July 25th 2013

Important Information for Noralta Lodge Village Workers

On July 19th, 2013 most of you received a letter from Chief Executive Officer Greg Cameron acknowledging that UFCW Local 401 has started a petition drive so we can obtain a secret ballot vote within your workplace.  Signing a petition allows you to have a choice on whether or not you would like the Union to represent you at your workplace.  This will only happen if a majority of you who cast secret ballots VOTE YES.

Mr. Cameron goes on to say “This is a serious issue.”  He neglected to say that it was serious when he decided to take away thousands of dollars out of you and your families’ pockets, nor did he even consider asking you how you felt.  He also neglected to say that if you had a Union Contract that this would have never happened. 

Mr. Cameron’s letter is trying to confuse you of the real issues of the benefits of joining a Union.  Mr. Cameron also states “we have treated our team like family,” we believe that is farthest from the truth.  Just ask the Security Guards, I’m sure they don’t think that they were treated like family.  The now new Company who we believe is still owned by Noralta.  This new Company has cost them dearly in wages and working conditions.  That should tell you what the future holds for you. 

Mr. Cameron would have you believe that once you sign a petition, you are automatically a Union member.  That is incorrect!  It only gets you a chance to make a choice of whether or not you would like us to represent you.  He neglected to tell you as stated in the Labour Relations Code the following:

Rights of employees and employers

1)     An employee has the right

a) to be a member of a trade union and to participate in its lawful activities, and

b) to bargain collectively with the employee’s employer through bargaining agent.

He also does not state that it is against the law for the employer to even ask you if you had signed a petition and should not threaten, harass or coerce you in regards to you signing.  Signing a petition does not mean that you have joined the Union it simply means that you would like to consider it and have a secret ballot vote in that determination.  We live in Canada where everyone enjoys the freedom to associate.  Don’t let the employers take that right away from you.

Mr. Cameron also states that there is “no trial or probation period with the Union,” he is incorrect.  As easy as it is to join a Union, it is the same procedure to get out of a Union.

Mr. Cameron has sent you an employee bulletin raising some issues to confuse you in your choice to sign a petition.   Union Dues will be $12.00 per week (tax deductible) which means that you may receive half of that amount back on your income tax.  You will only pay dues when you work.  There will be no dues paid until you vote in favour of a Union contract.  Union dues are decided by the membership not the Union (you the member.) The last time that members’ province wide voted for a dues increase was in 2008. There are no assessments. 

The Union constitution and bylaws are voted and decided by the members and the Union shall follow those bylaws.  The Local Union is run by an Executive Board made up of members such as you.  There are no initiation fees for newly organized units.  You can follow the link below and read all about our constitution.


As well if anyone of you would like a copy of our financial statement, we would be more than happy to give it to you at our general membership meeting held in Fort McMurray on October 01st 2013, everyone is welcome.  UFCW Local 401 has nothing to hide as we are an open and transparent organization working for the 30,000 Union workers of Alberta and 1.3 Million in North AmericaThe Union does not discipline, only the employer does and we support our workers if that happens.  One can look at the workers that were reinstated at Noralta with thousands of dollars in back pay and are still working there.  That is only the beginning of your future working with a Union contract.  No more will you have to put up with yelling and screaming from some of your supervisors.  Threats such as “We have all kinds of people willing to take your place” will be a thing of the past. 

Important point:  Once the Union has received its 40% petitions at your workplace, we will apply at that time for a vote and there will be a freeze on all working conditions within your workplace.  So the sooner that we receive that 40% the sooner the freeze will be in place.

Negotiations is your process where you the workers will sit down with a highly skilled negotiator to negotiate your Union contract just like PTI workers and other camps have done.  Only you will vote on a new Union contract by secret ballot and only you will decide on working conditions within your camp. 

The benefits of joining a Union outweigh what you have now, being promised that they treat you like family just does not do it.  You will see that your job is protected through a grievance procedure where the employer has to justify discipline.  You will have Seniority rights where the employer will not be allowed to lay you off out of seniority.  You will have well trained representatives to represent you in times of need even in WCB claims, and we all know what happens to you at Noralta when you are on WCB.

Your employer would have you believe that signing a petition is a serious issue.  It is not.  It may be serious for the employer as it may cost him all the money that he will be taking away from you in the future.  It may be too late for the Security Guards who have been devastated however it is not too late for you!  By changing your hours of work and your benefits at this point and time, who knows what the Company may do in the future.  They just may do the same as they did to the Security Guards.

The only way that you can protect yourself from this downward spiral of your wages and benefits is to sign a petition.  That is truly when the debate of whether you need a Union or not begins.  The poor Security Guards never had that chance and if UFCW Local 401 does not meet your expectations, all that you have to do is vote no on a Union negotiated contract and we will walk away.  That is our guarantee.  No contract, No Union.

All camp workers should be treated the same and we believe that by you organizing into a Union it will help us maintain good contracts such as PTI and achieve a good contract for you.  One last point, you should ask the employer how much is Mr. Cameron getting paid?

As one of your workers said “Stop whining and start signing!”

Feel free to contact UFCW Local 401 confiendentially at 1-877-GoUnion (1-877-468-6466) or email us at joinus@877gounion.ca. You are important to us!

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United Food and Commercial Workers Canada Union, Local No.401