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Read the annual report

Your executive board















Teamsters Canada President and International Vice-President

1. François Laporte

International Vice-Presidents

2. Craig McInnes

3. Stan Hennessy


4. Serge Bérubé

5. Gerry Boutin

6. Richard Eichel

7. Kelly Gorzen

8. Ken Marsden

9. John McCann

10. Robert Bearisto

Union Trustees

11. Jean Chartrand

12. Randy Doner

13. Ray Zigmont

Executive Assistant

14. Roy Finley

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Building up Canada and your union

By François Laporte, President of Teamsters Canada

Over the past few months, I travelled across the country and ended up meeting thousands of you. We talked about your concerns, your fears, and about your hopes and your dreams.

What struck me during these meetings is how you underestimate the impact you have on Canada.

François Laporte at the 2015 Teamsters summit

We’re 120,000 men and women who build up Canada’s economy every day. Each and every one of us has a significant impact on our communities. Think of every person you help, the children you drive to school each morning, the parents you care for. This is what building up Canada every day looks like.

You’re the backbone of our society. And you’re the backbone of Teamsters Canada, a union whose members work hard to build a better world for us all.

During my conversations with you, here’s the question I heard most often: What is Teamsters Canada’s role? Well, my answer is simple : Teamsters Canada is the champion of your hopes and challenges. We are a reflection of your aspirations.

Teamsters Canada supports your union reps, your shop stewards, and your local unions. These men and women are active on all fronts in order to defend your interests and they work tirelessly for the labour movement. Thanks to them, your working conditions improve with each negotiation. Thanks to them, we live in a better society.

But you are the people who keep them going, who give them the motivation and the ideas to keep changing things for the better.

“Because it's 2015”

That line from Justin Trudeau says it all, and forces us to ask the tough questions about our values and the future of our Union.

As President of Teamsters Canada, I've always emphasized the importance of communicating often and openly with you. I want to promote the role of members from diverse cultural backgrounds, to encourage youth participation in the labour movement, and to highlight the essential contribution of women in trade unions

I’d like to join the Teamsters Canada Executive Board in thanking you for your participation in your union. Without you, none of this would exist.

I hope you enjoy reading about our accomplishments this past year. And I look forward to seeing you in 2016!

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Teamsters Canada by the numbers

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MANDATORY - a mental health initiative

Everyone benefits when we build up healthier, more inclusive workplaces. That’s why mental health awareness and support should be mandatory.

François Laporte at the 2015 Teamsters summit

Mental health issues can have a huge effect on every aspect of a person’s life, including their workplace. Although some workplaces have some mental health support, there is still stigma associated with opening up about mental health issues.

For young people, these issues can sometimes be amplified as they are entering post-secondary or the workforce for the first time and becoming independent.

The statistics don’t lie. The cost of mental illness in Canada each year is $ 51 billion, with one in five Canadians experiencing a mental health issue in their lives.

The problem is clear, but the solution is ignored.

There has been silence surrounding mental health in the past but the youth of Teamsters Canada hopes to help transform this with a social campaign for change.

It is time to speak up, make noise and affect positive change.

With this initiative we want to raise awareness about mental health stigma in the workplace, educate people on what youth mental illness looks like in Canada and let them know they are not alone. We are aiming to bring together public figures, policy makers and politicians. Our goal is to make mental health support mandatory in every workplace, creating a healthier and safer workforce.

In the spirit of solidarity, we need your help. If we make enough noise, they will have to listen. If we stand together, we can inspire change.

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Parcels Division

By Pierre-André Blanchard, Assistant Director of the Parcels Division

Since the start of 2015, activities in the division were focused primarily around UPS and Purolator. The year was marked by the negotiations surrounding the renewal of the UPS collective agreement.

Significant improvements and substantial gains were made. The agreement was ratified for five years by over 81 % of the members who voted. In the history of relations between Teamsters Canada and UPS, no other contract had been approved by more members. This result was achieved thanks to a solid and experienced team, an insistence on transparency and the dedicated work of over 25 union delegates from all over the country.

Over the following months, the Division will start the process of renewing the collective agreement at Purolator.

The Division’s director, Gary Kitchen, and his two assistants, Dave Cooper in the West and myself in the East, played an active role in watching over the pension funds of workers at UPS and Purolator. We appreciate the importance of pension funds and we always try to be transparent, acting within the terms and conditions stipulated by these plans, with the future of our members in mind.

Procedure for national negotiations at Purolator

Starting in April 2016

1 Parcels Division Meeting

At this meeting, we’ll set the timing of the negotiations. That includes setting dates for the next steps in this list.

2 Propositions from members

We’ll meet with workers at Purolator from across the country to hear their proposals and suggestions for the new collective agreement.

3 Correlation meetings

Meeting between local unions, first regionally and then nationally, to coordinate all the different proposals and suggestions from members across the country.

4 Meet the employer

Elected shop stewards and union representatives from across the country will sit down with managers and hammer out the best possible deal for workers at Purolator.

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Teamsters Canada Rail Conference

Canadian Pacific (CP) – Locomotive Engineers, Conductors, Trainmen and Yardmen

Negotiations aimed at renewing the labour contract began in September 2014. The talks were difficult given the combative, acrimonious labour relations with the rail carrier’s management team since 2013. CP used a series of tactics to hamper the negotiations and, despite the intervention of Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services (FMCS), the parties did not manage to see eye-to-eye. A strike was called in February 2015, which prompted the Conservative government to threaten to pass back-to-work legislation. A binding arbitration process was triggered and a decision was finally handed down in December.

The labour contract binding the parties provides for a 3 % wage increase for each of the three years of the collective agreement. In addition, a fatigue management procedure was implemented, allowing for two monthly rest periods of up to 48 consecutive hours for unassigned operating workers. CP obtained potential workdays of up to 12 hours on extended routes. Other improvements to standard clauses were also achieved.

Canadian National (CN) – Locomotive Engineers

An agreement reached between the parties will result in a 3 % wage increase for each of the three years of the labour contract, in addition to a $ 500 signing bonus. Other improvements were achieved, namely a voluntary Tax-Free Savings Account (TSFA) as an add-on to the current CN Group RRSP offering. In addition, the “unfit” status option was re-established and the clause regarding STD, Sickness and Maternity Leave benefits was improved.

VIA Rail – Locomotive Engineers

A three-year labour contract was ratified, but unresolved problems were settled through binding arbitration. Wages, as well as the Defined Contribution Pension Plan, were discussed before an arbitrator. The hearings began in December and will continue in 2016.

Ontario Northland (ONTC) – Bus Drivers

Negotiations began, but an agreement was not reached. Further talks are planned in 2016, despite the fact that the other unions representing ONTC workers have already ratified labour contracts. The Ontario government, the employer, wants to make major changes to employee benefits and the method of calculating these benefits, and plans to offer only modest wage increases.

Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB)

CP was found guilty of unethical practices regarding locomotive engineers, conductors, trainmen and yardmen in the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC). Some managers carried out certain tasks reserved for the bargaining unit’s workers, while others caused interference in order to prevent certain union representatives from performing their union duties.

Arbitration – Canadian Railway Office of Arbitration (CROA)

As of November 2015, the TCRC had submitted 55 cases to the CROA, 24 from CN, 29 from CP and 2 from Bombardier. The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference achieved favorable outcomes in 44 of these cases, for a success rate of 80 %. It should be noted that the union won all decisions involving Canadian Pacific.

Locomotive Voice and Video Recorders (LVVR)

All the major rail carriers plan to install locomotive voice and video recorders (LVVR) on their locomotives. The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) is insisting on more advanced data-gathering technology in order to facilitate their investigations of railway accidents and fatalities. Under the law, only TSB investigators are authorized to access LVVR data. However, rail carriers want to be able to use the technology to monitor workers’ activities, to ensure rule compliance and to measure productivity.

Our collective agreements with CN and VIA Rail specify that the employer must respect the law; only TSB investigators have access to LVVR data. CP initially refused a similar proposal, but the negotiated agreement with VIA Rail will also have to be implemented at CP.

At Bombardier, a grievance was filed with an arbitrator, whose decision will remain pending since the parties are trying to reach a compromise that complies with the regulatory framework.

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Ontario and Quebec Women's Caucuses

Solidarity in sisterhood

By Lenna Phenix
President of Teamsters Ontario Women's Caucus

“It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union… Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.”

Involved, active and informed members, be they women or men, are the pulse of this Union.

The Teamsters Ontario Women’s Caucus (TOWC) provides a platform for connecting women members, building relationships, sharing interests and ideas, tapping into resources as well as growing and advancing.

Building equality builds strength. By promoting inclusion, we can bolster a solid foundation for growth.

As part of Teamsters Canada Joint Council 52, the TOWC plays an integral role for women in Ontario. We encourage you to participate and get involved.

Let’s advocate for each other. Let’s form new friendships. Let’s mentor and guide each other. Our collaborative efforts to encourage involvement are important.

Let us always remember, this is our Union, not the Union. We, as women, are part of its very fabric.

Join us and help us foster inclusion.

Reach out to fellow women members. Encourage them to get involved with our Union. And don’t forget to mention the TOWC ! We look forward to connecting with our Teamster sisters.


Teamsters Ontario Women's Caucus


Women and men Share common goals

Teamsters Quebec Women's Caucus

We all work to ensure the well-being and quality of life of our loved ones. We carry out our work conscientiously and strive for equality, social justice and the common good.

Yet, despite our common goals, certain realities separate men and women.

Still today, notwithstanding current legislation, our sisters in Canada earn lower wages than men and do not enjoy the same benefits. In fact, many employers offer women smaller pension plans and less life and health insurance coverage.

While job insecurity and salary inequality tend to be lessened for women in unionized work places, the gender gap remains. This is why women are mobilizing and seeking the help of the Teamsters Quebec Women’s Caucus to address these differences. Together, with the support of our brothers, we are helping to improve our workplaces, and society as a whole.

We are active in the area of mental health and assist victims of domestic violence. We support our members and their spouses suffering from cancer and promote safe working conditions for healthy pregnancies. We organize activities to bring women together and empower them to take action in their workplace.

The results of our interventions have a concrete, positive effect on everyone.

Go to our Web page for information about our ressources and the dates of our upcoming events.


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By Roy Finley, Director of the Construction Division

This summarizes our four main areas of activity : pipeline, construction, maintenance and ready-mix concrete.


Pipelines experienced a slow 2015 after coming off a few major projects over the previous 2–3 years. Yet the forecast for pipelines and construction in Canada is enormous. Just look at some of the projects that are either proposed or seeking approval from the National Energy Board of Canada and various other provincial bodies.

In British Columbia, four major pipeline projects have been proposed :

  • The Enbridge Gateway Project, which is the oil pipeline reaching from Alberta through to Kitimat, B.C.
  • The expansion of the Trans-Mountain Pipeline by Kinder- Morgan. This would double the capacity of this pipeline which runs from Alberta to Vancouver, B.C.
  • Transcanada Pipelines has two major gas projects scheduled for British Columbia: they are the Coastal Gas Link Project which extends from Dawson Creek, B.C. to Kitimat, B.C.; and
  • The second project, the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Line, running from Fort St. John, B.C. to Prince Rupert, B.C.

Alberta has numerous gas and oil pipelines proposed, all originating from Fort McMurray. Enbridge has an ambitious Line 3 replacement project planned from Hardisty, Alberta to Gretna, Manitoba. This project consists of 1,097 kilometres of 36” pipe.

Ontario has various major gas projects ongoing and planned for the future. We are awaiting approval of the Energy East Pipeline Project which calls for a Line Reversal Project from Hardisty, Alberta to Eastern Ontario with the new pipeline planned to run from the Ontario-Quebec border to Saint John, New Brunswick.


Our construction locals are participating in many major jobs at the moment.

There are three major projects in Newfoundland and Labrador:

  • The Vale Inco Project
  • The Hebron Project
  • The Muskrat Falls Project

In Ontario, we continue to be involved in nuclear refurbishing and in the Ontario Hydro System.

In Manitoba, we’re presently working on Manitoba Hydro projects at Keewatinohk, and Keeyask.

In Alberta, we’re involved in various capital expenditure programs in the oil sands as well as the construction of a new refinery at Redwater, Alberta.

In British Columbia, members of our union are completing the Rio Tinto Modernization Project in Kitimat, B.C. and are waiting for the announcement of various LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) projects in B.C.


The bulk of maintenance work is done in Alberta. Most of this work is performed in the Fort McMurray area on major Oil sands Projects.

Ready-Mix Concrete

All Local Unions throughout Canada continue to be busy in ready-mix, aggregate supply and providing building products. Infrastructure spending continues to grow in Canada, which should drive most of the expansion in this division.

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Changes in the armoured car industry

By Jim Chalmers, Director of the Armoured Car Division

Toronto-Dominion bank has begun rolling out cash recycling ATMs which accept cash deposits and refill cash cassettes automatically, thereby cutting out service from our members. This has started to affect members as some layoffs have occurred. Garda has looked to diversify the business and has purchased Churchill Armoured car in British Columbia to obtain the cash processing centre which will be manned by Teamsters out of Local Union 362.

A new player in the armoured car industry has opened up in Toronto. Loomis International, an American company, has received clearance to handle the transportation of precious metals between countries. They have four trucks serving their customers to date, and I am sure they will be looking to expand.

Brother Derek Doiron, assistant to the Director of the Armoured Car Division, has been actively working with the National Health and Safety Committees (NHSC) at Garda Cash and Brinks Canada. He already met with Garda Cash along with Brother Owen Lane, Union representative from Local Union 419 and Chairperson Mike Lee, also a member of Local Union 419, and has secured further dates to discuss the new Armoured Truck design issue. We would like to recognize Brothers Owen Lane, Mike Lee and their committee for their years of expertise and dedication in supporting this process and making a safer work place for our Brothers and Sisters in the armoured car industry.

Progress was also made at the Brinks NHSC meetings held in Montreal last July. Although it is still early, there is a strong commitment among the committee members to build the strongest model using best practices.

In conclusion, we will continue to work with the committees to best represent our members throughout Canada. Further meetings have been scheduled for both companies. As we progress, further updates will follow.

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40th anniversary of Teamsters Canada

The Teamsters have been present in Canada since 1903. In 1976, to better support the needs, interests, and aspirations of Canadian members, the Canadian Conference of Teamsters was founded and later renamed Teamsters Canada. This year, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Teamsters Canada.

Help us preserve our history by sending us your old pictures, stories or videos of Canadian Teamsters at info@teamsters.ca

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Communications division

By André Parker, Assistant Director of the Communications Division

I should first mention that our sisters and brothers at Québecor’s Imprimerie Mirabel print shop were locked out for 20 weeks in 2015. In fact, the company announced the lockout without even giving negotiations a real chance. These workers are affiliated with Teamsters Canada Local Union 555M.

At Bell Canada, several restructuring projects involving its subsidiaries have taken place over the years. Teamsters Canada Local Union 1999 represents three Bell Canada subsidiaries, namely, Télébec Ltée, Télébec Internet and the firm Noralynx, which recently merged with Télébec Ltée.

Bell Canada decided to merge all of its subsidiaries, which unfortunately led to job losses and deteriorated working conditions. Bell Canada and its subsidiaries were once companies offering guaranteed employment until retirement; this is certainly no longer the case today.

In this environment, the fact that these workers are members of the Teamsters union is of vital importance. In fact, our union is their only line of defence against these companies, whose only concern is short-term gain rather than a better collective future.

Thanks to a strike fund to help those involved in a labour dispute, a union representative to support victims of injustice, seniority rights to protect workers, and collective agreements with even more benefits, the Teamsters union helps build a better quality of life for all its members, regardless of their situation.

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Motion picture and trade show division

By Al Porter, Director of the Movie and Trade Shows Division

The Movie Picture and Trade Show Division represents members in Alberta and B.C. involved in the production of film and television projects. These members are employed as drivers, animal wranglers, caterers, water safety and boat operators as well as security personnel. Like in the Construction Division, these members are employed on a project by project basis, which can be one day or many months in duration.

The drop in the Canadian dollar is part of the reason why the industry is thriving : thanks to our lower production costs, projects have moved to Canada from the US. This has resulted in Alberta and British Columbia having a very busy 2014, carrying over into 2015. As of July 31, 2015, there were 18 projects shooting in British Columbia and 6 projects shooting in Alberta. Therefore, during 2014 and 2015 there was a 20 % increase in union membership in our movie division.

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Engineered labour standards and Health and safety

By Brian Lawrence, Director of the Warehouse Division of Teamsters Canada

In the warehousing industry, engineered labour standards are here to stay. These standards are developed in order to improve workers’ efficiency and maximize their productivity. They are devised by observing workers perform their job over a short period of time. If workers do not work safely (for example, not bending their knees to save time), the ultimate result is that the engineered labour standards established by the employer may be erroneous.

In a nutshell, the issue is not so much determining if these standards present advantages or disadvantages, but rather if they allow our members to work in complete safety over a long period of time. Since this is most likely not the case, we must then ask the following question: How do we find out?

First of all, we must examine the organizational culture in terms of health and safety. Does the employer take it into account when making decisions, or is productivity the only criterion?

Recently, the Ontario Ministry of Labour ordered an ergonomic evaluation of an international food distribution company following a high number of injuries recorded in one of its warehouses. In this case, both salaried employees and company executives skimped on safety. In fact, management had established a bonus program to supplement the hourly rate negotiated between the parties. What’s more, workers were subject to disciplinary measures if they did not achieve the weekly targets set according to the productivity objectives stemming from engineered labour standards.

As a result, this plant became a workplace where health and safety standards were not applied because workers felt compelled to work faster in order to achieve—and exceed—the weekly objectives. The bonuses promised by management had a snowball effect on the plant’s injury rate.

To solve this type of problem, a health and safety committee made up of both workers and managers must be created to ensure fair labour standards. In addition, these standards must be communicated and implemented in a straightforward manner. If workers use safe work methods, it will become obvious whether or not productivity objectives are realistic.

In addition, an ergonomic evaluation may reveal poor work habits not taken into account by labour standards. For example, it is not acceptable for a worker to have to stand on tiptoe or lie flat on his stomach to reach an object. Engineered labour standards do not provide for these “time losses”, but they have a significant impact on productivity and, more importantly, on workers’ safety.

In conclusion, we must be watchful not to let productivity requirements eclipse workplace ergonomics and, above all, workers’ health and safety.

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More present than ever
in the press and on social media

Communications Department report by Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Public Relations and Christopher Monette, Director of Communications, Web and Social Media

Teamsters Canada increased its visibility over the past year mainly through its presence on the web and on social media.

In the wake of the Lac-Mégantic derailment nearly three years ago, Teamsters Canada launched the first major ad campaign in its history in the fall of 2014. The purpose was to make the public, as well as the federal government, aware of the health and safety issues undermining the rail industry. The campaign was aired on four television networks at the start of the hockey season, allowing millions of Canadians to view our TV commercials.

Although extremely unfortunate, recent strikes and derailments in the railway industry provided Teamsters good media coverage. The awareness-raising campaign about mental health in the workplace, the campaign on brown beer bottles and the strike at Eurest are just a few examples of the communications initiatives set in motion by Teamsters Canada. It should be noted that the mental health campaign is an initiative of young members of Teamsters Canada and that the videos aired on the site makeitmandatory. ca were a huge success, reaching over 1 million Canadians !

In co-operation with local unions, we plan to build stronger ties with the media over the coming months so that the issues and challenges facing the members of the Teamsters union, as well as the Canadian population as a whole, receive continuous media coverage, both locally and nationally.

We also plan to be more active than ever on the web and in social media to keep members involved in their union’s activities. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and visit teamsters.ca!

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Union education
empowerment, fun and mobilizing support

Union Education Department report by Brigitte Sottile, Assistant to the President and Director of Union Education

We all work in different industries and every one of us is a part of the social, political and economic development of our society.

In this era of globalization, when companies and governments have interests that are often different from those of workers, it is important to unite and speak up in a single voice. It is only by being collectively active as unions that we will be able to promote our interests and protect our rights. This is why education is the lifeblood of the Union.

Education is conducive to the exchange of skills and experiences. Training courses allow us to build solid relationships, improve the image of our members in the workplace and together, make a positive change in our society.

Every year, the Teamsters Canada Education Department puts together a new curriculum adapted to our realities. Many courses are made available to our members, including courses and seminars on psychological harassment, collective bargaining, grievance procedures, health and safety in the workplace, discrimination, leadership, and more.

In Canada, there are close to 50 passionate instructors who mobilize over 1000 members, representatives and leaders every year by hosting training sessions that are focused on action and participation.

Together, we are helping improve the quality of life of every worker in the country.

Union education meets my need to have fun and contribute to justice today, leaving something of real value to the next generation.
- D’Arcy, Labour Union Trainer

Education means learning something not just by textbooks and experience, but by putting it into action to move forward and make positive changes in yourself and others.
- Lee, Shop Steward, Wholesome Harvest Baking

Education is powerful and sharing knowledge with others is a great way to learn more about yourself. Education improves your quality of life.
- Elizabeth, Shop Steward, Purolator

Education gives you the authority and ability to help people around you develop and grow.
- Rob, Shop Steward, Coca-Cola

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Legislative action report

By Phil Benson, lobbyist

Teamsters Canada lobbying covers three main areas : meeting with MPs and bureaucrats, participating in various regulatory bodies, and engaging with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and various working groups.

François Laporte and Justin Trudeau in November.

Meetings with MPs and bureaucrats resulted in over 35 reportable meetings in 2015, which made us one of the busiest groups on Parliament Hill. Every reportable meeting lead to many more other informal meetings which allowed us the opportunity to further our goals.

We have appeared before House Committees on several topics, notably on rail issues in the aftermath of Lac Megantic. A lot of effort was put into opposing union-busting bills C-525 and C-377. Equally, we assisted the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), which was on strike at CP at the time, when it was threatened with back-to-work legislation.

Teamsters Canada participates in the Canadian Aviation Regulatory Advisory Council. We are regulated stakeholders in the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA). We are also a member of the Advisory Council on Dangerous Goods to the Minister of Transportation, which has been very busy in the aftermath of Lac-Megantic.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference has also taken the lead in studying various aspects of the transportation of oil by rail. In general, we assist them whenever possible.

We will be working with the new government and all Members of Parliament to pursue various goals. Respecting the TCRC and all Teamsters right to strike is particularly important. Fatigue management and hours of service in the rail and trucking industry must be addressed, as it has implications in all transportation sectors. Pensions must be protected. Health and safety issues, including mental health, must be addressed and regulations put in place that works for workers. Finally, the Trans-Pacific Partnership must be opposed, especially given its impact on food safety and the dairy industry.

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Legal department report

By Stéphane Lacoste, General Counsel

The legal department has a wide range of tasks.

It must advise François Laporte, the President of Teamsters Canada, as well as the Executive Board on legal issues pertaining to labour relations and the different contracts signed by Teamsters Canada. It serves as a liaison with the Legal Department of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a nd regularly provides legal information and advice to Teamsters Canada’s various affiliates.

In the last year, it assisted with grievance and arbitration cases at Purolator and UPS.

The General Counsel also supervised the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) elections and was an advisor to the elections supervisor during the Teamsters Canada presidential campaign.

The legal department is regularly involved in organizing campaigns and provides advice to Teamsters Canada’s current organizers.

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Grocery and retail sales division

By Serge Bérubé, Director of the Grocery and Retail Sales Division

When it comes to grocery stores and the retail sector in general, 2014 and 2015 were hectic years for the labour movement.

In 2014 we took a huge step forward when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against Walmart. The Court determined that the American megacorporation had broken the law by closing down a store to get rid of workers who had made the courageous decision to join a union. The decision sent a powerful message: in Canada, big corporations don’t come before workers' rights.

In 2014, the Canadian retail industry made over $500 billion in sales. This sector employs more people in Canada than any other industry, but it also has the lowest average wage at around $14.15/hour.

Low wages are partly explained by the industry’s extremely low union density. Only about 10% of retail workers are part of a union, while the national average is 30%.

The good news is that in Canada, unionized workers make on average $5.28/hour more than non-unionized workers. We’re working hard to organize even more retail workers. Because the more workers join a union, the easier it is to build up better salaries and get better working conditions.

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Teamsters freight drivers
An investment in people

By Brian MacDonald, Assistant Freight and Tankhaul Director

The downturn in the economy continues to create challenges in our core industry, impacting many of the carriers who employ Teamsters.

The downturn in the economy continues to create challenges in our core industry, impacting many of the carriers who employ Teamsters. Companies have no shortage of technology, trucks and trailers, but demand for competent and professional drivers is at a historic low. Penalties for missed delivery times, poor quality loads and contractual non-compliance remain a significant hidden driver behind rising freight rates, especially in light of lower fuel prices. The key to off-setting these fundamental issues is directly correlated to driver quality. It is no secret that unionized carriers generally offer higher and more competitive compensation packages, which end up simply attracting better drivers. In other words, every day, Teamster drivers continue to promote the highest standards in the freight industry, which results in ensuring sustainable rates, limiting driver turnover and allowing quality drivers to migrate to better paying union jobs.

Many local unions have become key sources for introductions into the unionized freight industry for those interested in becoming career freight drivers. It is not uncommon to visit a local union and to find recruitment information for unionized carriers; this helps drivers find better jobs and improves relations with employers. Teamsters have evolved beyond simply representing our freight members and have now become key allies for professional drivers looking for enhanced wages and working conditions. As we move forward, it is imperative that we engage ourselves with our unionized companies to help them attract the best drivers.

While we are a diverse Canadian union, freight remains at the core of our history, and the responsibility to enhance our presence in the industry is not limited to local unions with members in the freight trucking sector. Freight touches almost every local union in some capacity, which means we are all responsible to help promote the best drivers in the industry: Teamsters.

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Social services division

By Alain Michaud, Director of the Social Services Division

At Teamsters Canada, our members – some of whom are workers in the Social Services Division – work in retirement homes, hospitals and other institutions that improve the quality of life of those whose health requires care or intervention.

You may have already heard that at the Humber River hospital in Ontario, some 900 members are involved in a fight for the well-being of their patients. Ignored by their employer, the workers have turned to their union to publicly denounce the hospital’s sanitary conditions. You can visit our website to learn more about the problem, but know that some photos may be disturbing.

Workers employed by retirement homes have the challenge of working in a rapidly growing industry. In fact, their industry is growing faster than the population of some provinces. All this has led companies to try even harder to maximize profits—often at the expense of those under their care and of their workers, who now have to work harder just to get their fair share.

Just look at Résidences Soleil, a retirement home company with particularly tense labour relations. Unhappy with having to pay weekly insurance premiums of $1.50 per worker, Eddy Savoie, the billionaire who owns the company, retaliated by forcing our members to pay for coffee! In fact, he went as far as throwing out coffee instead of giving it to his workers.

Fortunately, our Union excels at dealing with employers like Eddy Savoie. In 2014 and 2015, hundreds of hospital and seniors’ residence workers from all over Canada joined our Union. That’s because we negotiate the best collective agreements in the industry, and by far.

In 2016, our Union will work even harder to build fairer, better workplaces in this industry. And we will do so one facility at a time.

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Teamsters Youth
create change

Teamsters Canada Youth report by Harjinder Badial and Brock Penner

Imagine a world where every day, you wake up in a cloud—a dark cloud that seems to follow you everywhere. No matter what you do, you cannot escape it. Even when you are working, this cloud doesn’t leave you. You do your best to hide this feeling from your co-workers and you put on a smile. You want to make sure they don’t notice anything wrong with you because you fear they might see – and treat – you differently.

This is a reality for many workers today. In fact, one in five Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.

As Teamsters, we not only care about your working conditions and fairness in the workplace, but we also believe that everyone should receive the support they need when dealing with a mental health issue in the workplace.

We, the young members of Teamsters Canada, recently launched a social media campaign focused on raising awareness around mental health and promoting support to young people in the workplace. With this initiative, we hope to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness and to provide support to workers dealing with this challenge on a daily basis. We want Teamsters members to know they are not alone.

Join us in our campaign by sharing our web series at MakeitMandatory. ca and by asking your elected officials to support our campaign. We also plan to introduce a bill to Parliament making mental health support and training mandatory on all work sites across Canada.

Young members of Teamsters Canada not only represent the youth of our union. We are the voice of a new generation that strives to create change and to make a difference in workers’ lives across this country.

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International solidarity: Mission to Haiti

By Brigitte Sttile, Assistant to the President and Director of Union Education

This year, Teamsters Canada took part in a two-week mission trip to Haiti. The project aimed to help the workers at the Brasserie nationale d’Haïti (National Brewery of Haiti) to assert their solidarity and stand united against the injustices faced at the BRANA-Heineken brewery.

This experience changed my life on a personal and professional level. Around the world, workers are joining forces, advocating for basic human rights and fighting for the right to decent employment for all. Every action we undertake, here and abroad, to promote unionization makes a difference.
- Brigitte Sottile, Assistant to the President and Director of Union Education

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Following a massive layoff of 300 employees, the workers decided to unite their voices to demand job security. In a country where 75% of the population is unemployed and where the vast majority of people do not have access to clean, running water or electricity, a $0.40/hour wage allows workers to feed their families.

The goals of our mission were to establish a balance of power between the employer and the newly formed SYTBRANA (the union at the BRANA-Heineken brewery) and to ensure, through international solidarity, the protection of workers and their union duties. We held meetings, hosted training sessions and obtained support from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and from the International Union of Food Workers, which encompasses all the unions in Heineken facilities around the world.

The workers of SYTBRANA are no longer facing their employer alone.

When we take action abroad in industries similar to our own by supporting workers in their fight to obtain better salaries, better job security and benefits, we help redistribute the balance of power between workers and employers, and by extension, help protect our jobs here.

This is why international solidarity is more important than ever… and why Teamsters Canada is committed to playing an active role.

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Dairy and Sales Drivers Division

By David Froelich, Director of the Dairy and Sales Drivers Division

Note: Due to an unfortunate oversight, the report from the Dairy and Sales Drivers Division was not included in the printed version. We sincerely apologise for the mistake.

The Dairy and Sales Drivers Division has seen the successful negotiation and ratification of a number of collective agreements across Canada. These successes reaffirm the leadership of the officers, agents, and rank & file members who compose the various bargaining committees who negotiate industry leading collective agreements for which the Teamsters are known.

Two of the larger dairy employers in Canada are Parmalat and Saputo, with Parmalat having recently agreed to multi-year contracts with increases to wages, health and welfare plans and pensions in Alberta. Additionally, AgriFoods workers ratified their contract receiving wage increases for 2015 and a wage re-opener in 2016.

The dairy industry in British Columbia remains stable. Our members at Saputo continue to enjoy the provisions and benefits of their Teamster contracts. Additionally, Natrel, voted most trusted dairy brand in 2015, recently acquired a Lucerne dairy production facility and Local Union 464 is currently negotiating a smooth transition for the Lucerne workers into a solid Teamster collective agreement.

September will be a busy month for Local Union 395 in Saskatchewan as they will be in negotiations with both Saputo and AgriFoods.

The dairy industry in Canada remains largely organized, which means that opportunities for growth by organizing new members is a challenge. However, small niche market employers do provide some opportunities. These relatively small employers, contracted to larger Teamster organized companies, collectively employ a significant number of workers and can be an additional source of union membership. Other local unions in the dairy industry should be watchful for these organizing opportunities.

The challenges for the Canadian dairy industry in the future will be very similar to those of other economic sectors – to remain competitive and profitable in an ever changing and sometimes volatile marketplace. And further complicating our efforts are internationally negotiated trade agreements with scant regard for workers’ rights and benefits, such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Negotiated in near complete secrecy over the last number of years, the TPP has been referred to as NAFTA on steroids. The North American Free Trade Agreement led to the loss of thousands of good paying jobs to other, less developed countries.

The TPP, if ratified, would become the largest trade zone encompassing 40 % of the global economy and include a host of countries known for flagrant human rights and workers’ rights violations. This represents a combined market of just under 800 million people and has a $28.5-trillion GDP. Canada’s milk supply management system is under attack as never before and Teamsters, as well as a number of large international unions, are fighting to protect solid, middle-class jobs and families.

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Promotional items

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of Teamsters Canada!

The Teamsters have been present in Canada since 1903. In 1976, to better support the needs, interests, and aspirations of Canadian members, the Canadian Conference of Teamsters was founded and later renamed Teamsters Canada. This year, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Teamsters Canada.

All products are union made in Canada.

To order your special edition 40th anniversary Teamster items, visit our supplier’s website :


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