MARKHAM, Ont. - Negotiations between Highland Transport's parent company, TransForce, and the Steelworkers Local 1976 are ongoing, with a membership vote scheduled for late August, a union official to...
MARKHAM, Ont. –Negotiations between Highland Transport’s parent company, TransForce, and the Steelworkers Local 1976 are ongoing, with a membership vote scheduled for late August, a union official told Truck News at press time. The union was not willing to discuss intimate details of the talks until the vote is determined. The main issue is a “new proposal” and a substantial concession in favour of Highland. TransForce wants to cut the union’s negotiated per-mile rate, and eliminate the cap on fuel, although the existing contract doesn’t expire until Dec. 31 according to a union official.
“They’ve asked us to negotiate early,” Dave McCutcheon, the union steward, for the 270-member United Steelworkers 1976, told Truck News. “They needed the contract to be opened earlier,” added McCutcheon, who wouldn’t elaborate on why the union wasn’t insisting TransForce abide by the existing contract.
“There are extenuating circumstances,” he explained. “The members of the Local are well aware of the extenuating circumstances: the reasons why we cannot maintain the status quo.”
McCutcheon has been with Highland for 23 years, a working arrangement that he has been very satisfied with.
“They’ve always been a pretty good company,” he said.
McCutcheon indicated that existing economic pressures on trucking have been difficult for everyone.
“The industry itself is changing and certainly Highland is changing with it. The industry itself is not changing for the better: not for an owner/operator or a driver,” he said. “The current economic conditions, we’re going to ride them out. We’ve ridden them out before, and we’ll do it again.”
For its part, TransForce did not respond to requests for an interview. •
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