Facts about unions

Facts about unions and Teamsters

Labour unions have fought for the rights of workers since the 1800s. Unions in Canada have united more than four million workers across most of the industries in the country. Once you are unionized, you can expect better pay, better job security and fairer treatment on the job.

On this page we’ve answered the questions most often asked by workers who want to organize. If you don’t find the answer to your question here, or if you want more details, please contact Teamsters Local 855.

Q. Aren’t unions just another big business.

A union is born out of the shared values of workers who recognize that they have a much better chance to negotiate fair working conditions and better wages together than they do alone.

The union is the members. All members are equal. One vote each equals a strong united voice. As your union, Teamsters Union Local 855 is a non-profit organization. We employ staff who are professionals in organizing new Bargaining Units and in negotiating Collective Bargaining Agreements with your employers. Our primary goal is service to members. To support you, we employ a small team of office staff.

Q. Why do I pay union dues?

A. Your Union dues is like insurance for your job. When everything is working, it is easy to take the benefits for granted. But, if something goes off the rails, you are protected. A small portion of your dues goes to Teamsters Canada and to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. In return, they make us stronger. They advocate nationally for better labour laws and more informed labour policy. They provide scholarships and programs for members and their families, they invest in our communities. They also provide access to a deep well of expertise in labour, law, and finances.

Q. How much are my union dues?

It’s easy to calculate your monthly union dues. Just multiply your hourly wage by 2.5. For example: if you make $20.00 an hour, your union dues would be $50.00 a month—that’s less than many people pay every month for the morning coffee. And your union dues are tax deductible–unlike your coffee money.

Q. What will Seniority mean to me if our shop joins the union?

You help to decide what seniority means in your place of work. It is defined in your Collective Bargaining Agreement. Although every agreement is different, in general, seniority means that the longer you stay with a company the better off you will be in terms of job security, wages, vacation and shift preferences.