VANCOUVER, March 6, 2014 /CNW/ - Unionized container truck drivers who service the Port of Metro Vancouver will begin discussions with mediator Vince Ready this morning to avert a strike. Unifor lobbied successfully to get Ready appointed to guide negotiations, but there is still work to do to resolve the truck drivers' long-standing concerns.
"We're fully prepared to stay involved in discussions until this dispute is resolved," said Paul Johal, President of Unifor-Vancouver Container Truckers' Association (VCTA). "If we can't make progress at the table today on key issues, we'll have no other option but to put up picket lines."
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.
"These drivers have a hard job, but they're being disrespected and not taken seriously by the employers and government," said Gavin McGarrigle, BC Area Director for Unifor. "This strike will be about putting an end to undercutting, downloading of costs, and long delays."
Unifor was founded Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged. With more than 300,000 members, Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector.