Teamsters Canada

Teamsters Canada

February 15, 2008 16:33 ET

Teamsters Canada/Mergers and Acquisitions: A Fair Treatment for Employees

Open letter from Robert Bouvier, President, Teamsters Canada

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Feb. 15, 2008) - Last year, more than 2,000 mergers and acquisitions took place in Canada totaling nearly $270 billion US. According to a KPMG report, this represents a 16% increase in the number of mergers and acquisitions compared to the previous year, and a 50% increase in the value of such transactions. Foreign, as well as Canadian, buyers are taking advantage of market globalization, free-trade agreements and Canada's sound economy to benefit from such takeover opportunities without looking at how they affect workers.

As a consequence, greater numbers of Canadians now wonder and worry about the effects of mergers and acquisitions on their jobs as well as their futures. Uncertainty, work reorganizations, job reclassifications and losses are the inevitable result of such transactions. All have a direct impact on the conditions of the workers of the companies involved.

It's naive to believe that the current marketplace turbulence will have positive effects for Canadian workers. Once transactions are completed, new executives inevitability seek a fast return on their investment. How do they achieve that desired result? Often through major reorganizations within their new companies, by abolishing positions or by outsourcing to generate expected profits.

One only needs look at the recent sale of Canadian companies like BCE and Alcan to realize who benefits from these shakeups. While senior executives and shareholders pocketed millions of dollars, employees harvested only worry and anxiety. It's a one-sided proposition that's weighed totally in favour of the company. Not only do Canadian executives benefit from these transactions, they also require their employees to be better trained, always on call, flexible, loyal and 'mobilized.' But what are employees offered in return?

It's time for companies to stop having society in general bear the brunt of their business transactions. It's time for those who reap the benefits of mergers and acquisitions to realize the social and economic impact they have on Canadian workers. It's time to recognize that the future of the Canadian economy hangs on job creation, respect for workers' job conditions and acknowledgement of their contribution to the economic well-being of our country and its business community.

In order to help workers who will suffer the negative effects of mergers or acquisitions, Teamsters Canada proposes that 1% of the value of such transactions be set aside for a five-year period. This amount would, for example, supplement salary losses due to reclassification, pay for training courses for workers who will eventually have to improve their qualifications or their chances to find a new job, supplement retirement separation packages or alternatively, provide psychological assistance to employees affected by their company's merger or acquisition. Depending upon the need, this amount, in whole or in part, could be returned to the buyer at the end of the five-year probation period.

This measure would help concretely protect and support a company's main assets, those who contribute directly to its growth, in other words the workers. The application of the 1% reserve would not only help alleviate the negative impacts of mergers and acquisitions on the entire Canadian society, it would have a positive effect on the level of motivation of all workers who would see that their voice is finally heard.

Contact Information

  • Stephane Lacroix