Members of Unifor Unifor Local 4003 who drive trucks for Canadian National Transportation Limited are demanding an end to unacceptable working conditions at the Brampton rail yard.
“This protest is about access to sanitary washrooms and respect in the workplace,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Our members have had enough and are taking a stand against this employer.”
290 drivers say the portable washrooms they are expected to use have no running water or heat and they are not emptied or cleaned regularly. The independent owner-operators who are members of Local 4003 began an information picket four weeks ago and are holding a rally November 21 outside the yard.
“Other rail yard employees and managers have access to proper indoor washrooms,” said Kirandeep Gill, Local Chairperson who has worked for CNTL for 24 years in Brampton. “But the porta potties that we drivers must use are disgusting and unsafe, this has to stop.”
“The yard is congested and these drivers can be waiting to load for two hours and it is inhumane not to have access to proper washroom facilities,” said Wesley Gajda, Unifor Council 4000 Regional Representative.
Workers are also protesting unsafe working conditions. For example, in dry conditions, the dust is so thick drivers must wear masks when they pick up loads, and large potholes are left unrepaired and cause injuries and vehicle damage. They are also concerned about electrical wires connecting heated containers being left on the ground in wet weather.
“When you have a workplace with this laundry list of complaints it is time for the employer to take immediate action. These conditions will not be tolerated,” said Naureen Rizvi, Ontario Regional Director.
The workers say management is unwilling to address these issues, and workers are also concerned about bullying and intimidation in the workplace as drivers who complain feel targeted.