Organizing

BENEFITS OF JOINING TEAMSTERS 647

Teamsters 647 members benefit from our Local’s collective bargaining power to negotiate with employers on their behalf. This basic right gives our members more information and leverage than if they tried to negotiate as individuals. Above all, we help increase job security for our members.

Through your elected board of representatives, Teamsters 647 makes all this possible by:
Negotiating a contract with your employer. This guarantees, in writing, your wages, hours, health and dental coverage, paid holidays, paid vacations, and other working conditions.

Enforcing the written contract by ensuring your employer lives up to his/her end of the agreement.

Settling grievances that can arise from time to time on the job.

Organizing other workers in your industry to protect you and your employer from unfair competition.

Holding meetings to keep you informed of issues and achievements of fellow members in other plants.

Being a Teamsters Union member means you belong to the strongest and most democratic labour union in the world. For over 100 years, the Teamsters Union has been a leader in setting the standard for higher wages, better benefits and improved working conditions for workers throughout the United States and Canada. The Teamsters Union is strong because of the participation of many of its 1.4 million members. Teamsters members can find a variety of ways to participate to help build a stronger union in the workplace — from supporting co-workers in their struggle for justice, helping with the bargaining process, joining a local union committee, or becoming a volunteer organizer.

For further information on joining Teamsters Local 647, contact Organizer Erminio Molinaro @ 905.760.0209 or 1.800.387.9924.

What is collective bargaining?

Collective bargaining (i.e. contract negotiations), the heart of the labour movement, occurs when workers unite to negotiate workplace matters with their employer. The result is a collective bargaining agreement or contract that spells out all the terms both parties agree to—from pay rates and benefits, to a grievance procedures, vacation time, sick leave, etc.

The employees, or bargaining unit, usually nominate a few of their co-workers to represent them, along with expert negotiators from the union. Once the negotiating team reaches a tentative agreement with management, the bargaining unit meets to discuss and vote on the contract terms. The latter part is called the ratification process. Ratification takes effect only if a majority of the employees approve the tentative agreement.

What does my contract cover?

Contract specifics vary among workplaces, or employers, but usually include, but are not limited to such provisions as:
-Wages
-Hours of work
-Healthcare benefits
-Retirement benefits
-Health and safety regulations
-Discrimination-free environment
-Seniority
-Union security
-Grievance procedures
-Arbitration

Most contracts in the Teamsters Union are white paper contracts—i.e. contracts that cover workers at one company and usually at one location. The Teamsters Union, however, can also negotiate master agreements that cover employees at one company and at all the company’s locations, or cover many employers under one agreement.

How can I support my union?

There are many ways you can help:
- Attend local union meetings: If you cannot attend meetings, talk to your shop steward or other members about what took place and try to make the next one.
- Stay informed: Keep up with current events and what’s happening in your workplace. Visit your local union’s website and check out their Facebook and Twitter posts.
- Participate in union elections: Whether it’s elections for officers, contract votes or local union business, your opinion counts and can make a difference.
- Get to know your steward: He or she is your primary contact with your union and can answer many of your questions or refer you to the appropriate resources.
- Get to know your local officers and trustees: Contact information is usually available on your local’s website.
- Review your local union bylaws: Each Teamster local is independent and has its own set of rules and guidelines.
- Attend union events: You may not be able to make them all, but standing together shows strength in numbers.
- Spread the word: If you hear about an issue that concerns you, tell your friends, relatives and coworkers and show them how to get involved. Educate others. Talk about what being a Teamster means to you. Tell your friends, relatives and other workers you bump into about benefits of being a Teamster.

How will my union dues be used?

Dues provide the resources to stand up for good jobs and benefits, decent working conditions and a better future for our families. This is why union members earn about 38% more than non-union workers. They also receive approximately 54% more in benefits. None of this would be possible without Teamster dues.
Over 75% of your dues stay with your local union to fund activities that give workers more power at the bargaining table, in the community, and in government. Union dues may be used for:
- Organizing expenses
- Office equipment and regular administration expenses
- Attorneys to assist in negotiations, grievances and arbitration
- Education, research, and training

Members receive information about how dues money is spent by their local at regular membership meetings. Locals also file annual reports with the Canada Revenue Agency.