NTA leaders resign after rejecting surcharge plan

OSHAWA, Ont. (Oct. 18, 2000) — A protest by 40 angry owner-operators brought the Oshawa General Motors plant to an early close last night, but plans for widespread demonstrations over rising costs and stagnant rates unraveled as the group that claims to represent Canada’s independent truckers fell into disarray.

Leaders of the National Truckers’ Association, a loosely organized group of owner-operators based east of Toronto, resigned after negotiations with the province over fuel surcharges broke down. The provincial government plan could have given owner-operators seven to 22 cents more per mile to compensate for the high cost of fuel. However, the proposal contained no guarantees about when or how the surcharges would be implemented once they were in place.

Frustrated by a lack of progress since the association’s inception in February, NTA president Bill Wellman and vice-president Keith Swayne stepped down. They also voiced disappointment that their actions failed to gain broad support.

“We have 20,000 independent truckers in this province and only 30 brought their rigs out to support us this week,” Swayne said. “I guess 20,000 or so truckers don’t need help.”

The three dozen or so truckers who blocked the entrances at Mackie Automotive Systems in Oshawa and Verspeeten Cartage in Whitby did succeed in preventing supplies from reaching the auto plant. GM representative Stewart Low told the Toronto Star that the factory closed at 11 p.m. instead of 1 a.m., resulting in the loss of production of 264 cars.

Low noted that GM does pay a fuel surcharge, and that the truckers are misguided in targeting the automaker.

Have your say

This is a moderated forum. Comments will no longer be published unless they are accompanied by a first and last name and a verifiable email address. (Today's Trucking will not publish or share the email address.) Profane language and content deemed to be libelous, racist, or threatening in nature will not be published under any circumstances.