Certificate of Appreciation - United Way

Click the link below to view the Certificate of Appreciation that was awarded to General Teamsters, Local 362 by United Way.


Tips On Dealing With Holiday Stress In The Workplace

The holiday season always seems to arrive in the blink of any eye. It seems as though just as you’re putting away Halloween decorations, it’s time to start your holiday shopping.

Between presents, parties and decorations – it can be a lot to take.

For people who already have trouble with a work - life balance, it can be particularly daunting. And the holidays are also a time when people can feel depressed or feel more anxiety.

Psychologist Jennifer Newman pointed out in an interview with CBC News that people may have ‘memories of loved ones not near or who have passed, divorce, empty-nest issues or being away from home can take a toll.’

Add to that financial pressures, and it can be one of the most stressful times of the year.

Here are some ways of dealing with stress at work during the holiday season.

1.     Talk about stress and your mental health

Being able to talk to co-workers, family members and friends about mental health is so important. Communication not only breaks down the stigma attached to mental health, but also can make you feel like you’re not alone. And you aren’t, as 1 in 5 Canadian adults will suffer from a mental health disorder in their lifetime.

In the workplace a shop steward or a business agent is someone a member can reach out to if they are feeling overwhelmed.

2.     Be aware that it is in your employer’s best interest

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.

3.     Don’t build unrealistic expectations

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.

4.     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.

The Importance of a Strike Vote

All too often the dynamics of labour disputes are confusing for union members –  unusual terms are used, certain action made by opposing parties can have dire consequences and no action at all can also be bad.

A last resort is a strike or lockout action, the two most common forms of industrial action. This is a topic that is mentioned when talking about labour quite often, but many people don’t truly understand what it means. It is often equated with a threat or a picket line, but both are intended to bring economic pressure to bear in an industrial dispute. Each action terminates any collective agreement that was in effect.

But this is not the case.

Our members at CEDA Industrial Services have been locked out in Fort McMurray at the start of the holiday season. We thought we would explain what exactly strike action means, so people can better understand what our members are going through.

When a union and an employer are in involved in collective bargaining, either of the two parties can make application to the Alberta Government to appoint a mediator to the process. The mediator acts as a neutral party and attempts to guide both sides to reach an agreement.

The mediation process is one that is required by law before an employer can lock out its employees or a union can hold a strike. The government requires a prescribed amount of time with a mediator prior to either of the parties taking such an action, which rarely happens.

During the mediation process either of the parties can instruct the mediator to “write out” , signifying they feel they will not reach an agreement and want to escalate the dispute. In the case of a Union that would be strike action and in the case of an employer, a lock out of its workers.

Once these instructions have been given both parties enter what is called a 14 day cooling off period. This is designed to essentially let cooler heads prevail and hopefully the parties can reconvene and reach an agreement, a process at which the mediator still keeps a watchful eye.

So why is a strike vote significant?

It is imperative a member not be locked out with also being in a legal striking position because when the employer shuts its employees out of the workplace completely it unilaterally imposes new employment terms and demands that employees return to work under these conditions.

By going on strike at the same time that the employer imposes a lockout, a union applies pressure by not allowing the employer to continue to operate its business with its existing employees.  The employees are refusing to work under the new conditions while the dispute is ongoing.


In October CEDA told the mediator to write out, sending a signal that there was a strong possibility of a lock-out, so we took the appropriate action to protect our members by holding a strike vote.

If a groups of unionized workers find themselves locked out and are not in a legal strike position within 24 hrs of being locked out, the employer can essentially tell employees to ‘take-it or leave it.’

Workers would have to take the new deal the employer makes up, and in most cases, this means conditions are worse or they find themselves unemployed. All the hard work that went into trying to gain a collective agreement for the members at CEDA for over a year, would be vaporized.

So as you can see, the strike position also protects the worker and it’s important to always remember that once a union has a strike mandate form its members, they have 120 days to use it. That way it gives the parties lots of time to let cooler heads prevail and move forward to get a deal.

Our members at CEDA had no other option but to be in a legal strike position when the employer locked them out. The company insisted in locking out the workers even though the parties where so close to a deal, with the exception of subcontracting language and a red circle scenario for one employee.

We want to ensure our members have the rights they deserve in the workplace, and we continue to fight for them. Please show you support for our locked-out members as they wait for a fair collective agreement.







The Red Circle: Why It Matters in Collective Bargaining

The holiday season just got a lot harder for a group of hard-working employees at CEDA Industrial Services in Fort McMurray.

Just before Christmas, CEDA has locked our members out, and now they are left wondering what will happen to their jobs in an economy that is already suffering.

What makes this even more frustrating for these members, is that we have been trying to establish their first collective agreement with the employer since July 2015.

For over a year, we have been fighting so that these members get the respect they deserve in the workplace.

We managed to convince the employer to return to the table on Dec.13 and they subsequently rescinded the lock out to Dec. 14.

One of the main issues is something known as ‘Red Circling’, something that does come up in collective bargaining.

But what exactly is Red Circling?

Red Circling is more common with newly unionized groups, or groups that merge together, or grow in size due to an employer’s acquisition of another business.

The parties may find themselves in a position that employees within the bargaining unit have certain benefits that differ from the other employees. These benefits could be in the form of a rate of pay or that has been ‘grandfathered’ for long term employees. When this occurs these individuals are ‘Red Circled’ so they are in fact protected.

An example would be in a newly unionize workplace, it may be discovered that the entire group of employees are paid $20 an hour and there is an individual whom is at $22 an hour. That individual would be Red Circled.

Should the group of employees receive a pay increase, the Red Circled employee would not get an increase until the remainder of his coworkers reached his rate of pay. However, should the group of employees accept a 5 per cent wage reduction, then all employees including the Red Circled individual, would have their rate reduced accordantly.

Ultimately unions have no control over the rates of pay within a work place that is newly organized. They inherit a new bargaining unit and Red Circling in a sense is a mechanism to begin the process of getting equality within a workplace ­ where equality, all too often, is missing. This process can take some time but eventually everyone reaches common ground without anyone feeling any undue hardship.

Sadly, this is one of the two reasons the members at CEDA are still locked out. The company does not want to continue to recognize the slightly higher rate of hourly pay this individual receives. This is a rate the employer had given him to recognize his long-standing service and some trade specific skill sets. This is also a rate that his coworkers feel he deserves.

This is also someone who has dedicated time to be a shop steward, a leader within the workplace. He takes care of his fellow co-workers and looks out for the interest of all employees.

We want to ensure our members have the rights they deserve in the workplace, and we continue to fight for them. Please show you support for our locked-out members as they wait for a fair collective agreement.

CEDA Industrial Services Employees Locked Out

The holiday season is supposed to be a time when you celebrate with friends and family. You look back on all of the things you are thankful for throughout the year, and think about what you are hopeful for in the year to come.

It is about giving and kindness, laughter and joy.

It is something that is especially needed in Fort McMurray this year. Between the downturn in the economy and the devastating fires, the city has been hit hard.

Now, the holiday season just got a lot harder for a group of hard-working employees at CEDA Industrial Services in Fort McMurray.

Just two weeks before Christmas, CEDA has locked our members out.

Now they are left wondering what will happen to their jobs in an economy that is already suffering.

We were served a lock out notice on Dec. 8, locking us out at 4 p.m. on Dec. 11th.

However, we managed to convince the employer to return to the table on Dec.13 and they subsequently rescinded the lock out to today at noon.

What makes this even more frustrating for these members is that we have been trying to establish their first collective agreement with the employer since July 2015.

For over a year, we have been fighting so that these members get the respect they deserve in the workplace.

We acknowledge that a first collective does take a bit longer with a new group, but to take over a year is absolutely unacceptable.

This is a prime example why first agreement language has to be introduced into the labour code. Employers shouldn’t be able to play the system, which currently favours them in the sense that they can drag the process. This can potentially result in some new members losing confidence in their unions.

Following the initial lock out notice, our members voted 100% in favour of strike action. This was a move that was essential to preserve the terms of their working relationship and hold on to the hard fought clauses that we attained during a process that is now entering its 17th month.

On Dec. 13 every unresolved issue with the exception of sub-contracting, and one employee with a slight wage differential, had been agreed to. In fact, the union had agreed to the employer’s previous language on subcontracting presented in good faith during bargaining in August of this year.

Despite this, the employer drove forward with language and a thought pattern on subcontracting that would threaten our members job security and the well-being of their families.

This collective agreement is not about wages – it is about respect for rights in the workplace. Employees have even been willing to take concessions in their wages and the union structured a plan to tie future wage increases to the economy, a plan that both parties had agreed to during negotiations.

After everything these employees have been through this year, they don’t deserve this from CEDA Industrial Services. Especially around the holiday season.

Please show you support for our locked-out members as they wait for a fair collective agreement. Being locked out on the street is no way to start out 2017.

Job Quality On The Decline, But Unions Offer A Way Up

As we head into 2017, a new report has found that the quality of employment in Canada is falling.

Although headlines recently have focused on the impact precarious employment is having on young people, this study shows that all age groups are affected by the quality of work in our country.

The report found that the loss in job quality has been stead over the past 10 years and the share of workers who are paid below the average wage has risen over the years to just under 61 per cent in 2015.

It also found that the gap in wages is still growing. Although the minimum wage is rising to help the poorest workers, it is the gap between middle and high-income people that is growing.

Download Our Guide On How To Protect Yourself In This Economy

So what exactly does a ‘low quality’ job mean?

CIBC economist Benjmin Tai explained to CBC news that it means more people are working part time, are self employed and are in low wage jobs.

He pointed out that jobs with above average pay will continue to have a good wage, that is not where new jobs are being created.

And this affects people of all ages.

Tai found that young people and Canadians over 55 are stuck in the low-wage job sector. Even among workers aged 25 to 54, over half had jobs that paid between 50 and 100 per cent of the average wage.

Download Our Guide On How To Protect Yourself In This Economy

Being a union member greatly increases the quality of your job in a number of ways including wage, benefits and safety.

Union members earn more across the board with members on average earning $5.28 more per hour. It also helps with gender parity with women earning 35 per cent more when they are with a union. You workers earn 27 per cent more.

A collective agreement makes sure you have job security, fair hours and benefits. Being a member improves your quality of life both inside and outside of the workplace.


The Gender Pay Gap: What You Need To Know

It is hard to believe that in 2016 there is still an issue with a gender pay gap in Canada, but it is true.

Although it is true in many industries women are making the same amount as men, and things have improved since a decade ago, we still have a long way to go.

Here are the answers to some of the biggest questions about the gender pay gap.

Download Our Guide On How To Protect Yourself In This Economy

How large is the pay gap?

In a study by Catalyst Canada, Canadian women are making $8,000 a year less than men doing an equivalent job – the global average is $4,000. Statistics Canada shows that a woman working full time in Canada makes 73.5 cents for every dollar a man makes. They also found that that’s $168 billion in wages missing from the Canadian economy.

This wage gap exists across all sectors and all education levels.

How does this compare to other countries?

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Canada has the 8th highest gender wage gap of 34 industrialized countries and the world economic foundation found that Canada ranks in 30th place, making it 117 years before we would reach gender parity.

Who is most affected by this?

Oxfam Canada found that working full-time aboriginal women made 26 per cent less than non-aboriginal men and women of colour made 32 per cent less than non-racialized men.

What does the UN think about this?

They are not impressed. They have criticized the gap, with a report in July saying it was concerned about ‘the wide pay gap, uneven legislation relating to equal pay and the failure to enforce employment equity in the private sector.’

Download Our Guide On How To Protect Yourself In This Economy

Why is there a wage gap?

There are many reasons. One of the biggest ones that is cited is that many women still believe that making this much less is the norm living in Canada and they should just accept it.

Another factor is that men and women tend to have different types of jobs, and the ones women most often work in have lower wages than the ones men often work in.

According to Sarah Kaplan, a professor of strategic management at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, maternity is another reason why women are making less then men.

"If [women] do take the time off, they are typically giving up a salary and wage growth right at that crucial moment of their career," Kaplan explained in an interview with the Huffington Post. "This pushes that baseline salary from where future promotions will grow."

Can unions make a difference?

Unions have play a major role when it comes women’s rights in the workplace, including the Teamsters with contracts that have lead the way when it comes to gender equality. 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.

A collective agreement can ensure that women will be paid equally for equal work.

Precarious Work In Canada – Is It Here To Stay?

Precarious work is a topic that has been brought up quite often this year, and is a reality for far too many people in Canada.

Precarious is officially defined as people who ‘who fill permanent job needs but are denied permanent employee rights.’  Some of these rights include safe working conditions, benefits and fair wages.

On Oct. 22 the federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau told Canadians that they should get used to the ‘job churn’. In other words, Morneau was telling Canadians that precarious work, especially for young people, was here to stay for a while and we as a country have to prepare for that.

Not all people feel that way.

Author Nora Loreto told CBC that she believes Morneau’s comments are trying to make precarious work seem to be the new normal.

"What's happening here is Morneau is trying to make something that should not be palatable — be palatable to young people, to tell them to expect that their life is going to be a struggle, that they will not have the 'good job,'" she explained.

Many experts also point out that the government can do more to change the situation, and if they do not it could create higher costs for the economy.

Fiona McQuarrie, associate professor in the school of business at the University of the Fraser Valley, pointed out that high turnover requires employers to invest in recruiting, hiring and training. Beyond that, employees working in precarious positions often suffer stress and are not able to make major financial investments.

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.

This ‘job churn’ is something that is affecting our country right now, and together we have to decide how we want the future of employment to be in Canada.

Teamsters Praise Approval of Enbridge Line 3 Replacement

Please click the link below to view the positive responses, in English and French, from Prime Minister Trudeau's announcement, made November 29, 2016, regarding the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement.




You Are Not Alone: Moving Forward

The past few years have been tough for Alberta. We have faced a huge recession with dropping oil prices and mass layoffs across the province.

Add to that the devastating Fort McMurray fire, and we have found ourselves with a province that is suffering.

Visit Our Initiative #YouAreNotAlone

The suicide rate in Alberta went up by 30 per cent just this past year and demand for counselling services have increased by up to 80 per cent according to resources across Alberta.

It is clear we need a more open dialogue and more resources dedicated to suicide prevention and awareness in our province.

That is why we launched You Are Not Alone over two months ago in hopes to do this. A docu-series and initiative dedicated to reducing stigma and increasing prevention of suicide, not only in Alberta, but across Canada.

We talked to people who have lost loved ones to suicide, people who have tried to die by suicide, policy makers and suicide prevention resources across the country. They shared their stories of loss, determination and hope.

They have also shared stories of stigma and a a lack of awareness. Although we have come a long way in talking about mental health, suicide is something that is still not talked about openly at home or in the workplace.

Visit Our Initiative #YouAreNotAlone

Alberta is a province that is known for its resilience and helping each other in times of need. It is time for us to come together when it comes to mental health and suicide awareness. There shouldn’t be a stigma attached to these issues and the fact that there is, needs to be addressed.

Although our video series has come to an end, the chance to make a difference has not.

By sharing our videos and reaching out to leaders and policy makers, you can send a message – we need more funding towards suicide prevention and mental health support in our province. The time for change is now.