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Vancouver truckers' union to take strike vote

VANCOUVER, Feb. 26, 2014 /CNW/ - BC's largest union representing container truckers will be holding a strike vote on Saturday, March 1. Members of Unifor-Vancouver Container Truckers' Association (VCTA) are fed up with a lack of progress at the bargaining table and government inaction that is costing truckers money.

"This morning's protest is just the beginning," said Paul Johal, President of Unifor-VCTA. "Truckers are prepared to escalate job action if the port and both levels of government don't take our concerns seriously."

Earlier on Wednesday, hundreds of truckers from across BC's Lower Mainland walked off the job to demand action on issues ranging from waiting times to pay-rate enforcement.

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.

"Without container truck drivers doing their job, ports grind to a halt. They are vital to BC and Canada's economy, but the government is taking them for granted," said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor's BC Area Director. "We're taking action because our members are finding it harder and harder to make a living in the industry."

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.