BNA Daily News Report: Teamsters Canada Launches Campaign To Organize FedEx Workers in Canada

September 16, 2009: Teamsters Canada, an affiliate of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, has launched a full-scale campaign to organize Federal Express Canada Ltd. workers, Teamsters Canada President Robert Bouvier said Sept. 14.

Bouvier said the campaign was launched in response to numerous calls from FedEx workers seeking similar wages and working conditions as the employees of unionized courier companies.

The Teamsters' 125,000 members in Canada already include 14,000 workers in the courier industry, who receive significantly better wages and benefits, and fairer working conditions, than those available to the nonunion FedEx employees, Bouvier said in a statement. “We are confident about organizing workers from this company,” he said. “The time has come for the employer to respect and treat them fairly.”

The union has established informational internet sites, one in English, the other in French, to encourage FedEx workers to join the Teamsters by providing comparative information on wages and working conditions in the industry, he said. The union will ensure that FedEx workers have a fair opportunity to make a reasoned decision on the advantages of union membership, he said.

“We will not tolerate interference from the employer in the unionization process,” he said. “We will be very vigilant for any attempts to prevent workers from exercising their legitimate right of association.”

The Teamsters union consistently has sought to organize FedEx workers whenever the union's membership and revenue levels have dipped, but FedEx workers have rejected unionization each time, FedEx spokesman Maury Lane said Sept. 14. The main reason for those rejections is that the company's employees have an excellent relationship with management, Lane told BNA.

“That's what makes FedEx special,” he said. “After 38 years, you'd think the Teamsters would understand that.”

Teamsters Canada said on its website that the union, which represents workers at Purolator Courier Ltd. and the Canadian operation of United Parcel Service of America Inc., has negotiated better pay and benefits, company-paid pension plans, and strong language to protect seniority and scheduling rights for these workers. The site provides links to the master contracts negotiated by the Teamsters with Purolator and UPS, as well as overviews of the benefits programs provided through those agreements.

The informational site also stated that Memphis, Tenn.-based FedEx Sept. 11 projected increased earnings in the first quarter of 2009 in response to higher-than-expected international shipments and cost-cutting initiatives.

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