State of the Union
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
As we enter into 2017, Canada’s 150th birthday, we should all reflect on how fortunate we are to live in a peaceful country where opportunity and basic human rights are the norm, allowing us to live in harmony and raise our families in safety. In our tumultuous world, Canada’s standard of living is the envy of many. This gives us reason to celebrate in whatever fashion we choose throughout the year and there will be plenty of opportunity in every region of the country to do that.
This year promises to be a busy one for Local 938 as we work towards building a stronger, more progressive union for our members.
2016 in Review:
For much of the year we were consumed with two key elections during 2016. Our own here at Local 938, and the International election. Your executive team were pleased to receive the confidence of our membership with a strong mandate locally and this confirms that you, the members, feel we are on the right track performing to your expectations. You can be assured that our objective will be to continue operating our union in the best interests of its members for the 5-year term ahead. I always say, the only thing we promise is representation. I personally can’t control the economy so therefore I can’t control your pension. I don’t believe in promising a lot of things that that we might not be able to deliver. Represenatation however, is the one thing we do have control over and I believe do well. For us, this is a constant learning experience. The local always has to keep moving forward - I don’t ever want to stagnate and get into a pattern of complacency or status quo. To accomplish that, we continually plan ahead, sometimes a full year in advance of our expectations.
At the International level, the election outcome, while not as affirmed, saw the Hoffa slate re-elected. However, voting turnouts were reduced in the U.S. with only 15% of potential voters casting a ballot. Canada proved to be a major factor in the outcome of the International election. We experienced a significant increase in voter turnout with 16,000 people throughout the country responding to the call. It was gratifying to hear our national anthem being sung in Washington as the final results were announced.
It is clear that voting patterns and trends are changing globally; people are angry and disatisfied with their elected officials and governments in general. This is true as well with employers and should be a wake-up call. Your employees are frustrated and you need to recognize that union members across the board are ready to fight back. We are indeed destined for interesting times politically throughout the world in the years ahead.
We managed to organize several companies throughout the year and completed bargaining on many contracts during the 2016 period including UPS. With one exception, all of our ratification votes were in the high 80%, a testament I believe to how well versed our members are. They know their work climate and understand what is and what isn’t possible within their orgaizations. For us, having an astute membership is a major benefit.
Our membership numbers continue to grow and we are fiscally responsible with our members money. We invest wisely and spend money only when we need to. We operate a “lean” and “mean” organization which helps us maintain a sound financially structured local. When and if the big battle that requires major funding arises, we will be prepared. Having sound financial resources also allows us to be more supportive of community causes that affect our members. While we don’t go out and actively seek publicity for our philanthropic endeavours, knowing that it’s the right thing to do is extremely satisfying. However, in saying that, we do recognize that we need to be more visible in the community and will endeavour to do that in the years ahead.
Looking ahead to 2017
During the year you will see a major fosus on organizing at local 938. We will be structuring a team solely for that purpose.
With an empty spot on the executive, Mike Cooper, who was elected back in August 2016, has joined the board as a trustee. We welcome Mike to the team.
We recognize the need to update our building at some point soon. This facility is your major asset and we want to make it more member friendly so that you can take advantage of the facility any time you see the opportunity.
Our monthly General Membership meetings continue to be the place where we not only discuss the business of the union but where fellowship is paramount. It is not unusual to see conversations and collaboration about individual situations go on for several hours after the conclusion of business at these meetings. The comradry is so important and we encourage attendance. Get to know your fellow brothers and sisters. Compare conditions you might be experiencing at your workplace and learn from the experience that is brought to the meeting.
I would once again like to applaud our stewards at local 938 and thank them for the outstanding leadership that they provide our members. They are all the front-line ambassadors that go above and beyond to keep issues at their workplace in check and us informed.
2016 was a very good year and my promise is to maintain this successful management of your local union to the best of my abilities during this upcoming year. We are looking forward to the next five years as we strive to strengthen our
I would like to wish all of you a healthy and successful 2017.
Yours in Solidarity,
Craig McInnes, President,
Teamsters Local Union No. 938