When is it time to join a union?

If you feel your rights as a worker are being abused, it might be time to think about joining a union.

Whether you’re unhappy with your hours, feel you’re underpaid or generally go unheard at work, there are a million reasons to consider unionizing

But what do you do after you’ve made the big decision to join a union?

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Step 1: Talk to your co-workers. Chances are if you’re feeling unhappy at work, so is someone else (just make sure all conversations surrounding the formation of a union happen outside of company time). You need support from at least half your co-workers, keeping in mind that excludes management.

Step 2: Get in touch with Teamsters 362. We take pride in protecting your privacy, and our organizers will help assess your circumstances and workplace issues before moving forward.

Step 3: Pick a select group of workers who can speak on the behalf of all other employees wanting to unionize. This small team will work closely with Teamsters 362 to develop and execute an organization strategy.

Step 4: The application for membership cards begins. These cards are confidential, and your Teamsters representative will help you complete them properly. The card acts as a thumbs-up for Teamsters to represent each individual worker.

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Step 5: A specific percentage of cards must be completed and signed before Local 362 files to the labour board. At that time, Teamsters will also send in an application for certification on the employee’s behalf.

No matter where or when you decide to unionize, Local 362 will protect your privacy and use our access to labour experts to assist us with health and safety issues.

The first steps in the organizational process come from you, but your union will be there to support along the way.


Low-paying jobs and precarious work vacancies rising

It’s been a rough few years for Albertans.

Between consecutive recessions and the financial impacts of the Fort McMurray wildfire, workers are facing the tightest labour markets seen in almost 30 years.

In 2014, Alberta had the highest job vacancy rate in the country. Since the wildfire, the province’s unemployment rate has jumped from 7.2 to 7.8 per cent, with more than 24,000 jobs lost.

Despite these disheartening numbers, Alberta still has the highest job vacancy rate in Canada, with Banff-Jasper-Rocky Mountain House the top of the vacancy chain with a rate of 3.6 per cent.

But if there are so many jobs available, why are unemployment rates skyrocketing?

A recent study revealed that most in-demand jobs today are low-paying and in areas like the foodservice and retail industries. Out of all the job vacancies in Canada, 14 per cent “were for retail salespeople and food counter workers.”

Teamsters 362 has and continues to provide support for those who have lost their jobs or aren’t earning enough. In an economic crisis where the only jobs available are low-wage, unions can fight for better hours and higher wages.

Local 362 also protects the rights of young union workers who, in many cases, are only able to get low-level or precarious work. According to another study, “young union workers earn $4.92/hr more than non-unionized workers.”

As long as the Alberta economy stays as is, work grows more precarious and more unstable. In times of uncertainty, Teamsters is there to help Alberta workers gets the wages they deserve.

 


The Power of Collective Bargaining

What can a collective agreement do for you?

Unions fight for the rights of employees everywhere - that’s our job.

Since the early 1900s, Canadian unions have negotiated on behalf of workers. But getting results like better wages, safe working conditions, and health and welfare support can’t happen without a collective agreement between employees and employers.

The result of collective bargaining is a legal binding agreement -- a collective agreement -- that governs all different arenas crucial to a healthy and prosperous work environment.

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Here are a few areas collective agreements cover:

Wages

Especially when it comes to things like money, negotiating rate of pay for employees isn’t quite as simple as a handshake over lunch. Legal contracts are crucial to pay equality, regulating work salaries, and putting in place appropriate wage scales.

Working conditions

Fair working conditions as well as safe physical and mental environments are imperative for an employee’s well being. A collective agreement puts legal implements in place to ensure things like hours, rest periods and working schedules are at the standard they should be.

Grievance procedures

Managing conflict is one of the trickiest aspects employers and employees face. Between mental health issues, workplace bullying and personality clashes, having legal dispute resolution mechanisms in place has been one of the most revolutionary progressions in labour history.

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Fringe benefits

Collective agreements are also beneficial for solidifying fringe benefit contracts, or in other words, the “perks” of the job. Things like transportation, subsidized meals and health insurance can be bargained for and incorporated into a legal agreement.

Teamsters 362 believes collective agreements are essential in protecting the best interests of Canadian workers. Local 362 manages 100 collective bargaining agreements, which covers 6,800 members across Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

Having Local 362 protect your rights through a labour contract is essential to earning fair wages, safe working conditions and so many other key aspects of an employee’s job environment.


Remembering the HUB Mall Tragedy

It’s been four years since G4S employee Travis Baumgartner shot Eddie Rejano, Brian Ilesic, Michelle Shegelski and Matthew Schuman, four of his co-workers at G4S in Edmonton. Rushed to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the head, Schuman was the only victim to survive.

The impact of this event didn’t just last for a moment – it sent shockwaves throughout the entire community including friends, family and coworkers.

A process of healing began and now even four years later, the G4S HUB Mall tragedy is a stark reminder of how important it is to make mental health education and support in the workplace a priority.

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Teamsters 362 decided to embark on a campaign looking at the stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace and the dire need for more support. The campaign is called ‘Make It Mandatory’ and aims to make mental health support and education a requirement for all workplaces in Canada.

The documentary video campaign has reached a hundreds of thousands of people across the country and has had a positive impact on members of the Teamsters community and beyond.  Both traditional and social media featured our series including Upworthy, Global news and CTV news.

Key mental health organizations reached out to us to work further to raise awareness about mental health issues across Canada and we now have a reputation as leaders in the labour movement when it comes to mental health activism.

We are now partnered with the Canadian Mental Health Association of BC and are introducing there 'Safe and Sound' workshop into our collective bargaining agreements.

No one should have to feel stigma or prejudice associated with mental illness in any aspect of their lives, including where they work.

Today, almost one fourth of Canadians suffer from mood and anxiety disorders, and another three million are coping with depression.

We need to do more. Together we can work towards ensuring devastating incidents like the G4S HUB Mall never happen again.

Our thoughts are with the families and coworkers of the victims of the Hub Mall shooting. We will never forget.

For more about the campaign, please visit: http://www.teamsters362.com/mental-health/

 


Teamsters Truck Supports Loops For the Troops

The Teamsters truck was out for one of our favourite events in Edmonton on June 5, Loops for the Troops. The 8th annual fun run and walk was held at the CFB Edmonton Lecture Training Facility.

This is the 5th year that Teamsters has been a part of the event, with the truck providing the stage, music and MC equipment.
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The first Loops for the Troops took place in Calgary in 2008 in honour of Cpl Nathan Hornburg, who was killed while on active duty in Afghanistan. In 2009, a partnership was formed with the family of fallen soldier Cpl Bryce Keller M.M.V. from Edmonton and the event began to take place there as well.

The event is dedicated to Canadian Armed Forces, veterans, first-response services and their families.

The proceeds from the event helps organizations across the country that support military and first responder families


What does workplace safety look like in Canada?

People work so they can live. They have mortgages, savings and children to worry about -- they shouldn’t have to be anxious about feeling safe at work.

And safety at work comes in a lot of forms.

Despite technological advancements and improvements in safety rules and standards in the workplace, too many employees are getting hurt -- even killed -- on the job.

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The deaths earlier this year of Albertan workers at sites in Joffre and Redwater are clear reminders that workplace safety is still an issue.

The most current data from Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) shows that Alberta fatality rates were down from 2013 to 2014, but the number of workplace-related deaths in 2014 (a total of 169), was still higher than the three years previous.

Disabling injury claims increased to 55,245 that year, and today there are still hundreds of worksite injuries that go unaccounted for -- in too many cases, the need to work is greater than reporting an injury.

Are you safer at work with a union?

It’s an ongoing fight for workers’ rights. Teamsters 362 stands up for better working conditions, and at the forefront of our battleground is safety in the workplace.

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We can improve workplace standards by listening to safety concerns, and demanding better legislation. Collective bargaining, safety committees and fighting on every worker’s behalf, is how we protect employees.

Mental health supports are more important now than ever. Our recent campaign,Make it Mandatory, calls on everyone in the workplace to take action, to fight against mental health stigmas and lay better foundations for success.

Let’s work together to keep everyone safe.


Alberta Cancer Foundation Thank You Letter

Please click the link below to view the thank you letter for the 2016 Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer.

Alberta Cancer Foundation


Appreciation Certificate From Royal Canadian Legion

Please click the link below to view the certificate of appreciation that was issued by the Alberta-NWT Command of the Royal Canadian Legion.

 

Certificate of Appreciation - Royal Canadian Legion


Update: Fort McMurray residents begin to head home

The fight is far from over, but after weeks of devastation and displacement, residents and workers of Fort McMurray will finally be able to start returning home during the following weeks.

Amidst the haze still hanging over the fire-swept city, community and operations teams are working tirelessly to restore and clean up Fort McMurray and welcome evacuees home. A voluntary, phased re-entry began June 1, with complete re-entry by June 15.

Although some engineers and environmental hygienists have warned of toxic smoke in some buildings due to the burning of chemical products like vinyl and paint, experts say most residents are safe to re-enter.

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has declared the wildfire hazard to be moderate in the Fort McMurray area, but spanning almost 600,000 hectares, the fire is still boldly blazing on.

Having reached Alberta’s firefighting capacity, the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre has called on the rest of the country for help. But the call reached more than just Canadians; the global-scale attention of this disaster has countries around the world lending a hand. Last week, Edmonton welcomed the arrival of close to 280 firefighters from South Africa ready to battle the blaze.

Teamsters 362 is working diligently support evacuees and those returning home. We have set up a trust fund for the short and long-term aid of our membership and community, and are working in conjunction with Teamsters Canada, the National Joint Council and other local unions.

Having to evacuate our own office in Fort McMurray, we are looking forward to coming home and helping the workers we care about get back on their feet.

Our thoughts are with the people of Fort McMurray. Together strong. For more information or to donate, please visit teamsters362.com.


17th Annual Vehicles & Violins Gala

Please click the link below to view the thank you letter from this years' participation.

17th Annual Vehicles & Violins Gala