Alberta Introduces New Bill Regarding Labour Laws

After much public debate, the Alberta NDP government tabled Bill 17: The Fair and Family-Friendly Workplaces Act. This marks the first amendments to Alberta’s labour laws in nearly 30 years.

In early March the NDP started to consult the public about what changes should be made, and these new laws have taken 10 weeks to put together.

Labour leaders around the province have applauded many of the changes included in the bill, pointing out we have been out of step with the rest of Canada for too long.

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But of course there was opposition.

The Wildrose and Progressive Conservatives have stated that they believe the changes should be split into two bills to allow for more consultation.

Wildrose leader Brian Jean said the NDP is trying to pressure opposition parties to vote for all of the changes in the bill by including them with ‘compassionate leave for workers.’ He also added he thinks secret ballot voting for unionization should still be used every time.

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Some of the highlights from the bill include:

·      The minimum work age will be raised to 13 from 12 years old.

·      Employers will be prevented from docking employee pay if a customer leaves without paying

·      Job protection for unpaid leave for personal reasons such as illness, injury, domestic violence, family responsibility or disappearance of a child.

·      Unions could be certified without a secret ballot if more than 65 per cent of employees had verified membership cards, but less than 60.

·      Family members who are employed on a family farm would be exempt from employment standards.


Income Volatility Impacting Over 3 million Canadians.

Unstable employment and precarious work affects Canadians across the country in one way or another, but a new study has shown that some groups are particularly affected.

TD Bank Group released a study last week highlighting the fact that a steady paycheque is especially difficult for millennials and older men from Generation X.

Bharat Masrani, CEO of TD Bank Group, said that the volatility of income for these groups can affect people’s ‘confidence in creating a future.’

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“Our findings suggest the impact is both pervasive and profound – making it hard for many people to live the life they want today, let alone plan for and feel confident about their future. It’s a subject worthy of closer examination,” said Masrani.

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The report found that an estimated 10 million Canadians experience income volatility, with 3.3 million Canadians whose monthly income can fluctuate by 25 per cent or more.

Overall, self-employed Canadians appear to be the most impacted, followed by seasonal workers, those who can’t work, part-time workers, students and lower-income Canadians.

When looking at all of the provinces, the highest rate of income volatility was found in Alberta, a province that has been effected by the fall in oil and gas prices.

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In these precarious jobs people lack the ability to join a union, which can improve not only the quality of life at work, but home life as well. Unionized employees have better wages, more job security, benefits and the comfort of knowing they have support in the workplace.

One of the most important parts of being in a union is knowing you will not face job volatility with a collective agreement in place. With rising precarious work and job volatility, being a union member has become more important than ever.


Teamsters 362 Highlights May 26

Each week Teamsters Local 362 will update our members on what is happening within the local and what our business agents are doing outside of their daily responsibilities. Make sure you check in to see what is happening in the union.

CURRENT MEETINGS
Business Agent Jordan Madarash had a branch visit with Garda Pre-Board Screeners in Fort McMurray this week.

CURRENT BARGAINING
Business Agents Jordan Madarash and Mary Snyder, and Vice-President Wayne Garner have been bargaining all week with Clean Harbours.

Business Agent Ryan Adams will be attending the voting of the Memorandum of Agreement for Grimshaw Trucking LP and will be taking proposals for the Grimshaw Trucking L.P Clerical this coming Sunday.

UPCOMING EVENTS

The 12 Stop Ride For Recovery has announced a date for its ninth year, and Teamsters 362 is proud to take part in it. The fundraiser is a 'scavenger hunt style' motorcycle ride to increase awareness of addiction helps us raise funds for the Fresh Start Recovery Centre. Find more information here. This year it will take place on Aug. 26. Come and meet some of the staff and executive from Teamsters 362 who will be taking part in the ride.


Teamsters 362 Highlights May 19

Each week Teamsters Local 362 will update our members on what is happening within the local and what our business agents are doing outside of their daily responsibilities. Make sure you check in to see what is happening in the union.

CURRENT MEETINGS
Business Agent Shaun Quaghebeur was at UPS Edmonton South for focus meetings where the Stewards, Management and Union get together to discuss ongoing issues, in hopes to solve them prior to becoming grievances or safety concerns.

Quaghebeur will also be visiting Zenith to get signatures on the new CBA, so that we can have booklets printed up.

On Friday VIce-President Wayne Garner spent the day with the organizing department at Local 117 in Seattle Washington. The purpose of the trip was to learn from them as they are considered by many to be the strongest organizing Local in the Teamsters.

CURRENT BARGAINING
Quaghebeur is continuing on the bargaining document for Progressive Waste with bargaining happening through the week.

IMPORTANT NEWS

This week Business Agent Jordan Madarash and Vice-President Wayne Garner attended the Victims of Homicide Conference - Touched by Murder Moving Forward - Building Hope.  A special thank you to Dianne and Mike Ilesic for the invitation to attend as it truly is an honour to be amongst so many resilient people from every walk of life moving forward after suffering a loss that we truly can't comprehend.

Vice-President Wayne Garner met with Garda CIT in Calgary to address some outstanding grievances.

Business Agent Ryan Adams has announced that Triple Random has ratified their agreement by 100 per cent.

President Al Porter and Wayne Garner continued to work on the final proof reading of the Alberta Master Agreement with the CMPA.

UPCOMING EVENTS

The 12 Stop Ride For Recovery has announced a date for its ninth year, and Teamsters 362 is proud to take part in it. The fundraiser is a 'scavenger hunt style' motorcycle ride to increase awareness of addiction helps us raise funds for the Fresh Start Recovery Centre. This year it will take place on Aug. 26. Come and meet some of the staff and executive from Teamsters 362 who will be taking part in the ride.


Mobbing: One of the Worst Kinds of Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying is a major issue in workplaces across Canada and can take many different forms. One of the ones that is the hardest to deal with is what is known as ‘mobbing’.

Mobbing is when a worker enlists co-workers to ‘collude in a relentless campaignof psychological terror against a hapless target.’

According to psychologists, the target of the bullying is typically someone who is different from the rest of the group and tend to be women or racialized workers. They also pointed that 30 per cent of all workplace bullying is mobbing, and the trend is growing.

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They said that workplaces that are organized by bureaucracy or hierarchy are the most susceptible to this type of bullying.

In Alberta, Alberta Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) has taken notice of workplace bullying and have talked of implementing workplace harassment policies into an update of its code.

If you are experiencing mobbing or bullying at work it is important to document everything that is happening – keep a journal, keep emails and text messages.

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Make sure you have mental health support to deal with the bullying. Whether it is by a single person or a group, dealing with bullying can have a huge toll on your mental well-being.

Another option is to contact your trade union about the bullying behaviour – reaching out to a shop steward, business agent or any member you feel comfortable sharing the issue with. If you are not yet a part of a union, calling them and finding out what your rights are is also an action you could take.

Trade unions are there to stand up for all of your rights as a worker and ensure that you are working in a safe and healthy work environment –  that definitely includes workplace harassment.

 

 

 


PTSD Needs to be Taken Seriously in the Workplace

Workplace mental health is beginning to get the attention it deserves, but one area that we still need to work on is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Evidence of this can be found in one of Canada’s own RCMP. The Auditor General will be releasing a report this Tuesday on mental health concerns for the RCMP, and one of the biggest concerns excepted to be discussed is the PTSD officers experience from the traumatic events they deal with.

According to the PTSD Association of Canada, PTSD is ‘a lasting consequence of traumatic ordeals that cause intense fear, helplessness or horror, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, an accident, war, or natural disaster and more.’

The Globe and Mail reported that the RCMP has been drastically overhauling it’s mental health strategy since 2013 and is working on training all staff on mental health services by 2018. But people still fall through the cracks.

And the RCMP are not alone. A recent investigation by CBC News found that Data ‘one in 20 employees at federal prisons have been diagnosed with PTSD or other stress injuries since 2011.’

Jeff Wilkins, Atlantic president of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, also pointed out that many suffer in silence, so the numbers are probably quiet higher.

But Provinces have been making strides. Last year Manitoba recognized PTSD as a work-related disease, marking the first time that PTSD has been included as an occupational disease by a Workers Compensation Board in Canada.

Alberta already has legislation in place, which allows first responders to receive compensation for PTSD without having to prove their condition is work-related and was the first province in Canada to provide that type of coverage.

Teamsters 362’s mental health awareness campaign Make it Mandatory also explored this issue and called for mandatory mental health support in all workplaces in Canada.

It’s clear that more needs to be done when it comes to this mental health issue in workplaces and beyond.


Teamsters 362 Highlights May 12

Each week Teamsters Local 362 will update our members on what is happening within the local and what our business agents are doing outside of their daily responsibilities. Make sure you check in to see what is happening in the union.

CURRENT MEETINGS

Business Agent Shaun Quaghebeur is working on MacCosham City P&D Memorandum of Agreement with voting that happened on Friday.  He is also working on bargaining docs for Progressive Waste, which will resume bargaining next week.

Shaun is also attending a resolution conference scheduled for Lafarge Edmonton and us.

IMPORTANT NEWS

Business agents Jordan Madarash and Mary Snyder, and Vice-President Wayne Garner were in Toronto for the Canadian Labour Congress Convention in support of President Hassan Yussef. Mary spoke to the convention about the issues of mental health and our initiatives about the topic and also the fires that devastated Fort McMurray. One major point she spoke about is the large number of people from Fort McMurray who have suffered or will suffer from PTSD because of the fires.

Vice-President Wayne Garner attended the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Unity Conference this week. He said it was a privilege to be in attendance to watch the newly elected General Executive Board being sworn in. Outside of the this years swearing in ceremony the Unity Conference is a key yearly event of great importance as the leadership of the Local Unions attend to discuss relevant issues in the multitude of industries in which our 1.2 million members in Canada, USA and Puerto Rico are employed. President of Teamsters Canada François Laporte addressed the attendees with some information on the economic impact of NAFTA as it relates to both Canada and the USA, as well as updated the leadership on the latest success stories the Teamsters have experienced in Canada.

UPCOMING EVENTS

The 12 Stop Ride For Recovery has announced a date for its ninth year, and Teamsters 362 is proud to take part in it. The fundraiser is a 'scavenger hunt style' motorcycle ride to increase awareness of addiction helps us raise funds for the Fresh Start Recovery Centre. This year it will take place on Aug. 26. Come and meet some of the staff and executive from Teamsters 362 who will be taking part in the ride.


More Provinces Commit To Raising Minimum Wage

Minimum wage has been a hot topic in the news this month. On May 4 The NDP government in Nova Scotia announced a plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, phased in over 3 years.

On May 1 Quebec raised its minimum wage $11.25 from $10.75 and Manitoba has hinted at raising their minimum wage as well.

But many have said that the hike in Quebec and the proposed hike in Manitoba is not enough, and advocates across Canada say that many provinces do not have a minimum wage that is enough for people to live on.

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Inequality is an issue in Canada. A recent study by the conference board of Canada ranked us 13 out of 16 peer countries on the measure of inequality and we had the fourth highest poverty rate.

Craig Riddell from the University of B.C.’s Vancouver School of Economics pointed out in an interview with the Globe and Mail that between 1982 and 2010 the bottom 90 per cent of Canadians counted a total growth n family income of 2 per cent, while the top 10 percent experienced 75 per cent.

“The distribution of the gains have been extremely uneven and most of the benefits have gone to the people at the very top,” he said.

The Alberta NDP government has said that they will officially raise the minimum wage to $15 and hour by Oct.1, 2018.

Critics have said that this increase will hurt businesses already suffering in the recession, while those supporting the raise in wage argue the impact on businesses won’t be very significant.

Currently the living wage in Calgary is $18.15 and in Edmonton it is $16.69.

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Joining a union is something that can benefit all workers when it comes to wages, health and welfare and job security.

Union workers earn $4.88 per hor more than non union, with women earning $7.76 per hour more, aboriginal workers earning $8.47 per hour more and new Canadians earning $3.49 per hour more.

As the year goes on it will be interesting to see how many other provinces and territories jump on raising the minimum wage.


Statistics Canada Census Shares Important Information About the Workplace

The Canadian 2016 census was released this week and there were some important findings for Canada’s workforce.

For the first time since Canada began conducting the census, there are more senior citizens than children living in Canada with 5.9 million people aged 65 and over. Statistics Canada attributes this to the post-war baby boom.

Currently there are more people entering retirement than entering it.

The prairie provinces, including Alberta, have a younger population than the overall average. Calgary has the highest percentage of working aged people.

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Despite this, youth employment opportunities remain low in major cities while the opposite was true for older workers. Researchers think that one factor could be lack of employment opportunities when young people leave school.

Another important factor and is that the majority of seniors are women and there are a number of issues they have to consider.

Women are outliving men so they need to plan better for retirement. They also continue to face a gender pay gap while working, which will follow them into retirement.

Women are more likely to enter and exit the workforce to raise children, this effects their advancement and also their ability to save for retirement.

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Being a union member is one way to help address these issues.

According to the Canadian labour Congress, 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. With a collective agreement, women can ensure that they will be paid equally for equal work.

Joining a union also means that you also can start saving for retirement with a pension. At Teamsters Local 362 our pension program is something that we are very proud of and our members always comment on.

As our population ages we need to make sure Canada takes care of our seniors in the workplace and in retirement.


Getting Loud for Mental Health Week

This week marks the 66th annual Canadian Mental Health Association Mental Health Week. This week is meant to encourage people to ‘learn, talk, reflect and engage with others on all issues relating to mental health.’

This year they are asking people to #GETLOUD for mental health. They are asking Canadians writing their MPs, speaking out on social media, and donating our time and money, all in the name of getting loud for mental health.

Mental Health issues cost the Canadian economy over $50 billion each year and more than one in four Canadians are at high risk for mental health issues.

But some people are at more risk than others according to a new Ipsos report.

They found that millennials, women and people with low incomes are the most susceptible. They also found that based on Canadians levels of stress and depression 41 per cent of Canadians are at high risk for mental illness, up from 35 per cent last year.

The study found that 63 per cent of millennials were in the high-risk category, compared with 41 per cent of Gen X and 24 per cent of Baby Boomers. Forty-seven per cent of women were at high risk, compared to 36 per cent of men. Nearly 50 per cent of those earning less than $40,000 a year were at high-risk.

The regional breakdown put B.C. as number one for residents falling into the high-risk category, followed by Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Teamsters 362 has been fighting to end the stigma surrounding mental health with two major initiatives – Make it Mandatory and You Are Not Alone.

Make it Mandatory was created after tragedy struck some of our members in 2012. Travis Baumgartner fatally shot three of his coworkers, Eddie Rejano, Brian Ilesic and Michelle Shegelski, a fourth, Matthew Schuman, rushed to hospital with a gunshot wound.

We wanted to do more to bring attention to mental health support in the workplace after this incident and encourage the government to make mental health support in the workplace mandatory.

You Are Not Alone was a docuseries that was created when we saw rising suicide rates in Alberta.

Our eight-part docuseries travelled around Alberta to hear from those who have been directly affected by suicide and advocates who are speaking out and trying to raise awareness.

We have also negotiated mental health support into collective bargaining agreements.

Ending the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide is so important for all Canadians, so make sure you take the time to #GETLOUD this week.