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Teamsters Urge NAFTA Negotiators to Address Labour, Trucking

Ottawa, September 27, 2017 – 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 three of NAFTA renegotiations in Ottawa.

“Teamsters sent a strong and diverse coalition to Ottawa to advocate for workers during NAFTA talks.

“Teamsters urged Canadian officials to work with the United States to fix the mistake of including long-haul trucking in the original NAFTA. U.S. and Canadian negotiators were briefed on suggested language that would provide a level-playing field, ensure a safe trucking fleet on highways and improve working conditions and wages for Mexican drivers.

“Teamsters in Canada and the United States are united in demanding that the issue of Mexican trucking be addressed in these negotiations.

“Teamsters also remain steadfast in their defence of supply management in the dairy sector.

“The first draft proposed U.S. labour chapter, which was tabled yesterday, is inadequate. The interests of working and middle class families are better served by the current Canadian proposal.

“Teamsters remain committed to supporting the proposed Canadian labour chapter, which will improve wages and working conditions in all three NAFTA countries and end right-to-work in the United States.

“Right-to-work laws unfairly subsidize corporations by artificially reducing wages and working conditions.  NAFTA countries should compete on the basis of productivity, not labour costs. We must end trade deals that lead to a race to the bottom.

“A modernized NAFTA will be a model for future trade deals. It is imperative that our governments get it right when it comes to workers’ rights.

General President Hoffa and President Laporte would like to thank John McCann, National Director of the Teamsters Canada Freight Division, David Froelich, Director of Teamsters Canada Dairy Division, and Johanne Couture, from the Owner Operators Independent Drivers Association. All three individuals helped bring the concerns of workers directly to the attention of negotiators during this round of talks.

 

For original article, click here.

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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


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