Your union was present on all fronts this past year. Just as for the many collective agreements renewed, the bargaining at UPS mobilized local union stewards and representatives all across the country. Solid collective agreements were negotiated everywhere, improving the lives of thousands of members.
There is still a lot of work to do at Purolator, where an important meetings with our members will be taking place over the holidays. We will be following the negotiations closely.
On the topic of labour conflicts, 2016 was an unusual year given that there were a dozen or so strikes or lockouts. We steadfastly fought to defend the interests of our members, whom I commend for having the courage to stand up to their employers, who in some cases seemed to have forgotten that they owe their success in large part to the excellence of their workers.
In addition to negotiating good collective agreements, your local unions were busy on the organizing front in 2016. Your union is as active as ever in this regard and plans to continue growing its membership next year.
Election and politics
Union democracy is alive and well at the Teamsters, as evidenced by the large voter turnout this fall. I would like to thank everyone who voted in the elections.
I must also draw attention to the tireless political advocacy of your representatives, who were present on all fronts, including the federal pension plan issue, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project, the Strategic Plan for the Future of Transportation in Canada, the fight to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour and the repeal of union-busting bills C525 and C377. Teamsters Canada and its Local Union representatives were actively involved in these and other campaigns to build a more equitable and united nation.
For all these and other reasons, I am very proud of the work accomplished by our representatives all across the country. Their energy has invigorated and made your union a champion of progressive social change.
Like everyone else, I was captivated and horrified by the Fort McMurray wildfires. True to form, the Teamsters Union rose to the occasion by providing assistance and raising money for victims. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to our members for their involvement.
This past year, local unions coast-to-coast again raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities that help disadvantaged members of society, showing once more that your union works for the common good.
On another note, in 2016 Teamsters Canada also continued its campaign to raise awareness about the mental health stigma in the workplace and to educate the public about this illness, which will affect one out of five Canadians in their lifetime. We will continue our efforts in this regard next year and invite you to follow our progress in this ongoing initiative on our site makeitmandatory.ca
In closing, I would like to wish everyone happy holidays and a happy New Year. Only by standing together can we build a fairer and more prosperous country. I am convinced that by joining forces, we will go even further in 2017, because you are what makes our Union strong.