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TCRC Education Program Funding - Unanimous Executive Board Approval
Published: May 8, 2008
Source: Teamsters Canada Rail Conference
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The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference Education Program has recently received the unanimous approval from the TCRC Executive Board for a three year funding commitment dedicated solely to training and education of TCRC elected officers.

TCRC President D.J. Shewchuk spearheaded the three year funding plan, to which the TCRC Executive Board has given their unanimous approval. “Education is the foundation for the future,” says President Shewchuk, adding “ The mandate that we were provided by the membership included developing, implementing and sustaining a comprehensive and broad based Union Education Program. The Union is as strong as their Union representatives and members who are involved in the workplace. We believe that if Division Officers are well informed and educated they will better help and represent the membership. Serving members better creates a bond of trust with the Union and contributes to building the solidarity needed to foresee changes and improve living and working conditions. Moreover it builds the pride to be a Teamster.

In 2007, the TCRC National Office provided training to about 76 Local Chairmen. In 2008 another 35 Local Chairmen are scheduled to receive similar training. This represents about 85% of the present Local Chairmen throughout Canada. Through consultations with the General Chairmen, and Provincial and National Legislative Boards, training in 2008 will increase and place more emphasis on training the inexperienced and untrained Division Officers.

Funding of the TCRC Education Program has been endorsed through a three year commitment of two dollars per member, month, without a dues increase.  “This is a very significant level of funding, and the TCRC is quickly becoming the leader among all rail unions in the level of commitment to education and training,” comments D.H. Finnson, TCRC Vice President. “President Shewchuk made the commitment to establish and provide a comprehensive program, and now the Executive Board has delivered through their support and approval to budget an amount that will most likely exceed one half million dollars over the three years. Given this financial endorsement we can now begin to schedule training sessions that will likely follow a regional format.” Teamsters Canada Rail Conference is working in partnership with Teamsters Canada and the North American Railway Foundation (NARF) to develop and deliver an effective and appropriate training program.

Training is a very expensive program to deliver, as the TCRC membership and Divisions are spread throughout Canada. The TCRC has also applied for certification of the UTU members at CN, and it is expected the Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) will order a vote on that application sometime in 2008. If successful in this representation application, the TCRC membership would increase by about 2800 and the number of Division Officers could increase by as many as 145. It has been over one year since the application was filed at the CIRB, and five months since the CIRB released their decision that should have removed all the barriers to this application proceeding, and where they stated:

“The employees in the bargaining unit are being given an opportunity to decide which union they would like to represent them.”

Other TCRC certification initiatives in Canada during 2007 has already increased the number of Local Committees of Adjustment, Divisions and Division officers, and there are several additional groups who have expressed their desire to join the TCRC and where certification applications have been advanced by the TCRC National Office.

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