The Building Trades of Alberta calls for more stringent oversight of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Building TradesRecent abuses of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program have raised concerns among Albertans. The Building Trades of Alberta supports strict adherence to the rules of the Temporary Foreign Worker program as an essential plank in Alberta’s economic growth – while insisting on the protection of Canadians’ jobs.

We, together with our signatory contractors, fully support the principal that every available and qualified Canadian should be given the first opportunity and access to Canadian jobs before any consideration is given to access or procure foreign workers.

Secondly, we recognize that we must continue to work hard to bring young Canadians and under employed Canadians into the Building Trades, in order to grow and secure a local Canadian workforce of the future. We have a collective obligation as leaders of the unionized construction sector, to ensure there are ample apprenticeship opportunities available in the trades, for young Canadians and others such as Aboriginal Canadians, women and veterans. While some progress is being made on this longer term solution a more deliberate and intentional effort to create these opportunities must be demonstrated, by the owners and contractors that utilize the ervices of our tradespersons.

It’s important to recognize, however, the economic effects of skilled trades’ shortages in Alberta. That is why, over the last several years the BTA, our member unions and contractor/owner partners have used the TFW Program for acute periodic shortages in specific skilled trades. We have ensured strict adherence and compliance with all of the rules and protocols specified in the

TFW Program Memorandum of Understanding. Specifically, that means ensuring effective methods are in place to advertise and promote Alberta job opportunities to all qualified Canadians. It also means ensuring all workers brought in through our programs are treated with the utmost dignity and respect and are compensated in accordance with the identical terms and conditions of the effective collective agreements received by our members.

More recent events in Alberta and other parts of Canada have highlighted and identified the misuse and abuse of the TFW Program by industries and parties not affiliated with Building Trades construction stakeholders. In these cases we are actively advocating to the appropriate government representatives, both federally and provincially, that the abusers are held accountable and dealt with accordingly.

We understand and recognize that these recent abuses have garnered the frustration and suspicion amongst the individual members of the Building Trades Unions to the point where some have chosen to take independent actions to protest their lack of faith in the system. While we are respectful of these views and opinions, we will continue to support the necessary and proper utilization of the TFW Program when appropriate. We will also continue our efforts to lobby the responsible government agencies and advocate for more stringent oversight and compliance with the objectives and intent of the TFW Program.

This statement has been prepared by the Building Trades of Alberta, on behalf of the Business Managers of the affiliated Building Trades Local Unions.

For more information contact:

Warren Fraleigh
Executive Director
11635 – 160th Street
Edmonton, Alberta, T5M 3Z3
T: 780.421.9400
C: 780-887-3433

Ford Club’s Nifty Fifty Spring Thaw

Teamster Volunteer, Stacy Tulp, along with a number of other Business Agents who donate their time, drives the Local 362 Truck and brings it all over Alberta for different charity events, and to the occasional lock-out and strike. You definitely cant miss the truck – it’s a self-contained monster of an event vehicle that acts as a stage, sound-system, DJ booth, and general attention grabber at whatever charity shindig that it shows up at. You wouldn’t miss Stacy on the Alberta charity circuit either. He’s been doing this for 10 years.

mustangOn Sunday, April 27th – Local 362’s ‘Rolling Billboard’ of a Truck cruised in to Deerfoot Mall in Calgary, AB for the 29th annual Spring Thaw – put on by Alberta’s premiere vintage Ford society – The Nifty Fifty Club. This was the fourth year that the local has attended this event. Stacy was more than a little excited about this showcase, being no stranger to vintage rides. He’s the owner and driver (according to Stacy, even vintage cars are meant to be driven, not babied) of his own 1938 Nash Hot Rod. And while these shined up Fords were easy to gawk at, Stacy knows that these Sundays are all about giving back to the community.

Read the Nifty Fiftys Thank You Letter To Local 362

Teamster-in-page-NiftyThe Teamster’s are always on the lookout to contribute something positive to the community and other unions. At this time, the truck is scheduled to hit 13 different charity events this summer, all in support of local Alberta charities. The truck – the famous horses emblazoned on the sides – shows up free of charge and Stacy often acts as DJ de jour and MC for the day’s festivities. For the Spring Thaw, you could hear the raucous sounds of ‘the Killer’ Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Buddy Holly thundering out of the PA system. Along with providing the day’s entertainment, Stacy also got to peruse the cars and pick one of 10 fine Fords to get ‘plaqued’. It’s a hard-knock life isn’t it, Stacy?

The Spring Thaw’s chief charity for the last number of years has been the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank – an organization that distributes five dollars-worth of food to those less fortunate for every dollar it collects.

blue rideSponsorship Co-ordinator Shawn Heldt has been a past president of the Nifty Fifty Ford Club and says that at every show they do – Stacy and the Truck have been permanent fixtures. The Club loves him, the charities love him – and why not? The Nifty Fifty Club was founded on camaraderie and a love of vintage cars. Teamsters Local 362 promotes camaraderie and love for workers. Charities want to ensure that all people have a chance at a good life. Go figure – so does your Local 362 Teamsters Union.

Stacy looks after his community just like his Teamster barn looks after him – with compassion, dedication, and with a lot of energy.

In the words of the immortal Bon Scott, Stacy… ‘Ride On’.

If anyone is interested in requesting our truck at a charity event, please contact us.

James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship Fund

Joe Richardson has been a devoted employee at Clarke Transport for thirty-five years and a Shop Steward for eighteen of those. “Whatever needs to be done,” he says, when asked what it is that he does. A few years ago, it was time for Joe’s stepson to start looking at post-secondary education options. Joe and his wife had blended their families together two years earlier, and were not in a financial position to be able to contribute anything more than free room and board for their son. Fortunately, there was another option.

The Teamsters James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship awards scholarships to to the children or financial dependents of Teamster members. This year the Fund will award one-time $1,000.00 scholarships annually to 200 students. Applicants must be enrolled full-time in an undergraduate college, university or community college program, or a technical or vocational program, and be 23 years old or younger.

James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship Fund

While Joe was concerned that his stepson wouldn’t be eligible for the scholarship, he prompted him to apply anyway. Joe remembers the few weeks that his stepson belabored the decision to apply, but was convinced with Joe’s philosophy that “you can’t get what you don’t ask for, and you just never know.”

A couple of weeks went by, and the Richardson’s were renovating: which meant that they were using the backdoor instead of the front. In an act that Joe describes as “somebody upstairs looking out for us,” his daughter came through the front door one Friday afternoon, noticing a brown envelope tucked between the interior and exterior doors. Inside the envelope was information on the scholarship that his stepson had been awarded. But there was one hitch: the envelope had gone unnoticed for a few weeks and the acceptance deadline was the following Monday. They got organized over the weekend and Joe took Monday morning off of work to go down to the Calgary Teamsters office, where he was helped to ensure that the acceptance package made it to Washington in time.

“You want to be able to give your kids anything they need,” Joe recalls, “and I couldn’t. But the scholarship made me feel like I could help… that I could play a part in my stepson going to university and graduating without student loans. I could contribute, because the Teamsters were there for me.”

Joe’s stepson graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, and at age twenty-five, has recently bought his first home. Joe still remembers the day of the scholarship showing up as one of the proudest moments of his life. “The scholarship made me feel like I was ten feet tall and bulletproof, because it meant that I was helping my family.”

In total, $900,000 in scholarships will be awarded to last years applicants and the recipients will be announced very soon. The deadline for this years application is September 30th, 2014. These resources are available because the Teamsters union has your back. Just ask Joe.

Together Strong

Teamsters Local 362 stands firm on the value that you have to be united to be strong. At 362 it’s not just about being part of a union – it’s about being part of a family. It’s a collective voice that demands to be listened to and it’s often the only voice that can be heard on the job. It’s also a voice that’s over 125,000 members strong across Canada! Through good times and bad the Teamsters fight for a fair wage, safe working conditions and secure employment. And like all strong families – we are extended. There are scholarships and pensions that ensure a bright future for all of our members.

Life happens and situations change but the Teamsters are a constant – fighting for your rights as a worker, but also helping the communities that you live in. After the floods hit Calgary in June of 2013, the Teamsters Local 362 gave ten thousand dollars to the Building Trades of Alberta who collectively gave two hundred and fifty thousand dollars to the Red Cross.-Longer lasting benefit with help of Joint Council 90 to Calgary Foundation.

The Teamsters also promote opportunity. Membership can include training, upgrading for certificates, safety courses, job boards and a youth committee that offers growth and investment within the union.

It’s an increasingly unstable time for employment in Alberta, as with the rest the country. Companies start up, flourish, and decline at a rate that’s unprecedented throughout Canada’s history. Now, more than ever, it is crucial to be a part of an organization that looks after the interests of the worker and their families.

With your continued involvement with Teamsters Local 362, you will see your pension grow, your quality of life improve, and your prospects for the future advance – for you and your family. Because we are a family!

Be part of a voice for workers across Alberta, Canada, and North America! Be part of a voice that strengthens the community, demands employment equity and security, and ensures a brighter future for generations to come. Be Union, be a Teamster!

Debunking Myths

What have the Teamsters ever done for me?

Everyday, Teamsters Local Union 362 is at work. What does that look like? It looks like the benefits that you are entitled to as a member. It looks like healthcare, pension plans and good wages. Local Union 362 cares about you and your family, and its number one priority is to ensure that your rights as a worker are respected and your wellbeing as a family is looked after.

Once you’ve become a member of Local Union 362, you become a part of their family. Local 362 will fight for you on any issue: there is nothing too big or too small. If it affects you, the union will be there for you. They don’t want to hear your problems and then disregard them, or lose them in paperwork. They want you to look to them to air grievances and then assist the process of ameliorating those problems.

The Teamsters want to set you up for a great present and a great future: with better benefits, safer workplaces, stronger pensions and higher wages. They understand that the combination of these factors is what will allow you to look after your family the best that you can. That matters to Local 362; that matters to the Teamsters.

At Local Union 362, you’re in a place where you are cared about as an individual. Once you’ve become a member, you’ve become a person whom the union will make sure has a work and home life that builds and builds, gets better and better, and most importantly, that those improvements happen fast. They will listen to your grievances, work to ensure fair settlements and arbitrate if necessary. With strength in solidarity, the Teamsters will do everything that they can to make sure that every member’s needs are looked after.

Above all, there is no group that is more passionate about the rights of workers. Teamsters Local Union 362 deeply cares about their Sisters and the Brothers, and they will fight for you on any issue.