Alberta NDP Government Hopes New Bill Will Better Protect Workers

The Alberta government has been paying a lot of attention to labour in our province this year, something that is long overdue.

First there was Bill 17, the Fair and Family-Friendly Workplaces Act, that was passed in June. This saw significant changes to provincial labour law, including union certification.

Now the NDP has introduced large changes with Bill 30, An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans.

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“Every Albertan should be able to go to work and come home healthy and safe at the end of the workday. When they don’t, they deserve to have access to the medical and financial supports they need to get healthy, care for their families and return to work,” said Christina Gray, Alberta Minister of Labour at a press conference on Monday.

She explained that this bill would better protect Albertans and provide fair compensation to Albertans injured on the job.

This bill if passed would mean an improved Workers Compensation Board system with ‘greater benefits to workers to support their return to work.’ The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS) would see changes to ensure Albertan’s have the same rights as other Canadians in the workplace.

According to the Edmonton Journal, The WCB paid out 144 fatality claims in 2016, as well as more than 44,500 disabling injury claims.

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Teamsters Local 362 was happy to see that some of the proposed changes included better coverage and support for those dealing with mental health issues at work. Local 362 has fought for every workplace to have mandatory mental health support with multiple campaigns you can find here.

Bill Highlights:

Workers’ Compensation Board changes

·       Establishing an independent Fair Practices Office that helps Albertans navigate the WCB system by providing additional resources to support workers every step of  the way.

·       Establishing a Code of Rights and Conduct that outlines the rights of workers and employers, while also explaining how WCB staff would recognize these rights and conduct.

·       Improving benefits for:

· Surviving spouses and children when a worker is killed on the job.

·  Young workers who sustain a long-term injury that affects their career opportunities.

·  Enhancing coverage for psychological injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder, for all occupations where workers have experienced a traumatic incident at work.

Occupational Health and Safety changes

·       Enshrining the three basic rights of workers in Alberta’s legislation:

·  The right to refuse unsafe work. The proposed changes protect workers from any form of reprisal for exercising this right, including loss of compensation or benefits.

·  The right to know. The proposed changes ensure workers are informed about potential hazards and have access to basic health and safety information in the workplace.

·  The right to participate. The proposed changes ensure workers are involved in health and safety discussions, including participation in health and safety committees.


Teamsters 362 Highlights Nov. 24

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 BARGAINING

President Wayne Garner, Vice-President Jordan Madarash and Business Agent Mary Snyder were in mediation this week with Clean Harbors in Fort McMurray. The employer presented a last, best and final offer to the membership. This offer will be explained and voting will commence in a few weeks.

Lafarge Edmonton and Area bargaining continues for Business Agent Shaun Quaghebeur. They are very close to a MOA, and have dates next week to finish up.  They are done with all non-monetary issues, and now bargaining for monetary increases.

President Wayne Garner and a Shop Steward counted the ballots for the members at NCSG Trans Tech whom rejected there MOA by 65 per cent. Afterwards Wayne held a town hall in Edmonton for members at Mammoet to explain their current MOA.

Wayne also was in negotiations with Premay Equipment following the members rejection of there MOA. He is feeling confident that we will reach an agreement.

This Sunday Wayne will be attending the vote for the MOA for members at Sarens Canada and holding a second town hall for Mammoet members in Edmonton.

IMPORTANT NEWS

Secretary - Treasurer & Principal Officer Al Porter, was up in Fort McMurray this week meeting with Fort Mckay logistics and the labour relations at both Syncrude and Suncor, He also had a meeting with the Canadian Motion Picture Producers association and he will also be meeting with the organizers at the board holding trades of Alberta.

Al and President Wayne Garner will attend the Calgary Chamber of Commerce to hear Rachael Notley speak regarding pipelines.

Wayne was in talks with Diversified Transportation on expanding the current CBA to cover camp based operations in the oil sands.

Vice-President Jordan Madarash will be having a meeting with Garda Pre-Board Screeners Stewards in Edmonton to have a preliminary meeting to go over proposals and naming the bargaining committee. He is also attending an Inland Edmonton step three grievance meeting and branch visit for the members at Garda Pre-Board Screening Lloydminister.

Last week Business Agents Richard Brown and Mike Dunphy attended a five day training course on organizing, put on by the IBT Training Dept.

Mike will also be at Garda Cash for a meeting with HR and management to discuss complaints that have surfaced and to push for better communication between management and members.

Business Agent Mary Snyder will be monitoring Diversified Transportation yearly bid for work and

working with legal counsel preparing for two upcoming arbitrations.

Business Agent Shaun Quaghebeur has grievance meetings at UPS North, Anixter Edmonton, Jack Cooper Edmonton, DTL Edmonton and Inland Edmonton.

Business Agent Ken Jarvis will be having a meeting with UPS preload early December in our hall and will update us with more details soon. He has let us know that UPS is starting up Day hub sort due to volume and will be offering extra hours to seniority members. Ken advises members to make sure they are aware of the overtime implications and if they have any questions to speak to a steward or call him at the Union Hall


We Need to Fix the Income Gap for Visible Minorities, Immigrants and Indigenous Workers

When most people think of diversity in a city they tend to picture high populated major cities such as Toronto, Vancouver or Calgary. But you should actually be picturing the northern Alberta city of Fort McMurray.

Fort McMurray is one of the most diverse cities in the country. There are more than 80 languages spoken in the region, and according to statistics Canada 21 per cent of residents are immigrants and 26 per cent are visible minorities. These numbers are probably much larger as the ‘short-term commuter workforce’ is not counted.

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This is something that is celebrated by local residents and Alberta, but there is a disturbing trend in Fort McMurray that is reflecting a wider problem across Canada.

A recent study by statistics Canada has found that the income gap between visible minorities, Indigenous or recent immigrants and the rest of Canada remains large, with the gap only narrowing by 2 per cent for Indigenous and recent immigrants and widening by 1 per cent for visible minorities between 2006 to 2016.

In Fort McMurray, visible minorities had a median income of $50,735, while non-visible minorities had a median income of $106,696. First Nations individuals had a median income of $46,925.

Experts pointed out that labour reform, including more access to unionization, is key. In Alberta alone, immigrants earned $3.49/hour more with a union, and Aboriginal workers earned $8.47/hour more.

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Not only are you going to get a fair wage with a union, you also know you have someone to stand up to discrimination in the workplace.

Making sure that this gap is made smaller is not just important to visible minorities and Indigenous workers, but also to all Canadians.


The Importance of being an Ally

Unions have a long history of standing up for human rights and standing with groups whose voices are not always heard.

Teamsters Local 362 has been working on implementing committees of rank and file members to represent the five key equity groups recognized by the Canadian Labour Congress including workers of colour, workers with disabilities, women, Indigenous workers and LGBTQ.

One of the most important parts of supporting these equity groups is to be an ally, but not everyone knows what exactly that means. It also isn’t as easy as it sounds. It is hard work.

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According to the website ‘Guide to Allyship’, being an ally really means that you don’t necessarily 100% understand what it feels like to be oppressed. It means you are taking on the struggle as your own.

Here are four ways you can be an ally inside and outside of the workplace.

1.     Acknowledge it is a learning process

Part of being an ally is always educating yourself and being proactive in that education. It is okay if you don’t understand something. This is part of taking on someone else’s struggle as your own and understanding the issues other equity groups face.

2.     Listen

This is one of the most important elements of being an ally, just listening. We all experience the world in different ways and understanding how those you want to support experience the world is so important.

3.     Don’t take breaks

Being an ally isn’t something you should just turn on and off, because oppression doesn’t take a break. Being an ally means always being ready to stand up against discrimination at all times. However, it is important to acknowledge that it also isn’t about being in the spotlight.

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4.     Acknowledge your privilege

Part of being an ally is being uncomfortable and being willing to make mistakes. This means confronting your own privilege. It is important to understand how you are put in a position of power and that there is a lot you need to learn and unlearn after being in this position for so long.


Domestic Violence is a Serious Issue in the Workplace

Domestic violence is an issue that has ramifications far beyond just the home. We have seen this recently in the news with the tragic events in Sutherland Springs where Devin Patrick Kelley, who had a history of domestic violence, killed 26 people at the church his in-laws attended.

This issue can also have a deep impact at work, as a recent study at the University of Toronto has shown.

They interviewed men who were perpetrators of domestic violence, and learned a lot about how the abuse of their partner continued at their workplace. One-third of the men said they contacted their partner or ex ‘during work hours to engage in emotionally abusive behaviour or to monitor her whereabouts.’

A previous 2015 study by the Conference Board of Canada found that 71 per cent of employers and 55 per cent of government employers reported a situation where they had to protect an employee who was a victim of domestic violence.

It is clear this is having a huge impact in the workplace and one of the most troubling findings of the U of T study is that workplaces are not doing a lot about it.

They found that no matter the kind of job, level of seniority at the job or years at the job the vast majority of men were not aware of any resources that might help them address this issue.

Lead researcher Katreena Scott said in an interview with CBC news that the first thing to do if you see behaviour that is concerning you is to have a conversation with the person and call out the bad behaviour.

“Then link the person to the kind of resources they might need,” she said. “If we want to make women and children safer we have to start talking to perpetrators. Workplaces need resources and education.”

For more resources in Alberta that can help people in a domestic violence situation visit the Government of Alberta website or call the family violence info line at 310-1818.


Unions Will Continue to Support LGBTQ Rights

This month the NDP government in Alberta introduced Bill 24, An Act to Protect Gay-Straight Alliances.

Gays-Straight Alliances (GSA’s) are peer support networks that promote welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students and their allies.

Bill 24 has been described as an act that is necessary to protect LGBTQ students and would make it illegal for teachers to inform parents if their child has joined a GSA, unless the child consented.

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United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney, spoke out against the bill.

“Our caucus has come to a consensus to support students, parents and teachers by opposing Bill 24. Teachers, not politicians, should decide when it makes sense to engage parents,” he said.

Many Albertans and LGBTQ advocates are disappointed with Kenney’s remarks.

We should be supporting the LGBTQ community not in Alberta, not alienating them. If teacher was forced to ‘out’ a student to an unsupportive parent, this could have huge repercussions for the child.

GSA’s are supposed to be a place of support, not somewhere someone should be afraid to go.

Unions have a long history of supporting LGBTQ rights and continue to do so both inside and outside of the workplace. Many advancements in workplace rights have been linked to LGBTQ equality, and unions have been proud to support equal benefits, parental leave and right to marriage.

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The Teamsters union is proud to have an LGBTQ Caucus with the purpose of s to unify, educate and empower Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the workforce at large, ‘to ensure equality in the workplace and to enhance workers’ power at the bargaining table, in organizing campaigns, and in the political arena.’

Teamsters Local 362 intends on implementing committees of rank and file members to represent the five key equity groups recognized by the Canadian Labour Congress including workers of colour, workers with disabilities, women, Indigenous workers and LGBTQ.

No matter your race, gender, sexual orientation all Albertan’s deserve to be treated with respect at school, home and in the workplace and unions are proud to fight for those rights.


Teamsters 362 Highlights Nov. 10

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 BARGAINING

Business Agent Bernie Haggraty had negotiations with Lafarge Pipe this week.

This weekend President Wayne Garner will be holding ratification vote for members at NCSG Crane and Heavy Haul Trans Tech Inc.

IMPORTANT NEWS

We had general membership meetings in Edmonton where we had a full house at the evening meeting that was attended by Alberta Minister of Labour Christina Gray.

President Wayne Garner was introduced by Minister of Culture and Tourism Ricardo Miranda in the Legislature. He also attended the Diversified Transportation membership meeting and our area membership meeting. Wayne was also at a grievance mediation with Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service on a Canadian Freightways file.

President Wayne Garner attended the Southern Alberta District Regimental Ball in Banff organized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in support of victim services. He was invited by our Steward Pei and another Steward Sarah was there as well. Pei’s husband is a retired Mounty.

Vice-President Jordan Madarash visited our members at the Fort McMurray airport and had a oilsands bus meeting this week. A grievance meeting that Jordan and Business Agent Richard attended at the Edmonton International Airport for Garda pre-board screeners resulted in 12 grievances being settled and the company reducing one day suspensions to verbal warnings. Four grievances that were settled paid out roughly $2,600 due to seniority bypass.

Business Agent Shaun Quaghebeur had a meeting with Jack Cooper management and some members regarding a complaint that has been lodged this week. He also had a meeting with  DTL Edmonton management and members about a complaint that has been lodged.  Shaun also met with the Stewards of Canadian Freightways Edmonton.

Ricardo Miranda, the Minister of Culture and Tourism, will be attending our Local 362 General Membership Meeting on Dec. 2 at 10 a.m. in Calgary.

Meet Our New Business Agent

We are excited to introduce Mike Dunphy, a new Business Agent who has joined the 362 team. He is assigned to the Movie Division, Armoured Car Division (Garda World & Brinks), Consolidated Fast Frate, MTE, Spectrum, The Salvation Army and National Diabetes Trust. He has been spending time with the other agents and getting up to speed on the issues at all the Barns this week with the Shop Stewards.


Fort McMurray Seeing Increase in Calls Related to Suicidal Thoughts

One of the worst disasters in Alberta’s history is still having a huge impact nearly two years later. In May 2016 the entire city of Fort McMurray was evacuated due to a wildfire that would become known as ‘The Beast’. Almost 2,500 buildings (mostly residential homes) were lost in the fire.

Now a local society for crisis prevention says that calls about suicidal thoughts have reached 155 this year with only 54 recorded in 2016.

Some Other Solutions (SOS) is a Crisis Prevention Centre that supports all individuals when experiencing stress, emotional distress, loneliness, and suicidal thoughts.

Visit Our Initiative #YouAreNotAlone

In an interview with CBC, executive director Jason King said that it could be because more people are aware of the service but also a sign that the wildfire had a significant impact on people’s mental health.

Teamsters 362 had previously focused on mental health in Fort McMurray during our suicide prevention initiative called You Are Not Alone. In Episode 3, Linda Sovdi with SOS said that not only was the fire going to have an impact on mental health, but also the economic downturn that had started before the fire.

Visit Our Initiative #YouAreNotAlone

It is so important to be able to reach out to someone if you are feeling suicidal and to know that you are not alone. Alberta is a very close community and we need to come together to help anyone in Fort McMurray who needs support. You can find a full list of mental health resources on our website here.


Teamsters 362 Highlights Nov. 3

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 BARGAINING

Business Agent Shaun Quaghebeur had bargaining with with Lafarge Edmonton and Monarch (ENS).

IMPORTANT NEWS

Local 362 leadership attended the monthly executive board meeting.

Vice-President Jordan Madarash and President Wayne Garner went through the dispatch walk-through for the upcoming new online dispatch system.

Business Agent Lukas Eichel-Fominov has been helping our new Business Agents Mike and Richard transition into their new roles.

Secretary - Treasurer & Principal Officer Al Porter and President Wayne Garner attended the CIRA / ALRB Policy Conference.

Business Agent Shaun Quaghebeur had a membership meeting with Jack Cooper Edmonton and with MTE members.

Christina Gray, the Minister of Labour will be attending our Local 362 General Membership Meeting on Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. in Edmonton.

Ricardo Miranda, the Minister of Culture and Tourism, will be attending our Local 362 General Membership Meeting on Dec. 2 at 10 a.m. in Calgary.


Message From Building Trades Alberta

Click the link below to view the message from Executive Director Terry Parker of the Building Trades Alberta regarding the completion of Phase One of the Sturgeon Refinery.

FINAL Affiliate NWR letter Nov0217