VANCOUVER, B.C. — Frustrated owner/operators formed a noisy protest caravan Tuesday, as their union demanded action from the Vancouver Port Authority and the federal and provincial governments to enforce an existing agreement on trucking rates.
Members drove their trucks from the grounds of the Pacific National Exhibition (Hastings Street and Boundary Road) to the Vancouver Port Authority at Canada Place (downtown Vancouver) to draw attention to issues they say are hurting their ability to make a living, says VCTA-CAW Local 2006 president Paul Johal.
The failure to pay agreed-upon rates and a moratorium on additional owner/operators at the port are squeezing independent truckers badly, just as union collective agreements are about to expire, said Johal, whose union represents more than 750 truckers hauling freight to and from the port.
“Our members can’t make ends meet when companies don’t pay the rates everyone agreed to,” said Johal.“Owner/operators are being squeezed out of business at the port, and that is unacceptable.”
Paul Uppal, VCTA-CAW Local 2006 business agent, said longstanding problems facing truckers working at the port have not been resolved despite an investigative process set up by the Port Authority.
“We had major disputes in 1989, in 1999, and in 2005 and here we are again in 2008 without a resolution for truck owner/operators at the port with the same issues facing us,” Uppal said. “It’s time for the port and federal and provincial governments to work with truckers for a lasting solution.”
Hemi Mitic, executive assistant to the president of CAW Canada, said the truckers have the full support of the national union to find a fair solution to ongoing owner/operator problems at the port and to negotiate new collective agreements with employers.
“No-one wants to see a strike by truck owner/operators at the port but these outstanding issues have to be resolved quickly and fairly,” Mitic said. “Today’s protest is a wake-up call to the Vancouver Port Authority and both governments that it’s time for action to fix these problems now – truckers have been patient long enough.”
Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry. All posts by Truck News