Global Gender Gap Will Take Over A Century To Close

The good news is that the global pay gap between men and women is expected to close, but the bad news is that it is expected to take over a century.

The World Economic Forum released a Global Gender Gap report was released this week and found that it will take another 118 years, or until 2133, until the global pay gap is closed.

A positive result found in the study was that nearly a quarter of a billion more women are in the global workforce today than a decade ago, and in several countries more women are now going to university than men.

Despite this, the progress on closing the gap has stalled in recent years.

Over all, it found that Nordic countries are at the top of the list – Iceland came in first, followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden.

On the other end of the results Yemen came in last, followed by Pakistan, Syria and Chad.

Canada landed at 30th , with women only earning an average of 82 per cent of what men earn despite the fact that 34 per cent more women than men are going on to post-secondary education.

Canada only ranked 19th in equality of the sexes, because of ‘very low score over numbers of women in legislatures and in managerial positions.'

The report also found that women are ‘only now earning the amount that men did in 2006, a global average of $11,000 US, compared with $20,500 US for men.’ In Canada it estimated that ‘the average male earns the equivalent of $40,000 US, while women earn $32,916.’

Studies have shown that being a member of a union can help narrow the gap for all members of society, including women. Union members earn on average $5.28 per hour more than workers without a union and women earn $7.10 per hour more on average with a union, getting paid more fairly.

Waiting over years for the pay gap to close, is way too long. Both in Canada and globally, we need to see women in more positions of power and earning as much as their male counter parts.


Teamsters Local 362 Celebrates New Opportunities For Veterans In Alberta

Just days before Remembrance Day, an announcement was made by the Alberta government that will have a positive impact for Canadian Armed Forces.

Alberta transportation Minister Brian Mason announced that Alberta will now recognize the DND 404 military driver’s permit. Teamsters Canada has been a supporter of the initiative and were very happy with the announcement.

This means that they will be accepting military credentials for commercial driving licences, with an agreement that will allow current and retired Canadian Forces members to operate commercial vehicles without additional testing.

Many serving and retired veterans already acquire the needed driver training, qualifications and experience to drive heavy military vehicles on Canadian roads and abroad.

Despite this fact, until now these qualifications were not transferable into a commercial license.

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“The invaluable contribution of our Reservists must be fully recognized,” explained Roy Finley, Executive Assistant to the President of Teamsters Canada. "Organizations have everything to gain by hiring Reservists and giving them some flexibility so they can continue to be involved in the Armed Forces.”

This initiative stems from the Helmets to Hardhats Canada program, designed to give Canadian Armed Forces veterans the opportunity to obtain unionized – and therefore well-paid – jobs in the construction industry.

Teamsters Local 362 joined the initiative by Canada’s Building Trades Unions as there is expected to be a labour shortage in the coming years.

“I would like to congratulate the current Transportation Minister, Brian Mason, former Minister André Corbould as well as Sean Hammond of the Ministry, for being so proactive in dealing with the challenges facing the trucking industry,” said Rick Eichel, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local Union 362. “Without their dedication, none of this would have been possible.”

This will allow veterans to have more opportunities in the workforce as commercial drivers and also opens up the door for Teamsters Local 362 to provide more veterans with work opportunities in the future as demand for drivers grows.

“Canada cannot ignore talented people like our Reservists,” added Roy Finley. “These workers are highly motivated, skilled and loyal and I believe the Government of Alberta should encourage the employment of these Reservists.”


Trudeau Reinforces Commitment to Repeal Anti-Union Bills

 A commitment to repeal anti-union bills by the new Prime Minister, was reinforced last week.

Not only were labour unions happy about the announcement, but so were other social activist groups and citizens across Canada who were concerned about threats to rights and freedoms of all Canadians.

Last week Justin Trudeau spoke at the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) gathering in Ottawa. According to the Globe and Mail it was ‘the first time a sitting prime minister has addressed the country’s biggest labour body in more than 50 years.’

This past year, bills that had a direct affect on labour made headlines across the country. Bill C-525 and Bill C – 377 not only caused critics to question what effects they would have on labour unions, but Canadian's human rights in general.

During his election campaign, Trudeau promised to repeal the anti-union bills if he won.

His appearance at the CLC gathering, offered a perfect opportunity to see where Trudeau stood on the issues.

Trudeau was greeted with a large applause when he said he would ‘fufill the Liberal promise to repeal Bills C-377 and C-525 — the former Conservative government’s anti-union legislation.’

“Labour is not a problem, but a solution,” said Trudeau.

Bill C-377 received royal assent on June 30 after years of debate. The amendment to the Income Tax Act, targets labour organizations with the intention of creating ‘more transparency’, while critics argued it is unconstitutional and violates the rights and privacy of all Canadians.

The bill requires ‘unions, labour trusts and employee associations to disclose any transaction of more than $5,000, along with the names of the payer and payee, to the Canada Revenue Agency.’ Also included in the bill is that unions would have to disclose ‘any executive or officer who earns more than $100,000.’

Critics said that it was unconstitutional, not needed and costly and burdensome.

A main reason it is not needed is that many unions already share their financial statements with their members. Teamsters review their financial statements at regularly scheduled meetings, making the process transparent and open.

The bill is also unconstitutional in that  it would breach privacy laws concerning individual members, regarding information related to their health care and pension.

Bill C-525  would make the union certification process very difficult, eliminating the automatic card check certification and replacing it with a two-stage process adding a voting process in addition to card signing.

The Bill also changes decertification of a union and would be changed to where a minority could initiate a decertification vote.

Now that Trudeau has renewed a commitment to repeal the bills, labour groups will definitely be keeping a close eye on how he moves forward.


The Union Conversation: How To Talk To Your Coworkers About Unionizing

One of the most difficult steps of joining a union can be how to bring up the subject to other coworkers. You may be afraid they will go to your boss and say something, or will think of you differently after you bring it up.

The truth is, if you have been concerned about your workplace and strongly think a union would improve things, chances are other people feel the same way.

Here are 4 tips on how to have the union conversation.

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1. Start With Your Coworkers

When you are beginning to approach your fellow workers about the possibility of joining a union, it is best to start with those that you feel closest too. Talking to people you trust at work will allow you gauge how the staff is feeling and will also give you an honest answer.

2. Don't Assume

Always keep in mind that every situation is different and that other coworkers will have different concerns than you do. The best way to keep an open conversation is to ask a lot of questions. Do they feel safe in the workplace? What do they think could be done to make conditions better? Do they feel respected there?

3. Have a Conversation

One of the worst things you can do when approaching other coworkers is to come at them with a sales-pitch for joining a union. This doesn’t always seem genuine and won’t allow for a more open conversation where you find out more about the issues each worker is dealing with at work.

Download Our 5 Step Guide To Organizing!

4. Keep it Confidential

Throughout this process and during the early stages of organizing it is very important to keep things confidential. Not only do you put yourself at risk of having management find out you were thinking of organizing, but also other coworkers your may have been talking to. Suggest meeting an employee for coffee, or find other meeting places outside of work where you can discuss organizing.

Throughout the process of organizing and talking to fellow co-workers about unionizing, it is important to know that you can always reach out to an organizing department at your union. At Teamsters 362 our organizing department has helped thousands of new members go through the process of unionizing. Staying informed is one of the most important things you can do while taking to your coworkers, and an organizing department is there to help you.


Work Stress Can Shorten Lifespan, According To New Study

When the topic of work stress is brought up, there are several suggestions of how to combat the serious issue – vacations, taking a break for a while or exercising more and eating healthier.

In certain job positions and situations these are great options, but not for those people who have irregular schedules, no benefits, no protection against lay offs or have to work multiple jobs to get by.

Work stress for some is inevitable and chronic, and in a new study it has been found that it does actually shorten lives.

In the study done by researchers at Stanford and Harvard found that stressful workplace shorten life spans and the amount of life lost to stress ‘varies significantly for people of different races, educational levels and genders, and ranges up to nearly three years of life lost for some groups.’

Although some groups were affected more than others, across all demographics ‘the combination of layoffs, unemployment and lack of health insurance was the biggest contributor toward inequity in life spans.’ The biggest after that was low job control, job insecurity and shift work.

In an editorial about the study, the New York Times points out that ‘the unavoidable conclusion is that a healthier population requires healthier workplaces.’

Healthier workplaces tend to include job security, health care benefits and pensions – things that a union provides. Having someone to stand behind you when you are paid less than you should be or when an abusive boss or coworker is making the workplace unbearable is so important in creating a healthy work environment.

Another important element of a healthy work environment is mental health support for dealing with stress. While there are physical health requirement in workplaces, currently there are no mandatory mental health resources available – something Teamsters 362 and Teamsters Canada have been working towards changing.

The results of the study are clear, as we move into an economy of precarious work, low wages and unstable hours, more needs to be done to create healthier workplaces for all demographics.


5 Benefits of Joining A Union

When a workplace decides to organize and join a union, it is for a step up in the workplace, what has become known as the 'union advantage.' The complete list of why it has become such an advantage could be listed far beyond five reasons, but we thought we would get you started with some of the biggest benefits the come with having a union stand beside you in the workplace.

1. Higher Wages

On average union jobs in Canada pay $5.71 per hour more than non-union jobs. This advantage can help workers at all levels, whether you are younger and more inexperienced or have been in the job market for a long time. Not only will you know you have the union advantage of higher wages, you know your pay will be consistent and there will be no discrepancies.

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2. Support

A key advantage is knowing that you have an entire union backing you up and giving you support in the workplace. Representatives from the union including shop stewards and business agents act as your liaison between you and the union and management. You know you always have someone to talk to and who will be on your side.

3. Job Security

With a union behind you, you know that your job and seniority within a company is secure. A manager or boss do not have the authority to fire, demote or lay you off without the union stepping in. Because of this union workplaces tend to have far less turnovers.

4. Training

Investment in training is one of the great advantages of being in a union. Developing your skills in the workplace is something that will add to your value in the workplace and increase your chances of promotion. There are also training opportunities to grow within the union, such as becoming a shop steward or business agent.

Download Our 5 Step Guide To Organizing!

5. Health and Safety

Health benefits are one of the biggest advantages of joining a union, especially if you have a family that you are hoping to have benefit from the benefits as well. Within the workplace the union will make sure that you have a safe environment to work in both for your physical and mental health.


Workplace Discrimination Still An Issue In Canada

Discrimination in the workplace is not a problem that is nation specific, it is a global issue that prevents many workers from getting or keeping a job.

recent study conducted by international human resources consulting firm Randstad, shows that Canada still has issues when it comes to workplace discrimination.

One in five Canadians said that they had been discriminated against at work because of gender, and the survey also found that a significant percentage of Canadians said they had been discriminated against because of sexual orientation, religious beliefs and age.

The survey found that 26 per cent of Canadians said they have experienced age-based discrimination, 17 per cent said they experienced racial discrimination and 16 per cent have been discriminated against because of sexual orientation.

Faith Tull is Randstad Canada’s senior vice-president of human resources and stated that we still have a lot of work to do in an interview with the Globe and Mail.

“While I personally believe that Canada has some of the best human-rights laws in the world, I do believe that there’s still work to be done and employers should realize that there’s still work to be done.”

And this is not the only study that has suggested Canada is falling behind when it comes to workplace discrimination according to the article.

Canada was ranked 14th on the World Economic Forum ranking of countries by their gender pay gaps in 2006, and by 2014, Canada had slipped to 19th place while other countries moved up.

Blaine Donais is the president and founder of the Workplace Fairness Institute.

He pointed out in an interview with the National Post that incidents involving unionized employees play out differently than non-union complaints ‘because employers have to establish just cause for termination.’

Companies can refuse to hire or fire non-unionized workers for any reason, as long as it is not a human rights violation.

Having a union to back you when it comes to any form of discrimination in the workplace is extremely helpful. You can ensure that your level of seniority is recognized, you are not fired for an unjust reason or not paid the proper wage.

The gender wage gap, while still clearly an issue for Canada, has become less of an issue for women who are unionized. They earn $7.10/hour more and are paid more fairly than non-unized workers.

The results from the Randstad survey show that Canada still has work to do when it comes to workplace discrimination and emphasizes the importance of having someone to stand up for your rights in the workplace.


Global Middle Class Shrinking, As Report Finds Richest 1% Owns Half Of All Wealth In The World

It is official, the richest one per cent now owns half of all the wealth in the world, and unfortunately it also looks as though the global middle class is shrinking as this happens, according to a new study.

Credit Suisse recently released its annual report on global wealth, and according to the CBC, this marks the first time that the world’s richest group has amassed enough wealth to cross that line.

The report also found that from 2008 on wealth gains have been shifting away from the middle class in favour of those at higher wealth levels. This has created a decline in the middle class wealth in ‘every region since 2001 and a decline in all regions except for China for the entire 2000 – 2015 period.’

Also troubling is that 3.4 billion adults – 71 per cent of the world's population — find themselves on the bottom tier and are worth less than $10,000 US.

As the wealthiest group are growing, middle class families around the world are shrinking and this may have a correlation to the fact that there is overall less union membership than there was in the past.

There are not as many workers with a union to back them and fight for their equality and wages.

Studies have shown that as unions are thriving, so does the middle-class.

Unions allow members to have better wages, good benefits and pensions – allowing for upward mobility and strength in this section of earners.

This was found in a study earlier this year by economist Hugh Mackenzie and statistician Richard Shillington. They said a union card is ‘a ticket into middle-class stability.’

“Workers represented by a union tend to move a notch or two up the income ladder,” said Mackenzie. “They’re not only better positioned to weather economic storms, they’re more likely to experience the Canadian middle-class dream of upward income mobility.”

With this more recent study, it seems we need to be looking at how we can shift the distribution of our wealth so that the global middle class won’t be on a downward slope, while the wealthiest are on an incline.