NEW WESTMINSTER, BC–Members of Unifor-Vancouver Container Truckers’ Association (VCTA) voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action March 1. Truckers cited a lack of progress at the bargaining table for taking the vote, said a release.
“Our members have sent a very clear message: enough is enough,” said Paul Johal, President of Unifor-VCTA.
Unifor-VCTA’s collective agreement expired in June 2012. During that time, the union has been raising concerns that long line-ups and wait times at the Port of Vancouver are costing truck drivers money. Unifor-VCTA is demanding increased rates of pay at the bargaining table and wants the rates standardized and enforced across the sector to put an end to under-cutting.
“Container truckers, like workers across this country, make the economy work,” said Jerry Dias, National President of Unifor. “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.”
Unifor is also calling on the federal and provincial governments and the Ports to appoint Mediator Vince Ready to review the situation and make recommendations to solve the long-standing issues.
The local is now in a position to issue 72-hour strike notice to employers.
Port Metro Vancouver announced February 28 that it had obtained an injunction that prevents protesting truckers from disrupting port operations.
On its website, the port said that video recorded February 27, 2014 on Port Metro Vancouver property “appears to show members of the United Truckers Association stopping and possibly vandalizing a truck that was trying to gain access to the port. Law enforcement officials have also taken affidavits from witnesses to threats, intimidation and/or sabotage of trucks and/or property.”
The Port said it will wherever possible, identify these individuals and their licenses to access port property will be terminated.
“With the support of industry, government, law enforcement and other truckers, Port Metro Vancouver is intent on returning the port to regular operations as soon as possible,” the port said in a release.