Tracee Bouvier and Elenitsa Bucknell, recently became Teamsters members when they ratified their collective agreement in February 2021. We sat down with them to understand what it’s like being a Teamsters 987 member.
What does a day in your role look like?
Tracee: A day in this role is to travel to a client’s home to provide the care needed so they can live a more comfortable life. Then, we’re off to the next client until we’ve connected with and provided care for each person on our client list.
What are some of the challenges you face in your workplace?
Nitsa: A challenge we face right now is staff getting sick which leads to large workloads for other staff members.
Tracee: Some of the challenges faced in this workplace is driving in all weather conditions, traffic, entering a new clients’ home and not knowing the care needed, diagnosis, other individuals that may be present, layout of the home, and pets.
Were you involved in advocating for your workplace to be unionized?
Tracee: I was involved in bringing in Teamsters as well as being part of the negotiating team for the first contract.
What has been your favourite/most rewarding part of being a 987 member?
Tracee: The most rewarding part of being a member is seeing a change in our workplace and learning how Teamsters can support us.
Nitsa: My favourite part of being a 987 member has been learning to be a steward and helping our staff get to their goals.
How has becoming a 987 member improved your work environment?
Nitsa: Being a Teamsters Member has provided opportunities for my co-workers to become my peers and friends, and this improves my working relationships.
Tracee: In becoming a member of Teamsters, it has improved our work environment by creating a positive morale, decreased scheduling issues and increased economic benefits.
Do you feel like your voice is heard as a union member? What role does your shop steward play?
Tracee: I believe that my voice is heard as a union member. As a shop steward, I have advocated for fellow members in the Collective Agreement.
How does 987 support you/its members?
Tracee: Local 987 supports us by listening to our concerns, addressing what they can and being a voice of reason.
Nitsa: 987 is always there at the end of the phone especially if I’m not sure how to achieve my goals.
How does the union represent your voice as a worker?
Nitsa: Workers can express their views more freely without any fear of reprisal.
Tracee: As a worker, I have confidence that when I need help with a specific issue, it will be offered freely and with expert advice.
What do you think the future of unions will be? (eg. Do you think there will be a greater need for unions in the future?)
Tracee: I believe there will always be a need for unions to represent workers and it will only increase in the future.
Nitsa: Most definitely, we all want safety in the workplace knowing we have people that support us and are committed to our well-being.
Would you advise other workers to unionize with Teamsters 987? Why?
Nitsa: Yes, I always say: “a healthy union equals a healthy workplace”.
Tracee: I would advise other workers to unionize with Teamsters 987 because they are a great team and have proven results.