Canadians Fed Up with their Wages

Canadians are fed up and they’re not going to take it anymore. This is what a survey found when it comes to how workers in our country feel about their wages.

Despite a growing economy and job opportunity, wages have remained stagnant in most industries across the country. Workers are frustrated, rightfully so, and want change.

The survey found that 83 per cent of Canadians are dissatisfied with their pay. A lot of this has to do with the rising cost of living in the country. Food costs are going up and there are rising interest rates that are hitting families hard.

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And Canadians are prepared to do something about their stagnant wages. They’re going to their employers to get the raises they deserve.

Over half of respondents said they were asking for a raise. The average ask is for just under $12,000 more per year, with Millennials most likely to ask.

The main reasons for the raise request are because Canadians say they’ve earned it by their performance, by taking on extra responsibilities without an increase in pay and because it’s long overdue.

If you have been dedicated to a job and are going the extra mile you deserve to be paid for it. An employer should care about the health, welfare and well-being of their employees, but unfortunately, this is becoming rare.

Not surprisingly, the survey found that many requests have been denied and for a variety of reasons. Employees have been told there isn’t enough budget, they haven’t been at the company long enough and some were given no reason at all. The one constant is that women are denied more often than men.

So why are wages so stagnant?

There are a number of factors, but one of the main reasons is the decline of unions. Unions change the balance of power in favour of employees when dealing with employers. Unions set the bar for wages for industries for decades, and as unions started to decline so did the increase in wages. Without a union standing up for employees in the workplace, employers have not felt the pressure to increase wages.

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Another reason is the growth of the gig economy. Employers are much more likely to hire contract or gig workers for positions that they used to hire full-time employees. There is also a wave of baby boomers retiring who are being replaced by millennials that employers are paying lower wages.

Canadians deserve to be fed up with their pay and should do something about it. If you are a hard worker, you should be paid like it and not left falling behind the cost of living.


Canada Makes List of Top Countries for LGBTQ Workers

The summer pride season has come to a close and Canadians have a lot to be proud of. Across the country, people have come together to celebrate diversity and equality in their towns and cities. Teamsters 362 did so in Calgary with an incredible float at the Calgary Pride Parade where thousands attended. We were proud to do this because we believe in supporting diversity inside and outside of the workplace.

This is why we were happy to see the study showing that Canada has made it into the list of the top 20 countries in the world that are best for LGBTQ workers.

The study from Silver Swan Recruitment scored countries on the following factors – LGBT laws and rights, LGBT employment laws, minimum wage, unemployment rate, average salary and LGBT - friendliness.

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Luxemburg was rated as the number one country on the list. Australia, New Zealand, Monaco, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom were listed in the top 10. Canada came in at number 18 and tied with Sweden for the most LGBT-friendly. Our neighbours to the south were listed at 52, while Syria, Afghanistan and Kenya rounded out the bottom of the list.

Canada should be proud of this ranking, but we still have work to do. While there have been legislative changes, the day-to-day experience of the LGBTQ2S workers still includes obstacles, stigma, bias and bullying.

A study of LGBT Canadians from last year found that while the community feels generally accepted among their families and friends, almost 75 per cent reported that they've been bullied at some point in their life.

What is especially troubling is that of those who said they were discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, 40 per cent said the discrimination occurred at their workplace.

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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 and ‘to ensure equality in the workplace and to enhance workers’ power at the bargaining table, in organizing campaigns, and in the political arena.’

Teamsters 362 is proud to fight for equality and diversity for all workplaces and we plan to continue to help. We hope that one day Canada will reach number one on the list of countries that are best for LGBTQ workers.


Wage Stagnation: What Is The Answer?

Have you ever noticed that wages seem to have been the same for quite some time? It seems like wages stay around the same, but the cost of living increases year after year. It’s because wage stagnation is a major crisis hitting developed countries, including Canada.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released a report that with unemployment rates at record lows in countries around the world, wage growth has become ‘missing in action.’ They have reported that developed countries are seeing unprecedented wage stagnation.

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Higher profits do not equal higher wages. Those profits just put money into the pocket of the 1 per cent.

So we know there is stagnation, but what are the reasons for it?

New Company Structure 
The OECD has pointed out that ‘superstar’ tech companies that have been popping up around the world are structured in a way that eliminates the need for lots of employees. Many huge tech companies have less than 100 employees. This trend reduces the amount of money that goes into wages and increases the amount going to the shareholders and owners.

Rise of Low Skilled Jobs
There has been a huge increase in the number of low-skilled jobs around the world due to the rise of technology and globalization. This has been creating a polarization of wages at the very top and bottom, eliminating the middle-class. While there are more jobs available, more and more of them are low-paying and low-skilled.

Lack of Unions
Unions change the balance of power in favour of employees when dealing with employers. Unions set the bar for wages for industries for decades, and as unions started to decline so did the increase in wages. Without a union standing up for employees in the workplace, employers have not felt the pressure to increase wages. Union members earn on average $5.28/hour more than non-union workers in Canada. That is an extra $43.2 billion into our economy.

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Stagnant Despite Minimum Wage
In 2016, the Alberta Government unveiled a plan to raise the minimum wage in Alberta to $15/hour. It was raised $1.00 to $12.20 per hour on Oct. 1, 2016, to $13.60 on Oct. 1, 2017, and will be $15 by Oct. 1 of this year. Despite this, overall wages have not increased by much and any economic growth has almost exclusively benefited the top 1 per cent in the province. 

The good news is that the popularity of unions is increasing, especially with millennials who view them favourably and much more favourably than corporations.  With the addition to unions in the workplace, wages can raise for union members and non-union members alike.


Why Unions Are So Important

Think about your work life today. Chances are you're paid at least the minimum wage. You probably have some days off. Your place of work has safety guidelines that they are supposed to follow, and if they don’t follow those, then there are consequences.

All of those things are possible because of unions. Unions set the standard for wages, benefits and working conditions across North America, but as unionizations declines sometimes it becomes easy to forget.

In an economy with a shrinking middle class and increasing wealth at the top, conditions for workers are starting to decline. Precarious work is on the rise in Canada and workers don’t see the protections they once had.

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A recent global example of this is Amazon.

Founder Jeff Bezos is officially the richest man in the world and the wealthiest person in history with a net worth of $150 billion. Amazon is a household name and one of the most influential and profitable companies in the world.

But workers aren’t seeing any of the rewards.

Violations
Journalists and activists around the world have discovered widespread abuse of Amazon workers. Workers have been found to ‘routinely urinate in water bottles’ to avoid being reprimanded for taking breaks or falling behind in productivity. There are countless reports of workers being seriously injured on the job and then being fired or not allowed to fill out workers compensation forms. Others have been injured and punished for not coming into work the next day. Other employees have ‘succumb to fatigue and exhaustion’ from not being allowed to take breaks during their shift.

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Anti-Union
There have been countless efforts to unionize at Amazon in order to gain protections, living wages and basic rights for workers. The New York Times reported that Amazon has direct instructions for managers on how to detect and bust any union efforts. There have also been many documented reports of employees being fired if any unionization efforts are even suspected.

Despite the poor track record on labour right, cities across North America, including in Canada, are desperate for the chance to have Amazon located in their region.

What this shows is that the labour movement is still needed. Collective bargaining ensures pay and work standards for union members and sets the bar for all in the industry. Unions also fight for protections for all workers across Canada, from preventing discrimination in the workplace to ensuring there are up-to-date safety guidelines. Unions are needed now more than ever.


What Exactly Is A Mancession?

Albertans know all too well the pains of a recession. We have experienced riding the wave of boom and bust many times in the province and we see first-hand the effect it can have on everyone in the province – not just those in oil and gas.

Although we are starting to bounce back from the latest hit, we’re still seeing the impact of the last recession on our province, especially for men. Many economists and researchers have referred to the latest economic phase as the ‘mancession’.

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What is a Mancession?
This term refers to when a recession hits men harder than women, and according to economist Ron Kneebone from the University of Calgary, recessions are increasingly becoming mancessions.  In Calgary, men enjoyed two decades of income growth, but when the recession struck the average male income plunged by $20,000. Young men were hit particularly hard and suffered some of the worst job losses. This was similar in the 80s and 90s.

Changing Roles
Part of this type of recession is a shifting of gender roles and culture. Research suggests that these types of recessions are shifting the way men think of masculinity and traditional roles in the household. Women are increasingly educated and moving into breadwinning roles, and this means shifting the idea of work and home life for many people in the province.

Gendered Industries
Another factor is that male-dominated industries are typically in high-risk sectors and are also starting to disappear. Men make up 75 per cent of Alberta’s oil and gas sector and 87 per cent of construction. However, more secure female-dominated industries are expanding quickly especially in areas such as healthcare and social services. Studies have shown that men need to start shifting their views of ‘male and female’ work in order to adapt.

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Mental Health and Self-Worth
One of the biggest concerns with a mancession is the impact on the self-worth and mental health of those affected. Men have reported feeling completely shaken, worthless and less of a ‘man.’ Depression is common as well as an ‘overwhelming sense of loss.’ Suicide is also a huge issue. Men between the ages of 40 and 60 have the highest rate of suicide in Canada. Although women attempt suicide more, men die by suicide three times more often because they use more lethal means.

We do know that recessions do affect all genders, it’s clear the men are hit more directly in Alberta. While we can’t ignore the issue of the gender pay gap, women are still earning 76¢ for every $1 a man earns, we should be paying close attention to mancessions for the well-being of Albertans across the province.


Teamsters Weekly Update for Sep. 1

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.

This week in bargaining, Local 362’ Bargaining Committee met with Matthews Equipment Limited for the commencement of bargaining for the renewal of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Stay tuned for further weekly updates to learn about progress on Matthews Equipment negotiations and future meeting dates.

In other news this week, Representatives from Local 362 visited UPS Calgary on Tuesday, Aug. 28 to celebrate the anniversary of the following Members:
-          Meho Karaibrahimovic with 20 years of service
-          Dan Davies with 20 years of service
-          Neal Duczek with 20 years of service
-          Mike Maley 30 years of Service
From all of us at Local 362, we would like to commend the following Members on their hard work over the years but would like to wish you many more years of safe and healthy work with UPS.

On Monday, Aug. 27 representatives from Local 362 attended the official flag raising for the beginning of Calgary Pride 2018 at the McDougal Centre in Downtown Calgary. As mentioned in previous weekly updates, Local 362 is enthused and extremely proud to be taking part in the Pride Parade on Sunday, Sep. 2 starting at 11.00. Come down and join us and show your support for Teamster 362 Pride. For more information on the events taking place throughout the weekend, please visit: http://www.calgarypride.ca/events/


Labour Day: Why We Still Need Unions

The Labour Day weekend signals a lot of things for Canadians. It’s time for the kids to go back to school, friends gather together for one last camping trip and you can start getting sweaters and toques ready for Fall.

What it really should mean is that you take a minute to think about the labour movement and why it is important today. There are a lot of reasons and here are just a few.

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Experience Fighting for Workers’ Rights

The labour movement has been fighting for workers' rights for decades and are the reason we have so many of the laws and rights that are in place in the workplace today. Unions fought to ensure that there were health and safety standards in effect across the country, that people are entitled to properly scheduled work weeks and they set the bar for fair wages across industries.

The Toronto Printers Strike in 1872 saw over 100 strikers in Toronto fight hard to win a 54-hour work week and better wages. In 1914 unions helped to create the first Canadian model for provincial legislation that recognized that ‘some level of injury is inevitable and that compensation should be provided.’ Unions also fought for the Unemployment Insurance Act (EIA), which according to Statistics Canada was created in 1940 and over 30 years later in 1971 unions helped push for maternity rights to be added to it where mothers with ‘20 or more insurable weeks could claim up to 15 weeks of benefits.’

Pay Gap
The pay gap in Canada is very real and not shrinking. Statistics Canada found that the income gap between visible minorities, Indigenous people 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. The gap is alive and well for women as well who earned $0.87 for every $1 earned by a man last year. A lot of this is due to the decline in unions who have fought for equal pay for decades.

In Alberta alone
, immigrants earned $3.49/hour more with a union, and Aboriginal workers earned $8.47/hour more. Union women in Alberta earn $7.76/hour more than non-union women.

Growth of Precarious Work
Precarious work is starting to become the new norm in Canada, a fact that is very troubling. This is when workers who fill permanent job needs are denied full workplace rights such as benefits, a fair wage, a stable schedule and a voice in the workplace. They also don't allow you to unionize, because they know that unions fight for all of those rights of employees. Unions are the only answer to the rise of precarious work.

Wage Theft
Wage theft can include not paying for hours worked, overtime or breaks, not paying minimum wage, illegal deductions, withholding tips or denial of pay for sick leave or vacation. This usually happens in precarious work, but can happen in high-paying jobs as well. In the last three years in Alberta, there have been more than 6,000 wage theft claims, adding up to nearly $19 million owed to workers. Unions ensure that this will not happen to you. They have grievance procedures in place that will hold employers accountable to their responsibility to pay their employees.

Health and Safety
Everyone should feel safe and healthy in the workplace – it’s a basic human right. Unfortunately, research has shown that Albertans are afraid to report workplace injuries because of being fired. Research released by the University of Alberta’s Parkland Institute 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. With a union on your side, you have someone to back you up in the workplace and ensure you are working in a safe workplace. With a union, you will never be afraid to report and employers are held responsible.

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All of these examples show exactly why we should celebrate and support unions today. They are the strongest force against inequality, wage theft and health and safety violations in the workplace and society.

It’s well known that as unionization has declined, inequality has increased and wages have remained become stagnant. Not only do union members earn more than non-union members, but they help set the bar for salaries in industries across Canada.

This labour day, take a moment to think about what unions have done for workplaces in the past and how they continue to fight for the rights of all Canadians in the workplace today.


Teamsters Local 362 Weekly Update For Aug. 17

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.

Late last week, a meeting was held for all members of Inland Concrete in Fort McMurray on the Aug. 9 to vote on the recent Memorandum of Agreement. We would like to congratulate and thank all members for attending the meeting and taking part in the vote, which ratified the re-negotiated agreement.

On Tuesday, Aug. 14 Business Agents in Edmonton attended a step two grievance meeting at the Edmonton International Airport with Garda World Pre-Board Screening. If any members working with Garda World Pre-Board Screening in Edmonton are looking for information about their grievances settlements, please contact the Edmonton Hall at 780-455-2255.

Representatives from Local 362’ Motion Production, ACTRA Alberta, The Directors Guild of Canada and IATSE 210 met with the Edmonton Screen Industries Office on Tuesday, Aug. 14 to discuss motion production development in the Edmonton area. The Unions and Guilds also worked in conjunction with the Edmonton Screen Industries Office to develop a business plan to aid future development of motion production projects in the Edmonton area.

In bargaining this week, Local 362’ bargaining committee for Brinks Alberta met the company representatives in Calgary from Tuesday, Aug. 14 to Thursday, Aug. 16 for the second round of contractual negotiations. The next round of negotiations is tentatively scheduled for mid-September.

In other exciting news, members and representatives from Teamsters Locals 362 and 987 have committed to their 5th year riding their bicycles in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. The Local 362 Truck and Trailer will be transporting riders' bikes from the Edmonton and Red Deer areas to the event. Local 987's Sprinter Van will be active for all 200km of the ride on Saturday, Aug. 18 and 19 as a sweep van to ensure the riders' safety and provide any aid needed during their journey over the two days. We would like to wish all riders participating in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer a safe ride and congratulate them on their determination for a great cause in further development for a cure for cancer. Thank you!

For more information on the event, please visit: https://ride.conquercancer.ca/alberta/


Teamsters Local 362 Weekly Update For Aug. 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.

Teamsters Local 362 in conjunction with Teamsters Local 213 in British Columbia counted the ballots returned for Monarch Transport on Friday, Aug. 3. The Memorandum of Agreement was ratified by the membership in both Alberta and British Columbia. Congratulations to our members with Monarch Transport on their success of ratifying their agreement.

On Tuesday, Aug. 7  representatives from Teamsters Local 362 were present at the monthly meeting with the Southern Alberta Building Trades to discuss ongoing projects and affairs of unions involved in the construction industry in Alberta. In other events on Tuesday, Business Agents handling Garda World Pre-Board Screeners met with management of Garda World for a step three grievance meeting, where the Business Agents discussed issues from Calgary, Edmonton and the other regional airports that Teamsters Local 362 represents.

In other airport news this week, Business Agents in Edmonton have started accepting nominations for Garda World Pre-Board Screeners Shop Stewards. If any members with Garda World Pre-Board Screening at the Edmonton International Airport are interested in joining the ranks to become a Shop Steward, please inquire with a current Shop Steward or contact your Business Agent on how to complete a nomination form. The deadline to have your nomination in is Aug. 31, 2018.

In Calgary, Business Agents for the Armoured Car Division met with Brinks management for a step three grievance meeting in hopes of resolving open grievances and other pending items before Local 362's bargaining committee resumes contractual negotiations with Brinks next week. In ratification votes this week, Business Agents in Fort McMurray presented the Memorandum of Agreement for Inland Concrete at the Fort McMurray office on Thursday, Aug. 9.

In other events this week, Shop Steward Pei VanDen Brink from Garda World Pre-Board Screeners in Edmonton has started her first developmental leave with Local 362. Pei will be on duty out of our Edmonton Hall and will be working with all of the Business Agents stationed in the Edmonton area. Pei will be with Local 362 until the beginning of September. If you have the chance to speak with Pei, make sure you to welcome her aboard Team 362.


Teamsters Local 362 Weekly Update For Aug. 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.

On Monday, July 30 Business Agents in Calgary were present at the United Parcel Service facility to celebrate long-standing member and Shop Steward, Elliot Marfo's milestone of 20 years of employment with the company.  In Calgary, on Tuesday, July 31 Business Agents visited the membership of Local 362’s Motion Production Division onset of an upcoming production being filmed in Calgary.

On Wednesday, Aug 1 Business Agents in Edmonton met with members from Inland Ready Mix Edmonton to present the newly drafted Memorandum of Agreement, which was followed by a vote by the membership. On Friday, Aug 3 Business Agents in Calgary and Edmonton counted ballots for Alberta members employed with Monarch Transport. In other upcoming membership meetings, Business Agents in Fort McMurray will be meeting with members from Inland Concrete to present and vote on a Memorandum of Agreement on Thursday, Aug 9 at the Fort McMurray office.

Local 362 is happy to announce that we have now completed all the steps to secure our office space within the Calgary International Airport and we anticipate to be fully operational within the next few weeks. We are excited to be at an arm’s length of our members who are working at the Calgary International Airport. Make sure to stop by the new office and say hello.

As mentioned a few weeks ago, 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 Truck and our float that will be showcased in the parade. If any members or members’ family members would like to take part in this adventure to showcase our Pride, please reach out to us by email at Pride@gtl362.ca for further information or to have your name(s) added to the list.