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TEAMSTERS: NEW NAFTA SHOULD FOLLOW LEAD OF CANADIAN LABOUR PROPOSAL

The following is a joint statement from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa and Teamsters Canada President François Laporte in response to the end of round two of NAFTA negotiations in Mexico City earlier this week.

“We applaud the Canadian delegation for insisting on truly high-standard text – especially as to labour issues, which were regulated to unenforceable side agreements 25 years ago. Despite a lack of transparency from the U.S. government, we know that the Canadian proposals could do more to protect workers’ rights in North America than any previous trade agreement.

 “We agree with our governments that a modernized NAFTA will be a model for future trade deals. That’s why crafting a chapter that protects workers’ rights is central to the success to the renegotiation and a precondition for Teamsters’ support.

“On Labour, we agree that the substantive protections should be grounded in the ILO conventions, and that violations should be enforceable by trade sanctions. We also agree that U.S. state ‘right to work’ laws depress wages thereby arguably constitute an export subsidy to U.S. exporters who move production to those jurisdictions.

“We commend Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and her team for their ambition. We are hopeful that the U.S. and Mexican negotiators will give the Canadian proposal the consideration it deserves. It should be the starting point for continuing a conversation that is premised on the observation that, in the integrated supply chains of North America, the wages and working conditions of all workers always affect trade.”

 

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Testimonial

"I have been a member of Teamsters Local 464 for 23 years and have seen many of the executives come and go. Some of the previous executives nearly ran the Local into bankruptcy including losing our pension.  Bobby Kornhass, Bob Ryder and Paul Barton brought us back from the brink. Since they took over in 2000, we at Dairyland (Saputo) have had the best contracts I have seen since I have been there."

- Randy Onyschak

"I was employed for many years at a Teamster company that was shut down due to the economy. Because of my age, I was worried about starting over. Bobby, Bob and Paul not only negotiated a much better severance package than was in the contract, but they also went the extra mile and got me on at one of their other companies with an even better contract.They continued to help me even though it wasn't their job to."

- Armando Borean

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