January 30,2005: As an employee of Allied Systems in Windsor, Ont., and a member of Teamsters Local 938, I would like to address the issue of the fast card program [for crossing the U.S./Canada border]. I, like many others, am in the process of obtaining a fast card to hold my job. At this point I do not have my fast card and therefore I am unable to work until I obtain one.
I have applied for this card twice now, but due to the fact that the Canadian government is 12 weeks behind in issuing these cards I am unemployed by Allied until I receive the card. There are some employees that will never be able to obtain a fast card, therefore they will never be able to cross the border hauling cars. I have contacted the Teamsters and to no avail. They do not seem to show any interest in the issue that their fellow brother is out of work and some could possibly lose everything without the backing of the Teamsters.
I myself will eventually receive my card, but what I question is what about the guy who cannot obtain his card? When we were hired on at Allied the only stipulation for employment was to be bondable. How can the union just sit back and allow the company and big three [auto makers] to dictate our future employment. What am I paying union dues for? I thought it was to protect us from unfair labor practice. Far too many Teamsters are looking outside of the union for representation, some by hiring private lawyers.
Local 938, Allied