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RE: Dairy Division Update for NAFTA 2.0

I would like to provide a brief update from the Dairy Division of Teamsters Canada to augment the excellent coverage already being provided by Brother John McCann, regarding the ongoing NAFTA negotiations. I have attached 2 articles (see links below) which I trust are of interest to provide an overview of what is at stake should the Canadian dairy supply management system fall prey to the US demands, as well as an article highlighting an article highlighting an ever-increasing number of US dairy advocacy groups suggesting the US dairy industry would be well served if they were to adopt a Canadian style supply management system, in an effort to illustrate the extreme positions and possibilities which could result from the modernization of NAFTA.

I recognize not all Teamsters Locals in Canada represent dairy workers, just like Local 987 does not represent a lot of cross-border truckers, but there is some benefit in all of us being aware of the potentially profound changes a re-negotiated NAFTA could have on our members in any of our jurisdictions. The Teamsters Union, both Teamsters Canada and the IBT, is North America’s dairy workers union, representing over 35,000 workers and their families, who process raw milk into its various forms and transport milk from not only the farm gate to the processors, like Parmalat, Saputo, Nestle and Agropur, to name just a few, but also transport the finished products by truck, train and air to destination markets around the world. The Teamsters Union has taken a leadership role in pressing its concerns with both Canadian and US trade representatives on issues of concern like cross-border trucking, dairy supply management, labour standards and international trade representative on issues of concerns like cross-border trucking, dairy supply management, labour standards and international trade dispute settlement procedures.

During the most recent Round 4 of NAFTA negotiations, Teamsters were front and centre in opposition to any changes to the Canadian dairy supply management system, a program which has become a generational pillar of Canadian commerce and has stood the test of time in its oversight and regulation of managing the balance between the production and supply of milk and the amount of product produced and available to the market. Managing milk production and sales in this way provides a stable market for the farmers who produce the milk, predictable production quotas for the processors and provides our dairy members with solid, good paying jobs, benefits and pensions as well as final product which can be trusted to be pure, safe and nutritious for public consumption.

The US dairy proposal for NAFTA 2.0 seeks to decimate Canada’s dairy supply management system, and with it the many thousands of Teamsters jobs, insisting on its complete dismantling over time, as well as totally unfettered access to the Canadian dairy market to dump its excess milk. The Teamsters applaud the Canadian government’s opposition to the dairy proposal and stand in solid support of not only our government, but the Dairy Farmers of Canada, the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, the National Farmers Union in the US, and a number of other American dairy farm family and worker advocacy groups, all united in opposition to any proposals to undermine dairy supply management. General President Hoffa and Teamsters Canada President Laporte hosted a Civil Society reception bringing together various leaders from worker advocacy groups, Canadian government negotiators, and supportive members of the US Senate, and spoke of the need to work together to advance a strong workers’ agenda in the modernized NAFTA.

Round 5 of the negotiations will continue in mid November.

 

Fraternally,

David Froelich

Director, Dairy Division

Teamsters Canada 

Click here to view article 1.

Click here to view article 2.

News Archive

Testimonial

“They have demonstrated the dedication and leadership that
our Local requires. They have always provided sound counsel, support, and frank
discussion on matters involving the members, contract negotiations and our
Local.“ 

- Bruce Tillapaugh –Shop Steward. Island Farms, Victoria

“I look after a lot of members in a very big plant. For years I had to fight for them by myself with no help at all from any of the Union’s representatives or Officers. This changed completely once Bobby, Bob and Paul were in office. Now I have access to my reps 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!  They’re always there to back me up.” 

- Darrell Lawres – Chief Shop Steward. Saputo, Sperling

For 35 years I have been a Teamster and a Dairyworker, I was a young kid needing a job in tough economic times. I found a place to work and make a living, I learned to work together with others having varying and different backgrounds than my own.

Much has changed for me personally and professionally, I got married to my beautiful wife of almost 25 years and we have raised two amazing children, both of whom are presently studying abroad. Both of my children were recipients of Hoffa Memorial Scholarship Funding.

So much of my success I can credit to having a well paying union job. The Teamsters have been a great union for me, negotiating strong collective agreements that held good wage and benefit packages as well as the cornerstone beliefs of seniority and workers’ rights. The Teamsters gave me a good wage and a voice.

I have always been an active Teamster, and now I sit on Local 464's Executive Board.

There can be a great degree of personal feelings when the word union is mentioned, but so often I look at professional associations and realize the name may be different, but the thought is the same...strength in numbers.

As I get toward the end of my career, I look forward to the thought of receiving the Teamsters Canada Pension Plan, and I am so grateful for the belief others had before me that Teamsters deserved a good and decent retirement...thank you.

Drew


- Drew Speirs