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 local 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 of Local Union 31 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.