New Members Orientation Video
Who we are…
A Group That Matters – The Teamsters Union
The Teamsters believe that everyone should grow financially and mentally while enjoying the benefits of an engaging workplace to support the needs of themselves or their family. However, the workforce is changing, due to increased competition and globalization. Our labour rights are being threatened and reduced to serving businesses with little regard for the working class. The Teamsters are made up of everyday Members that come together to fight for changes.
Being employed allows you to support your basic needs, but being unionized offers a better quality of life.
Teamsters make a difference.
We come into the workforce to gain financial stability and security. We all want to be able to fulfill future plans and needs, to progress and provide for ourselves and our families. More importantly, we care about our health and our safety. As Teamster Members, we secure these goals by negotiating good wages, benefits and workplace protection. We empower our Members so they can have better choices and opportunities at work and in their personal lives. The Teamsters protect and defend what is important to you.
You are now part of the Teamsters Union – a group that matters.
What’s in it for you?
Non-unionized workers can only rely on Canadian or provincial minimum standard laws which are very basic and very costly to enforce. Essentially you are on your own. These standards only establish basic rights and set limitations on how freely managers can treat workers. But – the Teamsters Union provides more than the basic rights and together we strive to collectively improve your working conditions.
In your workplace, you are fully protected by a collective agreement (CBA) in place between your Teamsters Union and your employer. It ensures that all labour laws are being enforced but has many enhanced negotiated benefits far above the minimum standard laws. Your collective agreement is supported through the strength of the Membership – make sure you have a copy.
Some common examples of improvements in your CBA may include:
- Fair wages
- Shift preference
- Parental leave
- Safe workplace
- Sick leave • Vacations
- Fair working hours
- Paid overtime
- Pension support
- Harassment-free environment
- And more…
Why is the CBA important?
The CBA is necessary to maintain harmony, productivity, respect and dignity at work. If the Employer and Members follow the rules, we can all get along. So read your CBA and know your rights!
A Strong Spokesperson and Representation
Good representation is important for a strong community of workers. Teamster has a support system that benefits all Members. Shop Stewards are a key cornerstone in each workplace – make sure to introduce yourself.
The support team helps guide and supports the Membership. This team is made up of you the Member, Shop Stewards and a Union Representative. Together, they promote fairness in the workplace and empower the Membership.
Teamsters Local Union Reps are also part of the support team. They service the Members and support the Shop Steward.
Local Unions are the hub of the organization. They represent thousands of Members from various industries in different regions. They inform and connect with their Membership through your Union Rep.
Joint Councils voice the concerns and demands of Members on a regional level. They are constantly in communication with Local Unions. They do the challenging and rewarding tasks of developing strategies, campaigns and activities that raise Membership awareness.
With a shared vision of improving the lives of all Canadians, Teamsters Canada supports each level of the organization throughout the entire country. Our daily actions and engagements are fuelled by the concerns and interests of our Canadian workers.
With the knowledge and expertise of our Shop Stewards, Union Reps, Local Unions, Joint Councils and Teamsters Canada, we strongly represent our Members.
- Being a leader.
- Informing and educating the membership.
- Being a great spokesperson that defends and unites the Membership.
- Maintaining a good relationship between the Members and the Employer.
- Ensuring that Labour Laws and the CBA are respected.
- Being experts in labour relations
- Have access to lawyers, accountants and all the resources needed to defend and protect the Membership.
- Resolving labour disputes and being great negotiators.
- Hold meetings that offer about current news.
Your Union dues
Union dues are a contribution Members make to their union based on their salary. All employees within a bargaining unit are required to pay dues at a predetermined formula supporting equality. This guaranties your Union to have the financial means to negotiate contracts, assist Members, offer training, pay for legal fees (arbitration), lobby the different governments on issues that are important to the Members, have an adequate strike fund, communications, organizing, etc.
What is the Rand Formula?
The Supreme Court introduced the Rand Formula in 1946 as an arbitration decision which ended the Strike of 1945 in Windsor. It is based on the fact that all workers benefits from the working conditions negotiated by the union such as fair wages, benefits, safe workplace, sick leave, vacations, etc., therefore, all employees are required to pay dues to the certified trade union.
When things go wrong
Solving Workplace Problems
So you were given an unjustified written notice; or your seniority was not respected. You were treated unfairly or experienced instances of harassment, favoritism or abuse. These are examples of labour rights being ignored. The Teamsters understand that work conflicts between employers and workers can be difficult. A Teamsters support system is there to respond by taking the following steps.
1. Discuss the situation with a manager first.
Speak to your immediate supervisor about work issues. A manager/supervisor should attempt to resolve the problem when it occurs. When issues cannot be clarified or resolved, follow the next step.
2. Write down what took place.
(including the date, time, and witnesses)
Since we all have different interpretations, remembering instances and events are important. So, when you write down what took place, it gives your side of the story consistency and credibility.
3. Find more options with your Shop Steward – he or she is there to listen.
Your Shop Steward may attempt to rectify the problem directly with the Employer; if it cannot be resolved, your Shop Steward may file a grievance to rectify it.
File a grievance when the labour rights are not respected. Remember, all problems are worth discussing, but a violation of your rights is worth filing a grievance for unresolved issues. The grievance is a formal procedure that involves your Shop Steward or a Union Rep taking your complaint even further.
Filing a grievance is a legal process defending you and our Membership. Although, we wish it differently, workers go through these challenges in every industry. The importance of filing a grievance helps correct the errors that the Employers make when they neglect or ignore our CBA (and Labour Laws). A grievance is the last option to rectify a problem between you and your Employer. In some cases, your grievance may be referred to an arbitrator for a final and binding decision.
The Power of Negotiations
The negotiation process is where our demands are voiced, and our work conditions are improved.
Negotiating is important when solving workplace problems and improving our conditions in the CBA. The negotiation process is where the needs of our Members are heard by the Employer.
When the Membership comes together to bring forth all their concerns, they find solutions and ideas to make their environment safe and secure. The power of negotiations comes from the ability to collectively express our views. Your Union Rep and Shop Stewards are involved in the process, and it is with the support of the Members that we can get the best possible outcome.
We are Strong
The Strength of Teamsters’ Organization and Structure
The strength of our union is our Membership.
We represent a variety of workers from different industries, cultures, gender, ethnic groups and religions across the country. We represent over 120,000 members in Canada and 1.4 million Members across North America. Our diversity and unity allow us to move forward and be at the forefront of all labour challenges.
The strength of our structure is our ability to support.
Our Union Leaders are experts in labour relations which allow us to provide good services that support our Membership. We respond by being present and attentive in all labour aspects.
Our strength comes from our supporting affiliates.
The IBT (International Brotherhood of Teamsters) and the Canadian Labour Congress (the largest Federation of Labour Unions in the country) work with us to improve working conditions, and Human Rights issues that concern all Canadians.
The strength of our structure is our economic power.
We are a non-profit organization. So your Membership dues (tax deductible) allow the Union to support and defend our workers. Every action done by a Teamster is for the benefit of the Members.
Beyond the Workplace
Helping and supporting
Teamsters in Canada believe in supporting and helping our Members beyond the workplace. We recognize that our Members face challenging issues that should not be ignored. Students, family emergencies, accidents, and illnesses are some of the instances that can preoccupy our work and personal life. Teamsters can help with all matters affecting your working status.
There are many resources that can support our Members through difficult times and help them reach their goals. Teamsters Shop Stewards and the Union Rep have access to additional aid and information to help facilitate your needs.
Some initiatives offered by the Teamsters across Canada:
- Scholarship funds to help our Members.
- Scholarship funds for your children and grandchildren.
- Raising funds for a cause.
- Community involvement and events.
- Access to organizations that help people in need.
- Educational resources and training.
- Campaigns that concern the Canadian population (Make it Mandatory, Workplace Fatigue)
Connecting with Members & Connecting with Society
We want to know what you think. We encourage discussions that allow Members and Canadians citizens to regroup, share and connect on issues that concern them. Situations that involve youth, family, mental illness, disability, race, religion and ethnicity are among the many subjects that are very important to us.
Together, we find solutions that make our Teamsters Union stronger for the benefit of our Members and their families.
Welcome – our journey together has just begun….