To all UPS Guards

You may have noticed that on the last pay check you received from United Protection Services, $18.00 of union dues has been subtracted from your pay. These dues are being paid to a union whom many of you never voted for, nor had the opportunity to speak with a representative of, called the Specialty and Temporary Employees Union (STEU). This Union, and these dues, are in no way associated with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 401 (UFCW Local 401) who was elected by the workers as the union of choice for guards in the Fort McMurray region and has been actively trying to contact all the UPS guards in the Edmonton area. 

Although many guards were not given any notice that a vote had been held and counted, STEU is reporting that 62% of all UPS guards voted in favour of a Union Contract created in May of this year, making STEU the designated Union for UPS guards for the (5) year length of this contract. Therefore from this date forward every two weeks UPS guards will pay $18.00 to STEU in the form of union dues. 

“Never in my 38 years experience with labour union have I encountered such a blatant disregard for labour laws,” says Union Organizer Archie Duckworth. “I’ve never worked for a union that has not included the members in the decision making process with respect to their dues or a negotiated settlement.  It is obvious that this is not a Union.” 

STEU is the Employer’s choice of Union, meant to prevent UPS guards from receiving the benefits of a real union, like UFCW Local 401, that will advocate for workers’ rights. This is apparent by the fact that STEU is currently charging workers dues without having made any of the changes outlined their Union Contract, which is perhaps a good thing as the contract sets wages at a top rate at $12.18/hour. Further, STEU representative, Tony Losak, has not met with or responded to any attempted contact from the workers. 

“In speaking with UPS guards in the Edmonton area, I’ve seen the frustration and anger at having a Union Contract imposed upon them without ever having agreed to it. Not one guard has said they voted yes for the contract, or even had the opportunity to vote at all,” says Union Organizer Chloë Carpenter. 

In contrast to STEU, UFCW Local 401 does not start receiving dues from workers until all workers know exactly what they are paying for.  Local 401’s contracts are created by working together with workers who are able to actively take part in negotiating the terms and conditions of their contract and vote anonymously on those said terms and conditions. Only when the conditions chosen by the workers are being enforced in the workplace and workers have agreed to the amount of dues, does UFCW Local 401 receive any money. Union Representatives are available to all workers throughout the process and Local 401 provides detailed reports on what member services union dues are being spent on, such as legal aide, workers compensation advocates, and office administration. 

STEU has not released any information as to how many guards were given the opportunity to vote for their proposed Union Contract, or how the contract passed with 62% support. “This must tell the workers something,” states Mr. Duckworth. “When a voting process is conducted behind closed doors and no verification has been offered to confirm the unsubstantiated results, one can only assume that the vote should be nullified.”

UFCW Local 401 has launched an investigation into these findings and is taking steps with the cooperation of UPS guards to have this contract challenged. If you would like to take part in this effort please contact a UFCW Local 401 Representative at the information below.