September 1, 2009: It’s a sad day when Teamsters in a core industry desert our union for another., That is what happened today when nearly 300 Teamster carhaulers employed by Gen Auto in Ontario voted to join the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW).
The 145-47 vote came from carhaulers at three locations, most of them at the Oshawa General Motors plants.
Even worse, 700 Teamsters employed at Allied in Ontario are now petitioning for a similar vote to switch to the CAW.
Local 938 Teamsters, members of our largest carhaul local, are angry with concessions and the recent deals to give up the long-standing border agreement and allow carriers to require US and Canadian Teamsters to deliver across the border. Gen Auto Teamsters were mad about an attempt to force carhaulers into a different pension plan.
Other bargaining units are also petitioning for the CAW; the Teamsters and CAW are battling over members at several locations.
Solidarity Is the Answer
Jumping ship is not the way to right the ship. There’s good reason for North American carhaulers to be in one union. The Teamsters Union needs to make the case to Allied drivers. It’s not too late but needs to happen fast.
Canadian drivers need to hear that the Teamsters Union will stop giving away the border agreement. They need to hear that in the event of a work stoppage, solidarity will span the border, with Teamster on both sides standing together. They need to hear that if members want to say No to concessions, that our union will back them up. And they need to hear that carhaulers can control their own pension plan.
That’s a message that will inspire Teamsters in both countries.
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