Like me, you are probably relieved that 2020 is coming to an end. Nobody could have imagined that this year would have been so terrible.
The covid-19 pandemic has changed our habits and redefined work and family life.
I was very impressed by the devotion and hard work of shop stewards, business agents, and local union staff and officers throughout this crisis. I watched them put in countless hours, working both behind the scenes and in the forefront, ultimately helping improve the lives of tens of thousands of our members across the country.
This brings me to talk about the 125,000 members of Teamsters Canada, many of whom we now call frontline workers. You have no idea how proud I have been throughout this pandemic. You stepped up, working in difficult and sometimes dangerous conditions, to ensure the well-being of your fellow citizens. Your tenacity, benevolence and sacrifices show that Teamsters always stick around when the going gets tough.
The exploits of our members were reported on our Facebook page all throughout the year. You will have a chance to read more about them in next year’s Teamsters Canada annual report, which will be mailed to you in the first quarter of 2021.
Negotiations to renew collective agreements took place in all provinces. For example, at UPS Canada, a new contract was ratified in November for our close to 10,000 members at the package delivery company. Improving working conditions is at the heart of our activities, whether your workplace is big or small.
It would be wrong for me not to mention the exceptional work of our small, but very efficient, team here at Teamsters Canada. Our national staff has been advocating non-stop for members with provincial and federal officials and has made the organization shine both online and in traditional media. They were involved wherever and whenever progressive and pro-worker voices needed to be heard.
This year was an incredible challenge for many of us. This holiday season will be peculiar because, for most of us, large family gatherings will not be possible.
I would still like to wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year. My thoughts especially go out to all those who lost a loved one and who faced other pandemic-related challenges. Stay strong, friends! We are all in this together.
I look forward to seeing you in 2021.
President of Teamsters Canada