Evolving through Diversification
While most other unions apply old solutions to new problems and settle for merely functioning within their original jurisdictions without ever getting off the beaten track, the Quebec Teamsters union is probably the most willing to explore new horizons, diversify its operations and think out of the box when the situation calls for it.
This progressive – to say the least – way of dealing with union growth and labour relations is reflected throughout the entire organization. Seeing how Local Union 931 has evolved since it was founded shows that the Teamsters philosophy works.
The Union of Employees of Local Transportation and Diverse Industries, Local Union 931, affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, now Teamsters Quebec Local 931, received its charter on August 31, 1961.
Derived from Local Union 106, Local Union 931 had 600 members when it started out. Its founders were Jean Larivière, Roméo Girard, Émile Pelletier, J. Edmond Vermette, Gérard Gaboriault, Marcel Perron and Robert Lefebvre. The staff at the time consisted of two Business Agents and one Secretary. Jean Larivière was the President and Roméo Girard, the Secretary-Treasurer.
The biggest change in the history of Local Union 931 has been the spectacular growth of its membership from 600 members in 1961, to 6,000 by the year 2000. This tenfold growth in Local Union 931’s membership is a result of more than 50 years of concerted efforts.
Well aware that diversifying Local 931’s activities would lead to stability in its operations, officers of the Local did not hesitate to undertake large recruitment campaigns in various industries.
In 1971, the employees of Pharmacies Universelles (today, McKesson Canada) joined Local Union 931, increasing its membership by 300. In 1974, 1,200 workers in the laundry industry became members, and in the 1980’s, the courier companies UPS, Loomis and Purolator joined the Local 931, bringing in 1,500 new members.
The officers’ foresight allowed Local Union 931 to continue to grow while ensuring stability. Diversifying its activities enabled the Local to survive the glut of union activity that prevailed around 1976-77, for instance, as well as the deregulation in the transportation industry later on.
After making up the majority of the Local Union’s membership in 1961, local transportation workers account for a mere 5% of the membership today. Over the years, Local 931 has welcomed workers from the following industries into its fold: laundry, car rental, car and truck repair, fruit and vegetable wholesale, sports centres, wholesale hardware, heavy machinery, janitorial, laboratories, food, refrigeration, locksmithing and safes, foodservice, recycling, construction, quarries, giant cranes, and insurance. And, of course, the general transportation sector can be broken down into transportation, local transportation, movers, cash services, courier and small parcels, oil, petroleum, gravel, asphalt, sand, cement, meat, molasses, etc. Teamsters Local Union 931 members work in all of these sectors.
The Teamsters union is an innovative organization that is recognized worldwide as being a serious and professional union.
If the future belongs to those who dare, judging by how Local Union 931 has evolved over the years, the future of the Teamsters holds great potential!