Keeping workers safe should be a top priority

Now more than ever, the Alberta government is grappling with how to ensure workplace safety orders are followed by employers.

Merwan Saher, Alberta’s auditor general, said it’s the responsibility of the labour department to enforce compliance for all orders issued by Alberta Occupational Health and Safety (OHS).

In a report released this past week, Saher noted that “the department is unable to demonstrate, with evidence, that it has a complete set of processes to apply department policies to keep Alberta’s workers safe.”

Employers failing to comply have started receiving fines and administrative penalties, but Saher said there’s no way to assess how these safety programs actually prevent injury and lost time.

The report stated a huge problem was the lack of proper documentation on the part of OHS. Allegedly recommendations by the auditor suggested in 2010 are still not being followed, and the labour department is altogether abandoning their original Work Safety Alberta strategy.

While news stories seem to go back and forth putting blame on the former PC government, the facts remain that many Alberta employees still face unsafe working conditions — no matter whose fault it is.

Being a unionized worker means having access to rights that all Albertans need to be healthy and productive. Unions set the bar for health and safety in all workplaces through collective bargaining.

 

At Teamsters 362, we bargain on your behalf to ensure collective agreements are reached that are fair to both employees and employers. Share your grievances — we’re here to listen.
To learn more, visit Local 362 online at: http://www.teamsters362.com/


The Teamsters Truck Celebrates the Stampede

The greatest outdoor show on earth is underway again in Calgary and that means so are Stampede pancake breakfasts. The Teamsters 362 Truck, which stops at 25 charity events a year, stopped by a very special breakfast on July 12 during the Calgary Stampede.

The Military Family Resource Centre celebrated their 25th year by celebrating in Stampede style and Teamsters 362 was proud to be a part of it.

Several honoured guests took to the Teamsters stage including MP Kent Hehr, the Stampede Queen and Princess – all there to share in the Stampede spirit and support the troops.

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GardaWorld Employees Are Safe And Supported after Robbery Attempt In Edmonton

A man is dead after an attack on two GardaWorld armoured truck guards outside a southwest Edmonton bank early Friday morning.

Police said the guards were approached by two men, who demanded cash from the GardaWorld employees then pepper sprayed them.

One of the guards fired his gun, shooting the suspect and leaving him dead on the scene.

The man had a lengthy criminal record according to CBC news and was on probation.

GardaWorld Security issued a statement saying the involved guards are safe and being supported.

“Following an attack on our operations this morning July 8, our crew is safe and we are providing support to them and their families, as well as to our employees at the Edmonton branch. The incident is under investigation and we are fully co-operating with the Edmonton police department. We cannot provide any additional information at this time.”

Teamsters Local 362's Business Agent Jordan Madarash immediately reached out to the members in question letting them know that the Local is there to provide any support they may require.

Incidents like this reinforce the importance of mental health supports in the workplace.

Just last month marked four years since the HUB Mall tragedy when G4S employee Travis Baumgartner shot Eddie Rejano, Brian Ilesic, Michelle Shegelski and Matthew Schuman, four of his co-workers at G4S in Edmonton.

Teamsters 362 decided to embark on a campaign looking at the stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace and the need for more support calledMake It Mandatory.

We are still working to spread awareness and push for more mental health resources for employees.


Alberta Minimum Wage Update: Province will raise minimum wage by $1 in October

The battle to delay the minimum wage hike in Alberta rages on, with a sharp line drawn between small business lobbyists and workers’ rights groups.

Restaurants Canada recently launched an online petition to push back the government’s plan to raise minimum wage; a new survey by the same group revealed more than half of respondents agreed “the implementation of a $15 minimum wage should be delayed.”

But on June 30 it was announced that Alberta's minimum wage will rise by $1 to $12.20 per hour on Oct. 1. This will mark the very first of a three-staged increase that will reach a $15 minimum wage by 2018.

Those who support the plan for fairer wages are very pleased with the announcement.

Alberta Labour Minister Christina Gray said that the government ‘believes that the minimum wage for full-time work should at least allow people to meet their basic needs.’

As of May 2016, Alberta’s minimum wage was officially raised from $10.20 (the lowest in Canada) to $11.20 per hour. Gray stated that increased minimum wages will “reduce poverty, lower the burden on social programs, increase worker satisfaction and lower employee turnover.”

Those who were hoping to delay the plan argued it’s not the right time to increase employee wages. Between the economic recession and the high number of job vacancies in Alberta (the province’s jobless rate rose to 7.2 per cent this year), groups like Restaurants Canada continue to be fearful the plan will result in further job losses across the province.

Local labour market data showed that almost 17,000 Alberta jobs could evaporate this year, a number almost four times higher than anywhere else in Canada.

Non-unionized workers can be at a higher risk that unionized employees; not only do they make an average of 15 per cent less in wages, but are sometimes forced to work precarious jobs with unstable hours and no benefits.

But labour minister Gray and others like the Alberta Federation of Labour are optimistic, and support the NDP government’s promise to achieve a $15 per hour minimum by 2018.

 

 


Garda Arbitration Decision sets Precedent

When employees are not paid fairly for their time, they need someone to stand up for their rights.

And a recent arbitration decision proved why having a union to back you up is so important when fighting for those rights and negotiating for a fair workplace.

An issue regarding training was brought forward recently for Garda pre - board screening members at Edmonton and Calgary International Airports.

Transport Canada requires that employees must have an RAIC (Red Pass) in order to perform their duties as a screening officer and this pass is issued by the airport authority.

The company’s position was that this was not a certification that should be their responsibility, but rather the responsibility of the client, CATSA.

Members were doing this certification test on their own time and without pay.

Teamsters 362 believed our members should be compensated and paid for the time they spent on the training and any future time they spend on it.

We proceeded to arbitration with the employer, and in the end, they decided in favour of our members.

The arbitrator agreed with the argument that without the RAIC, the employee cannot perform their duties. It is not just a ‘request’ but rather a requirement of their role.

“This was great precedent to set going forward for future issues of training that may occur in one of our many industries that we look after,” said Jordan Madarash, Business Agent with Teamsters Local 362.

Members that already did their renewal will be compensated and all those who do the renewal moving forward will be compensated.