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Teamsters Local 61
Stronger Together 2014
September 23, 2014
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Crack in the Anti-Union Armor

For the First Time in North America, Teamsters Successfully Organize Workers at FedEx Freight

In a historic first, dock associates at FedEx Freight in Surrey, British Columbia have joined Teamsters Local 31. Read Teamsters Canada press release, here.

It’s a North American first for these workers at FedEx. Before this victory, the only unionized FedEx employees were the company’s U.S.-based pilots.

“We are tremendously excited to welcome the FedEx Freight workers into the Teamsters, and we hope this is the first of many victories at this company,” said Stan Hennessy, President of Delta, British Columbia-based Local 31, who is also an International Union Vice President. “We will now work hard to negotiate a strong first contract.”

FedEx Freight workers in Delanco, New Jersey will be voting on October 10 in their Teamsters election, and numerous Teamster local unions in the United States have filed for elections at FedEx Freight.

“We are seeing workers at FedEx Freight across North America saying they want their wages, benefits and working conditions negotiated in a legally binding union contract,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. “They are turning to the Teamsters for help and we will be there for them.”

The workers in British Columbia are seeking improved benefits, fair wages and a pension.

“Most of these new members only work 20 hours a week. How are they supposed to improve their quality of life?” said Stan Hennessy. “They have had enough of living without the slightest safety net!”

Local 31 collected cards from a majority of the 14 workers in the bargaining unit, then submitted an application on June 4, 2014 to represent the workers with the Canada Industrial Relations Board.

Local 31 was certified as the bargaining representative on September 15, 2014.

“The company sent representatives from other cities to the warehouse to meet with workers in group settings and one-on-one to dissuade them from supporting the union, but the workers remained united in their support to become Teamsters,” said Ben Hennessey, Local 31 organizer.

Ben Hennessy said the victory was a group effort. He thanked Local 31 President Stan Hennessy, Teamsters Canada Organizer Grant Coleman and Local 31 Business Agent Mike Hennessy, as well as the local’s staff members, for helping with the victory.

Local 31 will look into organizing other workers at the warehouse, which opened in 2012.

Monthly Membership Meeting

The regular monthly membership meeting will be held Saturday October 11th, 2014. The meeting will begin at 10:00 am with information of Local 61 and workplace updates.

We Look forward to seeing you there.


King of Tax Dodging

The Whopper is about to become un-American

Burger King is the latest U.S. company to try to buy a smaller foreign country and move its mailing address there so it can pay lower taxes.

Burger King wants to buy Canadian restaurant chain Tim Horton's so it can take advantage of Canada's lower corporate tax rate.

Business Insider noticed the Burger King Facebook page was blowing up with criticism of the planned move:
Tax inversions have become a big corporate trend as companies seek to lower their tax bills. This time, though, we have a major household name taking advantage of it, and people have noticed. 
Thousands of Burger King's seven-million-plus Facebook fans have described the fast-food restaurant with words like "traitor" and "un-American."
We took a look. The comments are vivid and frequent:
  • Now that Burger King is moving its headquarters to Canada (to take advantage of a lower corporate tax rate) will U.S. tax payers still be on the hook for food stamps and other benefits paid to Burger King's U.S. employees? If Americans are going to subsidize minimum wage workers they might want to eat their cheeseburgers from a company that at least has enough respect to fly its corporate flag in the U.S.
  • No more whoppers for me.
  • Congrats to BK. Great business thinking. Now that your gonna save all this money why not pass it on to the employees. Raise their pay with all the extra money. You can afford it now.
  • Burger King as dead to me as Walmart.
Finally, here's a priceless rant:
  • We don't believe you and refuse to do business with any corporation that moves from the USA. I will not be going to a Burger King again. Just greedy people trying to drive down the middle class and treating their workers like slaves. Shame on you and the whole corporate America. Your nasty food is no good for Americans to eat anyway. We do pray for the pitiful workers that will get the brunt of this. It is always the middle and lower class that gets the boot while people like CEO's get to pack in fortunes for themselves and their buds. Try to sell all of burgers in Canada. We don't want anymore of them. Fly a Canadian flag.
If you'd like to comment, just click here for the Burger King Facebook page, like it and comment away!

A public outcry against similar plans by Walgreen's forced that company to scrap its plans to flee America's taxes. Let's hope the same happens to Burger King.
Walmart Woes

Walmart mismanagement: Does it sound like a place where you work?

Walmart has an outsize impact on the U.S. economy as it depresses wages, increases the trade gap with China and destroys locally-owned competitors. The way it treats its workers may have also spread.

Consider this story from the peerless Hamilton Nolan at Gawker. Nolan received a memo from an Oklahoma Walmart manager who described how the company pitted him against low-income employees.

Here are some of the lowlights:
  • Store managers can double their pay if they keep payroll costs down. "Which means gradually forcing the long time employees out. And replacing them with temporary workers, who are not eligible for healthcare, time off, or even a discount card. Most of these people start off at $7.90 an hour and are already on public assistance. That ends up backfiring because the new hires most of them end up quitting within a month."
  • Plenty of labor law violations. "I've had to cut many of my Cashiers hours and as a result less registers have been open which means longer lines. We've even had to make many cashiers not take their 15 minute break. I've also had to work 60 hour weeks while not receiving any overtime pay."
  • Wage theft by failing to pay overtime. "I ended up working 65 hour weeks (which has been hard on my family) doing tasks such as stocking shelves, running a register, while also being responsible for electronics." Walmart did not pay overtime.
  • Ripping off the customer: A reader commented: Walmart forces managers to do all sorts of questionable things to insure their bonus. One example that is rarely mentioned is the practice of 'pricing mistakes'. Walmart is fond of making items ring up at a higher rate than the displayed signage. They typically do this for popular items and by a small amount. This is done at the store level so that there is not a systematic parity. This is also a violation of the law in most states. To be clear, Walmart doesn't just let this happen. They actively request it(or at least have in the past).
Does this sound like someplace you work?


Woo-hoo! Another Teamster organizing victory in North Carolina!

Welcome to our 26 new brothers and sisters who just voted to join Teamsters Local 391 in Greensboro, N.C. They are warehouse workers at Vistar, a unit of PFG Foods, Inc.

Local 391 already represents truck drivers at Vistar, and the warehouse workers wanted a voice as well.

Jeff Meadows, an 11-year employee, said the company waged a vicious anti-union campaign against the workers.
We all held together. This campaign all boiled down to fairness. We just want to be treated fairly and equally.
Tony Scott, Local 391 vice president and business agent, said:
From the beginning these workers wanted a voice—they wanted Teamster representation. These workers are to be commended for standing up and standing strong for what they believe in for themselves and for their families.
Scott said it was a team effort from start to finish. He thanked his organizing committee, Vistar driver shop steward Russell Strickland, the Vistar drivers, and YRC shop steward and Barry Hardy, president of the Central Labor Council for Local 391, Barry Hardy.

Local 391 President Mike McGaha congratulated the new Teamsters and said he looked forward to negotiating a strong first contract.

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