of refillable containers.

The Teamsters represents 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

Pictured: Labour Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk

 
Parliament moved one step closer to formally repealing the previous government’s union busting legislation. On Wednesday night, the House of Commons passed Bill C-4, which aims to repeal Bill C-377 and Bill C-525.

Bills C-377 would have drowned unions in red tape and compromised the privacy of union members. Bill C-525 was essentially an act to prevent workers from joining a union.

“The Trudeau government has once again demonstrated its commitment to fair labour laws,” commented François Laporte, the President of Teamsters Canada. “I’d especially like to thank Labour Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk and MP Rodger Cuzner for their outstanding work on this issue.”

Bill C-4 must now make its way through the Senate before becoming law.

“Union busting is about crushing those who stand for respect, fairness, and dignity in the workplace. It has no place in Canada,” said Laporte.