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Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is up to Union-Busting


We think readers and, particularly, Ontario teachers, would be interested to learn what the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has been up to lately. In a word, union-busting.

The pension plan, which is funded by contributions by and on behalf of Ontario’s unionized teachers, is waging a ruthless, vindictive campaign of harassment, intimidation and threats against U.S. workers of a company it owns: Exal.

In 2010, teachers acquired a controlling stake in Exal, an Ohio firm that makes aluminum bottles and cans and named three directors to its board to actively manage its investment.

When workers began to organize with the Teamsters union in late 2012, they were met by a vicious campaign of fear and intimidation by teachers’ management, which included coercive attempts to get workers to vote against the union drive by showing them a ballot with the ‘No’ box checked.

The U.S. National Labor Relations Board, responsible for enforcing labour laws, determined that Exal illegally harassed, interrogated, threatened and spied on union supporters.

The company settled the charges by posting a notice that it would not violate the workers’ rights again.

Teachers’ management of Exal not only violates U.S. labour law but internationally accepted standards for human rights. In addition, they’ve exposed teachers and its investment at Exal to both reputational and financial risk.

Creating a divisive and hostile work environment at the company’s only North American manufacturing facility is just bad business.

Ontario teachers should demand that the stewards of their retirement security enforce the principles of responsibility and respect the core values of the plan and its participants.

ROBERT BOUVIER, President, Teamsters Canada, Laval, Quebec

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“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 Speirs

"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