Unionized Port Truckers Join Vancouver Strike

LANGLEY, BC — Unionized container truck drivers at Port Metro voted on Saturday to join a strike by their non-unionized colleagues, who walked off the job earlier last week.

Canada’s busiest port has been disrupted this past week by a strike from members of United Truckers Association (UTA), over what they saw as unfair shipping practices.

Unifor represents about 400 container truck drivers at Port Metro Vancouver.

“Container truckers, like workers across this country, make the economy work,” said Unifor’s national president, Jerry Dias, in a statement. “They deserve to be compensated fairly for their role in generating wealth, but if workers can’t share in that wealth, we’ll help shut that port down until they get it.” 

Port Metro Vancouver has agreed to make changed to improve conditions for container truckers at the port, but also said that they now have video to back up allegations that UTA members damaged at least one of the port’s trucks.

“Port Metro Vancouver does not and will never condone illegal conduct such as harassment, uttering threats, property damage and assault by individuals or members of organizations that tacitly or actively encourage such activities,” the port stated. “The recent issuance of an injunction prohibiting disruptions to port operations will allow those who may have been harassed or intimidated to get back to work as quickly as possible.”

But despite the disagreement, the port responded to concerns voiced by BCTA members and other industry partners and agreed to make the following changes.

  • Terminals will develop a recovery plan to return to work after resolving the current issues
  • Extend gate hours at terminals Monday through Friday
  • An extended hours pilot project that terminal operators and union members will finalize by March 21, 2014
  • Run full rate audits on all trucking companies licensed through the Port Metro Vancouver Truck Licensing System
  • Waiving the terminal gate compliance fee when extensive delays happen
  • Compensation for trucking companies impacted by terminal truck processing delays
  • Fire owner-operators involved in harassment, intimidation, property damage or other disruptive behavior traffic flow at the port
  • Lift the owner-operator ban to offset the loss of owner-operators who lost their permits because of the work stoppage.

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