In Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, a team of border ambassadors at YRC Reimer has successfully organized their workplace and joined Teamsters Local Union 879.
“Organizing is never easy. I would like to congratulate this group on standing up for fairness and dignity in the workplace,” said François Laporte, President of Teamsters Canada.
Border ambassadors help truck drivers quickly and easily clear customs by managing paperwork and dealing with border services. They hadn’t gotten a raise in years, and some complained about being yelled at by managers.
When these issues were brought up with the company, workers were ignored and told to leave if they didn’t like their jobs. Fed up, they decided to call the Teamsters instead.
“The border ambassadors at Niagara-on-the-Lake were being paid much less than the Teamster members who do the same work for the same company at a different site,” explained Jim Killey, an organizer at Teamsters Local Union 879. “The company was taking advantage of them because they lacked union representation.”
The organizing campaign took off when workers were shown the collective agreement Local Union 879 had negotiated for YRC Reimer’s border ambassadors at Point Edward. The unionized workers had higher wages, yearly raises, and better overall working conditions.
Local Union 879 now plans on beginning negotiations with company sometime over the coming weeks. The focus will be on improving wages and working conditions for its newest members.
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