A Look Back On Labour And Human Rights in 2017

This has been the year of human rights. From athlete protests to the #MeToo movement, people are standing up for what they believe in. With these movements, it is crucial to find strength in solidarity and that is something unions believe in.

Here are a few of the important human rights issues unions helped fight for in 2017.

1.     Sexual Assault and Harassment Prevention

Although the #MeToo movement started in the United States, sexual harassment and assault are an issue around the world including Canadian workplaces. A new survey has found that more than half of women in Canada have experienced sexual harassment at work. Unions have fought to protect workers from harassment no matter their race, gender or age.

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2.     LGBTW2S Rights

This year Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a formal apology to ‘individuals harmed by federal legislation, policies, and practices that led to the oppression of and discrimination against LGBTQ2S people in Canada.’ This was another important step in making sure those in the LGBTQ2S are treated fairly inside and outside of the workplace.

The Teamsters union is proud to have an LGBTQ Caucus with the goal to unifying, educating and empowering 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.’

3.     Reconciliation and Indigenous rights

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission released a document with 94 calls to action . One of the sub-categories called on the corporate sector in Canada to ‘adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources.’

Labour unions have taken pride in standing by Indigenous people in Canada. Unions stood beside Indigenous people in the call for a national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Indigenous workers also earned 8.47/hour more with a union, than without a union.

4.     Income Gap

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.

Experts have 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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5.     NAFTA

NAFTA negotiations have been going on all year and Teamsters have been active in fighting for workers rights.

Teamsters Canada President Francois Laporte pointed out that like members in the U.S., Canadian Teamsters recognize that the new NAFTA must contain a new chapter that will protect workers’ rights. Teamsters are participating in talks with the Steelworkers, the AFL-CIO and fellow unions from Canada and Mexico to ensure a successful NAFTA renegotiation.

6.     Disaster Relief for Hurricane Victims

Canadian Teamster local unions and joint councils, along with Teamsters Canada, have raised over $100,000 for the Teamsters Disaster Relief Fund. The donation comes in response to three back-to- back hurricanes that hit the United States in less than a month.

“As Teamsters, we have a duty to assist our sisters and brothers in their time of need. The level of devastation from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria demands action,” stated François Laporte, President of Teamsters Canada.


Looking Back on Organized Labour Wins from 2017

Labour unions have a lot to celebrate this year – provincially, nationally and internationally.  South of the border we have seen labour unions fighting for human rights and the Fight for 15 movement has had a huge impact on minimum wage in the United States.

Here in Alberta, Teamsters Local 362 has been proud to fight for workplace rights for Airport Pre-Board Screeners in Alberta and also spreading awareness about suicide prevention with our campaign You Are Not Alone. The public support form Albertan’s has been amazing, and we are so thankful for that.

In Canada, unions have also been fighting to protect the rights of workers across the country. Here are just a few highlights of wins for labour in 2017.

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1.     Passing of Bill C-4

This year in June Bill C-4 was passed, which was praised by union members and leaders across the country. This bill repeals two bills that were passed under Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, C-377 and C-525. Bill C-377 targets labour organizations, with critics arguing that it is unconstitutional and violates the rights and privacy of all Canadians. 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.

Read more here.

2.     Alberta Workers Better Protected

This year the Alberta NDP brought forward a large amount of changes to labour laws in Alberta, something that union members and leaders have pushed towards for a long time.

Bill 17, the Fair and Family-Friendly Workplaces Act, was passed in June. This saw significant changes to provincial labour law, including union certification. They are now working to push through Bill 30, An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans. This bill, if passed, would mean an improved Workers Compensation Board system and Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS).

Read more here.

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3.     Alberta Film Support

The Alberta government announced in October that there would be a new Screen-Based Production Grant, that will replace the Alberta Production Grant. The Grant will make $45 million per year available to eligible production companies working in Alberta and will offer productions a cash grant of up to 30 per cent of eligible production expenditures made in Alberta. This is great news for labour in the province. It also will up the per-project cap from $5 million to $7.5 million.

Both Teamsters 362 Secretary-Treasurer Al Porter and President Wayne Garner, said that the film industry in Alberta is extremely important for all aspects of our economy and welcomed this news.

Read more here.


Teamsters Local 362 Highlights Dec. 22

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

Bargaining continued with Mammoet Canada Western Ltd where the Membership has unanimously authorized strike action if necessary to attain a collective agreement. Bargaining also continued with Sarens Canada Inc where the Membership held a Strike Vote on Thursday Dec 21st. Both Federal and Provincial mediators were present for those meetings.

The Membership at Clean Harbors will be voted this week on the companies last, best and final offer for settlement. The Voter Help line is open for the Clean Harbour vote that is happening this week. Business Agents Mike Dunphy, Lukas Fominov and Richard Brown will be manning the phones to ensure that everyone is able to vote.

Business Agent Ryan Adams had a vote with the Edmonton Members (Fort McMurray last Thursday the 14th) from Trans Tech this past Saturday and Sunday. The Membership rejected the first offer and are now voting a dual ballot.  The dual ballot allows the Members to vote either yes, and accept the offer, or vote no that they don’t accept the offer and therefore give the union authorization to take strike action if required.

IMPORTANT NEWS

The Local is pleased to announce that Mr. Terry Westhaver has accepted a position as a Business Agent with Local 362. Terry comes to us with a wealth of past experience and will certainly prove to be an asset to our organization. Terry will be assigned to the Edmonton area.  

Business Agent Shaun Quaghebeur had site visits to UPS North, Lafarge Winterburn, Inland Acheson and West Edmonton, Zenith, NIC, Waste Connections and many more.

Vice-President Jordan Madarash visited the members of Garda PBS Grande Prairie. He also had a meeting with our legal council and attended a National Health and Safety Policy Committee Meeting.

President Wayne Garner attended the Joint Council No.90 meeting on Monday. Joint Council 90 consists of Locals 362, 987, 395, 979 and Rail Division. The Council meets at regular intervals throughout the year.

Wayne will also be working with our developer on final checks and testing of our online dispatch system that will be rolled out after Christmas.

Business Agent Mike Dunphy attended the annual Movie Division meeting at the Union Hall, here the membership voted on new dispatch rules.

Business Agent Ken Jarvis was able to get a UPS employee back to work and also dealt with the school bus division on not paying drivers to attend a mandatory meeting.

Business Agent Ryan Adams and Shawn Quaghebeur were successful in returning a Grimshaw Trucking employee back to work after being terminated a week ago. Ryan also met with the employer representatives of MTE Logistix.

Our offices throughout the Province will be closing at noon for the Holiday Season. President Wayne Garner would like to wish all our members a pleasant, joyful and safe holiday season.


Stressed this Holiday Season? Five Tips to Take Care of your Mental Health in the Workplace

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, except if you are completely stressed. Unfortunately, stress is something that has become synonymous with the holiday season and it can affect your home and work life.

For people who already have trouble with a work – life balance, it can be particularly daunting with even more put on your plate at home and work with deadlines, parties and presents.

Some experts have said this time of the year can even have an effect on the brain by releasing a certain type of hormone when you are too stressed. The hormone it releases can disrupt your sleep, suppress your immune system and cause depression and anxiety.

Here are some ways you can deal with stress during the holiday season.

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1.     Talk about stress and your mental health

One of the most important ways of dealing with stress is being able to talk to someone about it. In the workplace, this could be a coworker you trust, your supervisor or boss or a shop steward or business agent.

2.     Know you are not alone

Statistics show that 1 in 5 Canadian adults will suffer from a mental health disorder in their lifetime. Chances are if you are dealing with stress, other people in your workplace are as well. There are many resources across Canada that are there for you year round if you feel you need to talk to a professional about mental health issues listed here.

3.     Your mental health should matter to your employer

Mental health issues cost the Canadian economy over $50 billion dollars per year, and more than $6 billion of that is from lost productivity costs due to absenteeism and presenteeism. If you are a good employee, your employer will want to keep your around. Unions such a Teamsters 362 have been fighting for better mental health support for workplaces, and are also a resource to reach out to if you feel your employer is ignoring this issue in the workplace.

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4.     Keep perspective

Chances are during the holiday season you are going to be pulled in a lot of different directions, and it is important to know you can’t do it all. A recent study revealed that millennials in particular feel this stress attending 24 events between November to New Years eve. Set limits to the amount of events you will attend and the amount you will spend during the holiday season.

5.     Take time out for yourself

You are going to be pulled a million different directions both inside and outside of the workplace, so it is important to remember to prioritize some alone time. Whether it is going for a walk or taking a yoga class, make sure you have some time away from the holiday buzz.


Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Should Not Be Tolerated

Time Magazine’s person of the year always draws a lot of attention from around the globe and this year was no different.

This year the silence breakers were awarded that title, including the activist who started the #metoo movement Tarana Burke. She initially started the movement in 2006 and it caught fire this year when it was tweeted by celebrities such as Alissa Milano.

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Although it started south of the border, sexual harassment and assault is an issue around the world including Canadian workplaces. A new survey has found that more than half of women in Canada have experienced sexual harassment at work.

Some of the common complaints were unwanted physical touching, cat calls, being referred to using derogatory or demeaning sexual terms and being pressured for dates. The majority did not report the harassment.

The Supreme Court of Canada defines workplace sexual harassment as "unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that detrimentally affects the work environment or leads to adverse job-related consequences for the victims of the harassment."

Unions have fought to protect workers from harassment no matter their race, gender or age.

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When you are part of a union, you can reach out to a Shop Steward or Business Agent you feel comfortable sharing the issue with. If you are not yet a part of a union, calling one 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 includes being free of sexual harassment in the workplace.


Teamsters 362 Highlights

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

Vice-President Jordan Madarash and Business Agent Mike Dunphy attended proposals for Garda Cash Calgary and Edmonton and also had a Garda Cash step four meeting in Calgary.

Business Agent Ken Jarvis has been overseeing the First Student School Bus Arbitration regarding excess time. He said they have asked the Arbitrator to write out a decision. Once a ruling has been received in writing, the Teamsters 362 will inform all members immediately on the decision regarding excess time arbitration.

Business Agents Bernie Haggarty and Shaun Quaghebeur had bargaining this week with Pe Ben.

IMPORTANT NEWS

Business Agent Mary Snyder attended multiple grievance meetings this week.

Business Agent Bernie Haggary met with Premier Rachel Notley with the Building Trades at a reception at the McDougall Centre.

Business Agent Shaun Quaghebeur attended a grievance review at DTL Edmonton and had a grievance conclusion at Anixter Edmonton.

Business Agent Lukas Fominov prepped this week for the annual motion production a, b, c board meetings.

Business Agent Richard Brown had grievance meetings at both Calgary and Edmonton airports.

President Wayne Garner and Business Agent Mike Dunphy had a meeting with Tin Star producers to discuss variances for Tin Star season 2.

Secretary-Treasurer Al Porter had a meeting with Alberta Labour Minister Christina Gray and MLA Michael Connolly at the Calgary Film Centre. He also participated in the Christmas event for Minister Ricardo Miranda last weekend.

President Wayne Garner and Business Agent Ken Jarvis attended UPS Grievances meetings this week.

The leadership had the monthly Executive Board meeting this week in Edmonton.


Alberta Government Plan To Do More About Workplace Bullying

Bullying is an issue that is all too common in the workplace, and it has made headlines here in Alberta the last few weeks with City of Edmonton employees speaking out against harassment at work.

When Alberta Labour Minister Christina Gray announced major changes to  Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act with the introduction of Bill 30  An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans.

One of the much needed changes will come to safety rules regarding bullying and psychological harassment.

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The Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) pointed out on their website that the most harmful forms of bullying are usually psychological and subtle – making them hard to recognize.

This can result in disrupting sleeping and eating patterns, increased use of drugs or alcohol, depression or even suicidal thoughts.

It is clear that bullying is something that needs to be taken seriously and many are applauding this move by the Alberta government to do more about it.

Being a union member also means you have a resource to reach out to if you feel you are being unfairly treated at work.

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When you are part of a union, you can reach out to a Shop Steward or Business Agent you feel comfortable sharing the issue with. They can also help you take care of your mental health, which can be greatly affected by bullying. Teamsters 362 has a full list of resources on our website that you can find here.

If you are not yet a part of a union, calling one 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 bullying.


We Must Continue to Support LGBTQ2S Rights in the Workplace

Last week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a formal apology to ‘individuals harmed by federal legislation, policies, and practices that led to the oppression of and discrimination against LGBTQ2S people in Canada.’

The government also introduced legislation that will expunge criminal records of people who were convicted of having same-sex partners and will be putting $100 million to compensate members of federal agencies whose careers were ended as part of the ‘gay purge.’

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This apology and compensation is long overdue, but we still must look at how we as Canadians can support our LGBTQ2S allies in the workplace.

In a recent survey by the Jasmin Roy Foundation three-quarters of respondents said they had been victims of bullying and discrimination and the majority of it happened at work.

Unions have a long history of supporting LGBTQ2S rights and continue to do so both inside and outside of the workplace.

The Teamsters union is proud to have an LGBTQ Caucus with a goal 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 LGBTQ2S.

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Employers must also take steps in the workplace by developing company-wide policies that promote inclusion, educate employees about how to support LGBTQ2S employees that they work with and implement anti-discrimination and harassment policies.

Together we can make sure Canada supports workplace inclusion that prevents anything like the ‘gay-purge’ from ever happening again.


Teamsters 362 Highlights Dec. 8

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 and Business Agent Ryan Adams were back at the bargaining table with NCSG TransTech and Sarens Canada this week. The Membership for both companies rejected the first offers presented to them so the process continued for NCSG TransTech under Federal Mediation and Sarens Canada under Provincial Mediation. This resulted in a offer for settlement for NCSG TransTech which will be voted on a dual ballot asking for acceptance or authorization for strike action if necessary.

Unfortunately a Memorandum could not be reached with Sarens Canada and the mediator was instructed to write out and the Parties are now in what is referred to under the Code as a cooling off period. The Union will be asking the membership for a strike vote.

Business Agent Benrie Haggarty is waiting for new offer from Lafarge Pipe and held a Medicine Hat area meeting and an area meeting in Lethbridge as well.

Business Agent Shaun Quaghebeur was preparing for the Lafarge Edmonton vote that happened on Thursday. He also had a conference call with SUEZ, related to Temporary Workers in the Edmonton MRF.

President Wayne Garner was in Fort McMurray for Clean Harbors Town Halls and Diversified Transportation Membership Meeting.

IMPORTANT NEWS

Vice - President Jordan Madarash and Business Agent Richard Brown attended proposal meetings for Garda Pre-Board Screeners in Edmonton Calgary and also attended grievance meetings for Garda in Calgary.

Business Agent Ken Jarvis educated UPS preload employees on their rights in our contract on hours of service and scheduled start times – especially if you’re not notified at the end of your shift.

Business Agent Lukas Eichel-Fominov has been working with Stacy Tulp on organizing strategies this week.

Business Agent Mary Snyder attended the monthly union meeting for the Oilsand Operators this week. She also attended Clean Harbors grievance meetings held at the Ruth Lake Offices.

Business Agents Richard Brown and Mike Dunphy attended several days of National Health & Safety Policy Committee (NHSPC) meetings for Garda Cash.


Reconciliation in the Workplace

This year we have celebrated 150 years of Canada, its history, people and landscape. But one area that we have to improve on is reconciliation with our Indigenous population.

Workplaces are where we spend a large amount of our time, so it is important for both employees and employers to be aware that reconciliation is a really important topic to deal with.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission released a document with 94 calls to action that were divided into ‘Legacy’ and ‘Reconciliation’. One of the sub-categories under Reconciliation was titled ‘Business and Reconciliation’ and called on the corporate sector in Canada to ‘adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources.’

This document describes both individual and collective rights of Indigenous peoples all around the world, not just Canada. It also offers guidance on cooperative relationships with Indigenous peoples based on ‘the principles of equality, partnership, good faith and mutual respect.’

Jessica Dumas, is a past chair of the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce in Winnipeg. In an interview with CBC News said that education and discussion will break cycles of stereotypes of Indigenous and non-Indigenous workers. She said having a workplace where there is an environment for people to feel comfortable asking questions is key.

Labour unions have a long history of standing up for human rights and have taken pride in standing by Indigenous people in Canada. Unions stood beside Indigenous people in the call for a national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Indigenous workers earned 8.47/hour more with a union, than without a union.

Canada is an amazing place to live and work, and together we can make sure it is for all Canadians no matter their race, ethnicity, gender or sexual identity.