VANCOUVER, B.C. — Negotiations continue between the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 514 (ILWU), who have been working for over three months towards a resolution.
The two parties met on Jan. 15, with the assistance of John Rooney, one of two federal mediators appointed to the discussions. At that time, the parties exchanged proposals and have agreed to meet on Jan. 23 at 9:30 a.m. “Further up-dates will be provided as significant events occur,” said Greg Vurdela, vice-president of marketing and information services for BCMEA.
The 450 ship and dock foremen with ILWU have been without a contract since March 31, 2007. The current round of labour negotiations is centred on issues related to pension payments and working conditions.
Unionized truckers who haul freight at the Port of Vancouver are also seeking a new collective agreement, and have been without a contract since Dec. 31. Members voted unanimously on Dec. 21 to hold a strike vote later this month. However, that decision is now pending further discussions with the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, in particular on the matter of “enforcement licensing agreements,” and is seeking greater restrictions on the number of trucks that operate at the port.
The 750 truckers, which are predominantly owner/operators employed by 22 different companies, are calling for a stricter enforcement of established pay rates as well as a moratorium on new port passes which allow drivers to enter the port. The union has previously complained about “undercutting, wait times, and lack of work available as the result of the port issuing too many licenses.”
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