Teamsters Local 362 Celebrates Announcement of Pipeline Expansion

On Tuesday, the federal government announced that they have decided to buy the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline project for $4.5 billion dollars. This was to ensure the pipeline would proceed.

This announcement was celebrated by Albertans across the province.

For months politicians, workers and activists across the country have been expressing their opinions about the project and now Trudeau has put a final word on the debate.

“Today, we’ve taken action to create & protect jobs in Alberta and BC, and restart construction on the TMX pipeline expansion, a vital project in the national interest,” he said in a tweet regarding the announcement.

Premier Rachel Notley celebrated the announcement with an event at the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Training Centre in Calgary. Teamsters Local 362 was honoured to attend the event with Teamsters Canada President François Laporte.

“We are pleased to have worked with the federal government to ensure construction resumes, certainty is increased and Albertans and all Canadians enjoy the many benefits of having this project go forward. There is more work to do, but we will not stop until the job is done,” she said in a statement.

According to CBC news, Kinder Morgan and the federal government will spend the next couple of months looking for a buyer for the pipeline, as the government is not looking for long-term ownership.

Here are a few fast facts about the project:

  • In 2016 the Federal government approved the project, and in early 2017 then B.C. Premier Christy Clark announced her support. Once NDP leader John Horgan became premier in 2017, he stated he would not support the project.
  • According to Kinder Morgan Canada, the Project would create approximately 15,000 construction jobs and the equivalent of 37,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs per year of operations. They state that producers will see $73.5 billion in increased revenues over 20 years.
  • Scotiabank estimates the discount on Canadian oil caused by pipeline bottlenecks costs producers and the Canadian economy as much as $40 million per day.

Changes to Alberta Occupation Health and Safety Act Coming June 1

Albertans have had their input and will officially have a new Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS) for the province as of June 1.

The NDP government invited Albertans to provide input during the month of April of what they would want to see in the act. The old OHS act will be replaced with a new act that employers will need to familiarize themselves with.

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Here are just a few of the changes coming:

  • New obligations for worksite parties including supervisors, those who are self-employed, consultants and  more
  • New obligations for owners to ensure that their premises are maintained in a safe condition
  • Workers will now have a formalized right to refuse unsafe work
  • A larger definition of harassment and new measures to ensure that workers are protected from all forms of it
  • Broader and more explicit power of inspection and permits for OHS officers

Labour Minister Christina Gray announced last year that the NDP government would launch a review of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act that had not been revamped since 1976.

Labour unions in Alberta have been fighting for these changes for years and were glad to see that the government was finally listening.

Researchers have found in both North America and internationally that where there is a union present, workplaces injury rates are lower than non-union. In Canada, a study found that unionized construction sites were 30 per cent less likely to suffer critical injuries.

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This is because of the leadership role the union plays in the workplace. Union shop stewards and business agents are able to ensure the safety of everyone in the workplace and are available if employees feel that they need to report any health or safety violations.

You should never have to worry about performing unsafe work or feeling uncomfortable in your workplace. Unions are celebrating these changes and will continue to fight for workers’ rights across the province.


The Pay Gap in Canada Is Even Worse For Women of Colour

The gender wage gap is an issue, there is no doubt about that. There are articles, reports and years of research that back it up.

The fact is that women make on average $0.72 for every dollar a man makes in Canada.

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What doesn’t make the headlines is how the wage gap affects women of colour and Indigenous women. Comparing one category of ‘women’ to men when it comes to the wage gap ‘reinforces the rigid power structures’ that compound the problem.

When you include race in the findings, you realize that this is an even more serious issue.

Studies in Canada have shown that racialized women were paid 13 per cent less than white women and Indigenous women earned 18 per cent less than the average non-Indigenous woman, and 46 per cent less than the average white man.

So why exactly is this happening?

One of the main reasons there is such a huge gap is discrimination. Whether it is blatant or systemic, opportunities are not provided or are taken away for women of colour and Indigenous women.

Indigenous women and visible minority women are also more likely to live in poverty, at a rate of 36 per cent and 28 per cent respectively. Getting out of this cycle and moving forward economically can be very difficult.

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Research has found that women of colour and Indigenous women tend to hold ‘hourly wage jobs and work in lower-paid fields’ and they also tend to work fewer hours because of the nature of their work. Also, women of colour and Indigenous women are often significantly lacking in leadership roles.

And this lack of opportunity affects pay. Add to this the patriarchal system we live in and the fact that most women have their careers interrupted to care for family members, and you can see why this is such a huge issue.

Unions have been able to help with this. In Alberta, women with unions earned $7.76/hour more with a union. They are able to bargain for fair wages for all employees, no matter your race or gender.

So next time you are talking about the pay gap, make sure you go deeper than just comparing men to women. Women aren’t just one category and if we want to move towards pay equity we must keep that in mind.


Unions Are Appealing to Millennials

Unions have not traditionally been associated with millennials or white-collar jobs, but things are changing. Young people are bringing a new energy to the movement that has been gaining momentum across North America.

Gallup Poll showed that the approval of unions jumped to 58 per cent and the desire for more union influence is also on the rise with 37 per cent of people saying they want to see unions have more influence. Of all age groups surveyed – millennials, aged 18 to 34, were more pro-union than any other group.

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Our neighbours down south have seen the same thing with a third of new union members in the U.S. working in professional and technical occupations, and over three-quarters of new members under the age of 35.

Here are just a few of the reasons why.

1.     Part-Time and Contract Work is Growing

Precarious work has been growing for some time now, and millennials feeling the impact of this trend. These jobs are unstable and often lack benefits, fair wages, safe work environments or opportunity for advancement.

2.     Pay Gap

The gender pay gap is a very real thing in Canada, with a woman working full time making 73.5 cents for every dollar a man makes. That makes up an astounding $168 billion in wages missing from the Canadian economy. This is even worse for Indigenous women and women of colour, who earn even less. Women are sick of this status quo and unions offer a way to change that.

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3.     Growing Sense of Powerlessness

Millennials have been facing a difficult economic landscape. They’ve been told that they should get used to precarious work, they have huge student debts and purchasing a home is an unattainable goal for the large majority. Millennials are looking for more stability and a way to move up the economic latter – they see unions as a way to do this.

4.     Involvement in Social Movements

The labour movement has been involved in social and political activism for decades, and still fight for the rights of all Canadians. They have fought for safety legislation, better wages and are taking a large role in the important #MeToo movement. Social activism is something millennials care a lot about, so it is only natural they would see this as a positive thing in their union.

 


Harassment Is A Workplace Hazzard

When you hear about a hazardous or unsafe work environment, what is the image that pops into your head?

Typically, it is a factory or construction site where a physical injury could take place – falling from a latter, electrocution or even slipping on a floor.

While physical injuries should be taken very seriously, a hazard that is often overlooked is harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

One of the latest and most publicized incidents has been with Air Canada. Flight attendants at the company have reported multiple incidents of inappropriate conduct at the company.

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Now their union has filed formal complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

The employees said they were lined up and marked on their appearance and ‘subject to highly sexualized harassing comments and conduct.’ Their union alleges that some of the critiques included telling some of them that they looked ‘too white’ or their ‘eyes were too small.’

Can you imagine coming into this type of work environment every day – being judged on your appearance and dealing with sexual harassment from your boss?

Unfortunately, it is a reality for many Canadians. According to a recent survey, this type of workplace hazard is an ‘epidemic that has been allowed to persist.’

The report by the Human Resources Professionals Association found that 94 per cent of executives don’t think harassment is a problem. However, one-third of female respondents and 12 per cent of men said they had been sexually harassed at work.

One of the most troubling numbers to come out of the research was that 80 per cent of victims do not report the problem.

The federal government recently passed Bill C-65 in hopes of tackling harassment and violence in federal workplaces. It is supposed to ‘to give workers and their employers a clear course of action to better deal with allegations of bullying, harassment and sexual harassment.’

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This finally addresses harassment as a workplace hazard and starts to set the bar for other workplaces.

Harassment can have both mental and physical effects on an employee, and it is the employer's obligation to prevent it.

This isn’t always the case, however.

Having a union on your side can help. You have someone to report the harassment to and to stand up for you in the workplace, as was demonstrated in the Air Canada incidents.

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, you can always contact one confidentially to find out what your options are.

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 because all Canadians deserve a hazard-free workplace


Albertans Are Afraid To Report Workplace Injuries

When you walk into your workplace, you should always feel safe. If you are injured on the job, you shouldn’t be afraid to report it.

But a new report has found that is not the case in Alberta.

Research released by the University of Alberta's Parkland Institute last week found that there were around 170,000 injuries serious enough to require time off or modified work in 2016, but only 45,000 were reported.

Out of a poll of 2,000, workers they found that nearly 70 per cent of disabling workplace injuries in Alberta go unreported.

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These numbers are staggering and indicate a huge problem in workplaces across the province.

Bob Barnetson is the co-author of the institute's report. In an interview with CBC News, he said there are two reasons that workers don’t report injuries – they don’t think it is serious enough and they fear retaliation from their employer.

"In workplaces that are particularly dangerous, where the highest risk of injury exists, you find 40 per cent of workers are scared to even ask for health and safety information,” said Barnetson.

The report recommended a number of changes that the Alberta government should implement. They advised that they should increase the number of workplace safety inspectors, allow for inspections by civil society groups, increase consequences for violations and make violations more public.

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When it comes to physical health and safety in the workplace, what has become known as the ‘union effect’ has created a safer work environment. Researchers have found in both North America and internationally, that where there is a union present, workplaces injury rates are lower than non-union. In Canada a recent study found that unionized construction sites were 30 per cent less likely to suffer critical injuries.

Unions have fought for health and safety for decades, many labour laws that are taken for granted today were made possible by unions. Through leadership safety training, implementing safety protocols in collective bargaining and fighting for mental health support in the workplace like the Teamsters 362 Make It Mandatory campaign.

No one should ever have to feel unsafe in the workplace, and unions may be able to help you.


Memorandum From the Canadian Labour Congress to Garda YYC Pre-Board Screeners

The following is a letter from the President of the CLC in support of the current Garda PBS union, Teamsters Local 362, and their continued efforts to represent you in the workplace.

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