Teamsters Weekly Update for July 27

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.

On Sunday, July 22, representatives of Local 362’s motion production division attended a Membership meeting for Teamsters Local 399. On Monday, July 23, Teamsters representatives met with officials from Disney regarding business development within 362’s motion production jurisdiction to promote the ease of doing business within Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

In other meetings this week, on Monday, Business Agents were active in visiting Members at CertainTeed Medicine Hat to distribute copies of the newly ratified collective agreement and to go over any articles that Membership needed clarification on. Following the meeting with the Membership of CertainTeed, the Business Agent and Shop Steward met with management to review grievances and to discuss other pressing issues in the workplace.

Representatives for Local 362’s pipeline division held a meeting on Wednesday, July 25 to ratify the proposed changes to the collective agreement for the Membership within the pipeline division. On Wednesday evening in Edmonton and throughout the day on Thursday, Business Agents met with Membership from the newly organized group – Tri-line Waste Division to present and vote their very first collective agreement. Outside of ratification votes this week, Business Agents in Fort McMurray met with Shop Stewards and management of the Clean Harbours group for a labour management meeting. On Friday, July 27 executives and trustees from Local 362 will be meeting for the monthly executive board meeting

On Saturday, July 28, the Teamsters Local 362 truck will be in Nanton for the 6th annual American Motor Club of Alberta for the annual Show and Shine event from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Come by and show your Teamsters pride!


The Gig Economy: What You Need to Know

The gig economy or sharing economy as some have come to call it is alive and well in Canada. According to Statistics Canada between 2015 and 2016 Canadians spent over $1.3 billion on peer-to-peer ride services and private accommodation services alone.

While some praise the flexibility and convenience it offers, many critics have pointed to the clear negatives the gig economy is causing for workers.

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An Economic Change for the Worse

The shift to the gig economy is expanding at a fast rate in Canada. Randstad Canada found that contingent workers, freelancers, contractors and consultants make up around 30 per cent of the Canadian workforce and that number is only going to get higher. Of the companies surveyed, 85 per cent said they will be moving towards an ‘agile workforce.’ These changes are coming so fast that the International Monetary Fund has raised serious concerns about social insurance systems for workers.

Big Business Taking Advantage

While the ‘sharing economy’ may sound good in principle, one of the main problems is that big businesses have taken advantage of it. By hiring ‘gig’ workers companies are saving huge costs on wages, benefits and scheduling. They don’t have to worry about paid sick leave, vacation, overtime pay or protecting their workers.

Harder to Unionize

While there have been attempts to organize workers in the gig economy, such as Uber in the U.S., it has proven very difficult to do. One of the main issues that the traditional tools of union organizing don’t always work with these type of jobs. Certain labour laws also making it difficult to organize, especially with the fact that many in the gig economy aren’t considered employees.

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Workers Feel Trapped

While advocates of the gig economy talk about the advantage of the freedom that it gives workers, research indicates that many workers actually feel trapped. A survey of gig-economy workers in Toronto found that over half said that they participate because there are ‘no other options’ and saw these jobs as something to hold them over until they can find a better job. Forty-one per cent also said that inadequate pay was a huge issue.

It's no surprise that our economy is changing like more things over time, but what is important is for labour laws to keep up to date with the way work is changing. It's really up to our government to make sure all workers are protected, no matter what type of work they do.


Minimum Wage Earner Demographics Are Changing

When you picture a typical minimum wage earner, who comes to mind? For most Canadians, it would be a teenager with their first summer job or someone waiting tables while they put themselves through University.

But new stats show that isn't the right image.

report from Statistics Canada shows that we should change our view. Students and non-students aged 15 to 24 actually decreased in the proportion of people making minimum wage and a growing number of minimum wage earners in Canada are actually parents and older adults.

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The proportion of minimum wage earners aged 35 to 64 rose to 31 per cent, up from 25 per cent the previous year. The number of single-parent minimum wage earners also rose from 15 to 17 per cent.

Another troubling finding was those minimum wage workers who are single parents or in a single-earner couple have the lowest living standards.

That's no surprise with minimum wage earners usually working in unstable or precarious employment. Low wages and no benefits can make it extremely difficult to raise a child, especially in Alberta’s economy. Also, imagine being a single parent with inconsistent scheduling and little to no job security. The amount of stress they face each day is overwhelming.

Right now there are 1.2 million children in Canada who are living in poverty. Research by Campaign 2000, a network of community organizations working to end child and family poverty in Canada, listed minimum wage as one of the key issues to address in tackling poverty.

Alberta plans to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by Oct. 1 of this year. But this hasn’t come without lots of opposition.

Critics have spoken out against the plan since it was proposed during the election, saying that these increases are coming much too fast and will hurt businesses already suffering in this economy.

However, it isn’t the small businesses who are typically paying the minimum wages in Alberta. According to the Parkland Institute, 51 per cent of Albertan’s making less the $15 an hour worked for large corporations.

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Raising the minimum wage is something that must be done in order to help all families across the country.

Unions have been fighting for fair wages for all Canadians for decades. In Alberta alone, union women earn $7.76/hour more than non-union workers.

While raising the minimum wage is important, unionization has also become an important part of helping workers across Canada.


Teamsters Local 362 Weekly Update For July 20

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 each week to see what is happening in the union.

On Tuesday through Friday, the Business Agents in Fort McMurray are presenting the Membership of Fort McKay Logistics Group with the Memorandum of Agreement that was recently reached between the 362 Bargaining Committee and management of Fort McKay. Following the scheduled meeting times at 8:45 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Tuesday – Friday, the Membership of Fort McKay Logistics Group will then be allowed to cast their ballots.

In bargaining this week at Local 362, the Bargaining Committee met with company representatives from Inland Concrete Camrose and have reached a Memorandum of Agreement. A date to present the Membership is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 1 at 4 p.m. In other bargaining this week, the recently organized group of Tri-line Waste Division are meeting on Wednesday, July 17 and have reached their first Memorandum of Agreement. Stay tuned for meeting dates to be posted for the Membership of Tri-Line to vote on.

In other news, on Thursday, July 19 at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., Business Agents are holding a Membership meeting for Consolidated FastFrate to take proposals in preparation for the commencement of bargaining for the Calgary facility.  In other meetings this week, on Wednesday, July 18, Business Agents met with Shop Stewards and management of Garda World Pre-Board Screeners with the Edmonton International Airport for the quarterly labour management meeting.

Local 362 is excited to announce that we will be taking part in our first ever Calgary Pride Parade on Sept. 2 with our Teamsters Kenworth and our float that will be showcased in the parade. If any Members (or Members' loved ones) would like to take part in the parade to showcase their Pride, please reach out to us at Pride@gtl362.ca


Are Heat Guidelines Adequate?

If there is one word you could use to describe this summer, it's hot. Heatwaves have been hitting Canada from coast to coast with record temperatures being recorded. Many Canadians are enjoying the heat and taking advantage of the weather, but for people who work outside, it can be a serious hazard.

A recent study found that current guidelines for working in heat are ‘inadequate to protect workers’, pointing out that workers above 40 or people who suffer from chronic health conditions such as diabetes are at higher risk.

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Professor Glen Kenny from the University of Ottawa performed the study and said that the guidelines are ‘one size fits all.’

He pointed out in an interview with CBC News that the guidelines that many government agencies base their recommendations on information that’s been collected from young adults and tests are based on only a few hours of hot-weather activity.

You have to be especially careful in urban communities. Cities have become known as ‘heat islands’ according to Kenny. They don’t have the same cooling effect as rural areas when the sun goes down because there are fewer open spaces and the sun gets absorbed by the asphalt and buildings during the day.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act in Alberta recommends being aware of the signs of heat stress and stroke so it can be treated right away.

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Early warning signs of heat stress and stroke

o   headache

o   confusion

o   dizziness and fatigue

o   dehydration

o   heavy sweating

o   muscle cramps

o   changes to breathing and pulse rate

How to avoid overheating

o   drink lots of water

o   take breaks

o   wear protective equipment designed to reduce heat stress

o   minimize physical activity in hot environments

o   know the signs of heat stress


Work Stress Primary Cause of Mental Health Issues

As we go through life entering new jobs and careers, something that is consistent is stress. Whether you’re 16 and starting your first summer job or you’re in the last years before you enter retirement – we all feel stress at work.

But too much stress can have a huge impact.

new Canadian study found that for the majority of respondents’ workplace stress was the primary cause of their mental health problem or illness. The top two issues were reported to be depression and anxiety.

These findings are shocking and hard to ignore.

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They mean that a huge portion of the population is affected by these mental heal issues due to work stress. Out of the population of around 17 million Canadians who work full or part-time, about 3.4 million workers could be experiencing a mental health issue.

We know there is an issue but how are workers dealing with it?

The majority of respondents felt that their mental health issues would hurt their careers and that they could only put in an ‘optimal performance’ at work for less than 70 per cent of the day. It was also the main reason they were missing work, with 34 per cent missing work for two months or more.

This is costing employers, the economy and workers. It’s time to find solutions and start a conversation about mental health support at work.

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 it mandatory.

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You Are Not Alone is 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, something that we will continue to do moving forward.

Mental health support in the workplace is clearly needed, and as Canadians, we need to do more.