Change is coming!


Labour Day is all about family & working for a better future for all. For thousands in downtown Toronto, it’s about the march in the annual Labour Day parade.

Labour Day is an occasion to celebrate workers’ rights and celebrate the strength and solidarity of workers.

The origins of Labour Day can be traced back to April 15, 1872, when the Toronto Trades Assembly organized Canada’s first significant demonstration for worker’s rights. The aim of the demonstration was to release the 24 leaders of the Toronto Typographical Union who were imprisoned for striking to campaign for a nine-hour working day. At this time, trade unions were still illegal and striking was seen as a criminal conspiracy to disrupt trade. In spite of this, the Toronto Trades Assembly was already a significant organization and encouraged workers to form trade unions, mediated in disputes between employers and employees and signaled the mistreatment of workers.

Canadian trade unions are proud that this holiday was inspired by their efforts to improve workers’ rights.

Labour Day is one of Ontario’s nine public holidays. This means many employees will receive the day off with holiday pay. It also means that many businesses and city offices will be closed.

But this Labour Day felt different to me. It was a day of political action. It was a day of calling for action on the Syrian Refugee crisis; calling for action on minimum wage and the expansion of CPP; calling for an end to precarious work and the deepening of income inequality; and calling for a return to an economy that serves more than the 1%. It was a call for CHANGE! No…a DEMAND FOR CHANGE!

There is no question that change is in the air, and BTS is no different. I can feel it! Change is coming!

And yet with all this, retail stores wanted to remain open on OUR Labour Day, requiring employees to work. They claim it is for our convenience, but in reality, we know it is for their profit.

Bottom line: if I forget the hot dog buns on Labour Day, shame on me 😉


Sam Snyders
President, Local 1996-O
416 Health and Safety Co-Chair
Unifor Chairperson Workers with Disabilities
LRC Committee and JSDC Committee
Ont. Bargaining Rep
Telecommunications Industry Council Representative


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Letter from Ron Hori, newly elected Associates Bargaining Representative:


“The first leg of this journey is now complete. The Ontario Associates of Bell Technical Solutions have at long last joined their counterparts in Quebec and technicians in both provinces, and are members of their union – Unifor. The inequities that we have endured here have gone on for too many years.

Very special thanks go to the collaborative work from Unifor members, especially Danny McBride – Organizing Representative, Sean Howes – National Representative, and Sam Snyders – Ontario Bargaining Representative, President of Local 1996-O, and many other titles. These three gentlemen were the anchor in getting us to victory with their ideas, support, persistence and positive attitudes.

My thanks go to the BTS Associates who have elected me (and Justin Wiggins) to represent them at the bargaining table. Justin and I will be reviewing the proposals that have been sent in and those discussed at the August 9th meeting.

The next chapter is the bargaining process. With Sam Snyders as Chair, Justin and I are confident in achieving the best possible and fair collective agreement for the members.”

~ Ron Hori

“3 signs BTS workers have a lot of work coming down the pipe”


The CRTC says “Big Telco’s” Must Open Fiber-optic Networks to Upstarts

The CRTC released a decision last Wednesday that forces large Canadian telco’s to open access to their fibre-optic networks to competitors. Keep in mind that big telco’s are already required to do this with their copper-based networks. By following the same guidelines with fibre-optic networks, the CRTC believes it will level the playing field and foster competition.

Competitors will also no longer be forced to use an “aggregated” model of service. In other words, they will be able to tap into a single point of access of which there may be only one per province. As a result, smaller Internet service providers (ISPs) will actually pay more to have data shuffled back and forth based on distance.

A stipulation to the ruling is that competitors must agree to a “disaggregated” model of service, wherein they are required to plug-in much closer to the final consumer at a regional point of access. The smaller companies would then have to arrange transport of data from that regional interface to their own offices, either by installing their own fibre-optic cable, or by leasing it from an existing company. This is designed to discourage smaller competitors from acting as mere resellers of existing bandwidth. Instead, they in theory would add to the available bandwidth. But it also should reduce the cost that competitors have to pay.

For the BTS worker

The evidence demonstrates that we are moving to a wireline world in which there is one pipe to the consumer. We are rapidly evolving to a world where everything is delivered to the consumer over one pipe or one wireless connection – broadcasting and telecom services co-inhabiting networks, both wired and wireless. The demand for this network or infrastructure will be a driving force demanding skilled workers now and in the future.

Internet bandwidth is evolving; from being dominated by primarily alphanumeric text-based services to one increasingly dominated by audio and visual programming. Canadian consumers spend more time online than any other nation. We are the most intensive consumers of online video in the world.

Globally, consumer Internet video traffic will be 80% of all consumer Internet traffic in 2019, up from 64% in 2014. The sum of all forms of video (TV, video on demand [VOD], Internet, and peer-to-peer [P2P]) will be in the range of 80-90% of global consumer traffic by 2019; and Internet video to TV will continue to grow at a rapid pace, increasing fourfold by 2019. Internet video to TV traffic will be 17% of consumer Internet video traffic by 2019.

It’s not surprising, then, that BCE Inc. recently highlighted plans to direct $1.4 billion towards fibre-optic builds in the city of Toronto; a first step in a $20 billion plan to upgrade its broadband fibre and wireless networks across Canada by the end of 2020.

This is a race to the consumer that will provide BTS technicians with a great deal of work both now and in the future! It will be BTS that Bell relies on to service and provide customers with what they need and want. It is all of YOU who will make this happen!!!!

In Solidarity,

Sam Snyders
President, Local 1996-O

Jobs, Justice and the Climate


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This weekend I was proud to take part in the March for Jobs, Justice and the Climate along with thousands of others from across Ontario and beyond.  We marched in support of a new economy that works for the people and for the planet.

Four different contingents were organized to show the major initiatives the march was representing.

Contingent 1 – recognized the rights of minority groups including Indigenous peoples, women and those communities hardest hit by climate change here and around the world.

Contingent 2 – taking action to improve the climate can strengthen the economy by creating good work, clean jobs and healthy communities.  This includes keeping Hydro public and fighting for a $15 minimum wage.

Contingent 3 – solutions to the climate crisis already exist: renewable energy, improved public transit, localized agriculture.  Unfortunately, many of those in a position that allows them to lead by example are unwilling to do so.  If they can’t step up, we will do it for them.

Contingent 4 – In order to build a new economy, we need to leave the old one behind.  Those responsible for the climate crisis – fossil fuel companies, big banks, mining companies – stand in the way of a cleaner tomorrow and we need to show that we can (and WILL) survive and thrive without them.

Overall there was a great turnout from minority groups, labour unions, social activists, political parties and environmental groups.  It was a great day that saw a very diverse group of people come together for a common goal – a new economy that works for the people and for the environment.

Some of those in attendance included Actor Jane Fonda, NDP MPs Andrew Cash and Peggy Nash, Unifor National President, Jerry Dias, Unifor National Representatives for multiple industries, Unifor Local 25 President and myself, Local 1996-O President, Sam Snyders.

It was a great day for everyone involved!  Thanks to all those who came out to show their support!!!

Sam Snyders
President, Local 1996-O

Twitter: @SammySnyders


forced overtime on Canada Day!

As I sit here filling out a grievance form, I take a moment to reflect on how this came to be.  I, like many of you, look forward to time away with family and friends during the summer months when we can fire up the BBQ.  But this Canada Day was a busy one.  I spent most of it answering the phone for many technicians who were all wondering the same thing – “Why am I being forced in on Canada Day?”

Normally, the answer would be an easy one, but on this day it was complicated by the knowledge that the company had loaned out its resources to Ottawa, only to turn around and find themselves short of resources here and then invoke forced overtime.

Sadly, the realization is that the workload is more of a priority than our Canada Day with family and friends….something that I find completely inexcusable.

If you feel as strongly about this as I do, then I invite you to reach out to your Local Steward and file a grievance if you were impacted by forced overtime on Canada Day.

We cannot and will not allow this sort of action to continue!

In solidarity,

Sam Snyders
President, Local 1996-O

Twitter: @SammySnyders