Teamsters Canada Foundation Donates $8,000 to Food Banks Alberta

The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously impacted peoples incomes and their ability to feed their family. We decided to engage directly with charities in light of the enormous need, and because we never shy away from a major challenge to help community members.”

Calgary, May 22, 2020 — The Teamsters Canada Foundation is donating $8,000 to Food Banks Alberta.

Food Banks Alberta is the provincial association of food banks with 96 members across Alberta. Its mission is to heighten the impact of the provincial food-bank network by creating new opportunities, increasing knowledge, providing resources, and offering innovative programs.

“We are thankful for this generous donation from Teamsters Canada Foundation that will help support food banks across Alberta in their efforts to feed those in need across the province’’ said, Arianna Johnson Senior Project Manager, Food Banks Alberta.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously impacted people’s incomes and their ability to feed their family,” said Randy Powers, President of the Prairies Joint Council of the Teamsters Union. “We decided to engage directly with charities in light of the enormous need, and because we never shy away from a major challenge to help community members.”

The Teamsters Canada Foundation has pledged its support to several charitable organizations across the country, with donations totalling $300,000.

“Canadians are showing remarkable solidarity and generosity,” said François Laporte, Chairman of the Teamsters Canada Foundation and President of Teamsters Canada. “We have a duty to act when we can help our fellow citizens, and that’s what we’re doing alongside all our partners across Canada.”

Funds raised by the Teamsters Canada Foundation through its charitable activities come from private donations, not from the dues of Teamsters members. The Canada Revenue Agency also requires that foundations donate funds directly to charitable organizations rather than individuals.

The Teamsters Canada Foundation also accepts individual donations through its Web site ftcf.ca.

The mission of the Teamsters Canada Foundation is to help the most vulnerable of our society through charities present in Canadian communities. The Foundation also supports workers who want to improve their lives by retraining or by taking courses to change or advance their career. Visit ftcf.ca to find out more.

 

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Information:

Stéphane Lacroix, Public Relations Officer

Cell: 514-609-5101

slacroix@ftcf.ca

 

 

 


A Busy Spring For Teamsters Local 362 Pre-Board Screening Bargaining Committees

Spring has been busy for Teamsters Local 362 Pre-board Screening Bargaining Committees across the province!

Starting with Lloydminster Regional Airport, 362’s bargaining a recommended memorandum of agreement on March 26 and a renewal of Lloydminster’s agreement that saw healthy wage increases of 1.5% in the first year, 1.75% in the second year and 2% in the third year; the membership opted to split the wage increases and allocated more money into their pension plan. Over a three year term of Lloydminster’s collective agreement, the membership will see $.71 in total added to their pension contributions, helping to secure their future upon retirement. The Membership in Lloydminster ratified the renewal of their agreement with 100% acceptance on April 2.

Heading to the southern half of the province: Local 362 negotiated a first collective agreement for Pre-board Screeners at Lethbridge’s Regional Airport with the help of Shop Steward Keith Atkinson. The agreement was ratified on April 11 with nearly 100% voter turnout and was accepted by the members with an outstanding 100% approval. The agreement saw healthy increases to the wages over a four-year term at: 1.25% in the first year, 1.50% in the second, 1.75% in the third and 2.00% in the fourth year and the implementation of a pension fund that will see the Screeners earn $1.00 per every hour worked by the last year of their agreement.

Moving east to Medicine Hat, bargaining commenced in late April for the renewal of the Pre-board Screeners at the Medicine Hat Regional Airport with Shop Steward Azra Austin and Training Specialist Patricia Hayworth present. With 2% in the first year, 1.75% in the second year, 1.75 in the third year and 1.5% in the fourth year. The Members ratified the renewal of their collective agreement at 88% in favour.

Heading north to Grande Prairie: Business Agents Pei Vanden Brink and Lukas Eichel-Fominov have had the delight to spend time getting to know all the Pre-board Screeners working at the Airport in Grande Prairie. It has been a wild ride along the way! With reaching a recommended offer in late March and having the memorandum rejected by a whopping 84% on April 6 while at the same time, fending off the threat of a decertification application that was submitted by CLAC in late April 2019, Local 362 knew that we had to make some changes to make things right for our members.

In early May 2019, the Canadian Labour Relations Board ordered a vote that occurred on May 9. With high voter turnout, Agents Vanden Brink and Eichel-Fominov raced to Grande Prairie to be present to support the Membership throughout the process and let them know whatever the outcome be, we have their best interest at hand and in heart. As the day rolled on, the Membership continued to trickle in to vote and at 6 p.m., the ballots were counted and the members working as Pre-board Screeners at the Grande Prairie Airport in large voted to remain Members of Teamsters Local 362. With this in hand, both Agents Vanden Brink and Eichel-Fominov knew that it was time to head back to the table to secure a favorable memorandum of agreement for the Members that insured their trust within the Teamsters. A phone call was made that evening to secure dates for the soonest availability that the company had and a posting went up to elect two bargaining committee members from within their workplace to better represent the Membership.

On May 27 and 28, the Union reconvened with Management with the Shop Steward Dawn Randa and Training Specialist Melissa Miller in attendance. At mid-day on May 28, Local 362’s Bargaining Committee reached a recommended memorandum agreement which saw improvements in increases and additional changes to the language. For example, amendments to the article pertaining to hours of work in collective agreement were made to allow more input into the shift building and bidding process which will aid from within the bargaining unit to ensure the as many full-time positions are created; as well, the addition of language that provides a paid meal break for any member working five hours or greater.

The Union’s Bargaining Committee understood that the Membership wanted to see improvements within the monetary package, as the cost of living in Grande Prairie is higher than in other areas of the province. In doing so, Bargaining Committee Members thought constructively as to the best way of achieving this through re-negotiations. Instead of a three year agreement, the union’s committee proposed a four year term of agreement and implemented the higher percentages in years one with a 2% increase, 1.5% increase in the second year, 1.5% in the third year in the third year, and 1.25% increase in the fourth year, which was a change from the previous memorandum voted in early April that saw 1.5% in the first year, 1.75% in the second year and 2% in the third year, but with the same allocation of increases over four years into the pensionable earnings, with an increase of $0.21 over the life of the agreement.

On May 7 Local 362’s Bargaining Committee presented the recommended memorandum of agreement to the Pre-board screeners in Grande Prairie. With great enthusiasm, Local 362’s committee went through all the changes that would be housed within their new and improved collective agreement if the membership chose to accept the recommended offer. In the late afternoon, the ballot box was opened and counted by the Members present.

Congratulations were in order!  The memorandum of agreement was ratified by the Members with a stunning 95% in favour of the acceptance.

Trustees Gary Kitchen, David Cooper, Business Agents Pei Vanden Brink, and Lukas Eichel-Fominov would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to all Pre-board Screeners in the province of Alberta and a special thanks to the following Bargaining Committee Members that represented their fellow brothers and sisters in negotiations: Keith Atkinson (Shop Steward – Lethbridge); Azra Austin (Shop Steward – Medicine Hat), Patricia Hayworth (Training Specialist – Medicine Hat); Dawn Randa (Shop Steward – Grande Prairie), Melissa Miller (Training Specialist – Grande Prairie). Without your help, we would not be where we are today!

In Solidarity – General Teamsters Local No. 362.


Teamsters Power

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is 1.4 million strong working men and women across North America, fighting for worker's rights for over 116 years!


Gig Economy Causing Serious Dangers for Workers

The gig economy has been growing each year around the world, including right here in Canada. The growth is a sign of the demand for convenience in our society. People want things brought to them and they want to be able to do it easily through an app or online.

People who are pro gig economy say that it offers a flexible option for workers who want to make their own hours and be their own boss.

But the truth is that this type of work has become dangerous for workers and the general public in a number of ways.

Car Crashes
One of the biggest sections of the gig-economy has been services that involve driving. Uber, Skip the Dishes and Door Dash are just a few of the many companies that operate with drivers. Studies have shown that extreme competition, the pressure to drive in bad conditions and work more hours has made this type of work incredibly dangerous. Research found that 42 per cent of drivers in the gig economy had damaged their vehicle while on the job and 30 per cent admitted to running a red light while working.

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No Protection
These types of jobs have almost no protection for their employees. This means that they work without pensions, job security or workers compensation coverage. Many gig economy workers have said that they have received almost no safety training and if they have any safety concerns they aren’t sure how to communicate them to the company. Even if they do get in contact with the company, their worries are often ignored.

Ratings Based
One of the biggest issues with services provided in the gig economy is that they're largely ratings based, meaning the customer gives direct feedback on your performance that can affect your job. This can have a negative effect on workers who will take abuse and not speak out for fear of getting a lower rating. In this type of work a low rating means less work and less income.

Mental Health
The mental health of those working in the gig economy is a huge concern. Although flexibility is considered really good for mental health, the other aspects that are part of a gig economy make that flexibility irrelevant. Many workers work extremely long hours, alone and isolated in stressful situations. They have little control over their job and wage. This can be a recipe for disaster when it comes to mental well-being.

Unions have been fighting for workplace rights for decades and have now shifted the focus to the gig economy. Having a union means that you have a contract that guarantees a fair wage, stable hours and job protection. You have the confidence to do your job safely without fear of repercussions or pressure to put yourself in dangerous situations. With the rise of this type of gig work, we need unions now more than ever.

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A Future Without Unions Looks Scary

Unions have been fighting for workers for decades and as they have been gaining wins for employees, naturally employers and CEO’s are fighting back.

Unfortunately, they have been somewhat successful. Union membership has declined but the spirit of solidarity has not gone away, and the future is looking brighter as young people have begun to rally around unions. In a Gallup poll that showed the approval of unions rising, millennials, aged 18 to 34, were more pro-union than any other group.

That’s good news because a future without unions could be devastating to all Canadians in many ways.

1.     Pay Would Drop for Everyone
Unions set the bar for pay for union and non-union workers.  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. Without that standard being set, employers would no longer have to compete with well-paying jobs. Pay would drop lower and lower with no one to fight for better pay. You would see entry-level wages being lowered, while most workers end up working way harder for much less. The current trend of low-wage precarious work would spread like wildfire.

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2.     Inequality Would Rise
The goal of unions is to level the playing field between workers and employers. The influence of unions has meant that wealthy employers have to share their profits with workers. Without unions, there would be no one there to keep that balance in check. Studies over the years have directly linked the decline in unionization with the rise in inequality. If we lose unions, we lose the middle class and there would be a strong dividing line between rich and poor.

3.     You Would See More Racism and Discrimination
Unions have a goal of bringing together all workers, no matter what race, gender, religion or ethnicity they are. They also have a long history of supporting civil rights, LGBTQ rights and standing alongside anti-racist institutions. With no unions, there would be less pressure on employers to ensure that all workers could work free of discrimination in the workplace.

4.     Decline in Workplace Conditions
Most of the safety regulations we have in place today have a lot to do with unions. With no unions, workers would face working in extreme heat or cold, being forced into unsafe working conditions and extremely dangerous work environments. The government safety agencies and employers themselves would have much less pressure to follow or enforce safety protocol.

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5.     Basic Workplace Rights Would Deteriorate
We take our basic workplace rights for granted and often forget that just a few decades ago, we didn’t have a lot of the things we have today. Unions fought for and created weekends, stat holidays, breaks and the 40-hour work week. As we move into a world where automation and globalization are on the rise, not only will we have no one to fight for more workplace rights, the ones we have will most likely deteriorate.

It’s pretty scary to think about a world without unions. It’s clear it would impact not only your job but also greater society. That’s why it is so important that we support unions and continue to fight for workers’ rights across the country.


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.