Union’s takeover bid of Harbour Link employees rejected by CIRB

by Truck West

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Unifor is applauding a Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) ruling to dismiss an application made by Transport, Marine, Warehousing and Allied Workers Union, CLAC Local 66, to be certified as the bargaining agent for a unit of employees at Harbour Link Container Services, which would have ousting Unifor as the serving agent.

“Nobody, including Harbour Link, actually believed that CLAC would be successful in interfering in the bargaining process,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor’s B.C. area director. “Harbour Link has wasted everybody’s time. They have little choice now but to sign onto the collective agreement that most of their competitors signed weeks ago.”

Harbour Link employees’ attempt to replace Unifor comes after an ongoing back-and-forth between Port Metro Vancouver companies and employees over retroactive pay to drivers who, according to a decision handed down by the Office of the British Columbia Container Trucking Commissioner, were being underpaid.

On Dec. 3, Unifor announced that it had reached an agreement with six of the eight container truck companies that operate out of Port Metro Vancouver – an agreement that will not expire until July 2019 – with two holding out, Harbour Link being one, and Port Transport the other.

The deal means that around 75% of the truck drivers Unifor represents had ratified a new collective agreement, but the union insisted that Port Transport and Harbour Link were holding out, with Harbour Link refusing to pay the retroactive wages.

CLAC filed the application to take over representation of Harbour Link employees Nov. 27, but CIRB indicated Dec. 10 that it had dismissed the bid due to what it called ‘irregularities in the membership evidence filed by the applicant union in support of its application.’

“CLAC’s under-handed tactics have been exposed in this CIRB ruling,” said McGarrigle. “We know that CLAC is every employer’s favourite union, but those tactics don’t earn them any respect with truckers.”

One of the irregularities addressed in CIRB’s report was that some CLAC members had not paid their $5 union membership fee, which is required by law.

The report states, “There were improprieties in the membership evidence filed in support of the certification application,” and that, “the nature and the extent of the improprieties that were found amount to a substantive defect and have the effect of tainting all the membership evidence submitted in support of the application…”

Unifor has represented the unit of Harbour Link employees since June 10, 2014.

Harbour Link and Port Transport remain behind picket lines.

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