Unifor demands fairness from new truck regulations at the port


VANCOUVER, Sept. 30, 2015 /CNW/ - Unifor has filed in federal court to challenge inadequate and uneven environmental measures at Port Metro Vancouver. The largest union in the sector says that new regulations aren't based on science and aren't evenly applied across all trucks at the port.

"The Port has haphazardly applied rules that have little to do with regulating emissions," said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor's BC Area Director. "We want to work collaboratively with the Port and the BC government to develop industry-compliant regulations that help control emissions and don't cause chaos for truckers trying to earn a living."

Under the expiring policy, port truck drivers' vehicles were tested and upgraded to comply with emissions standards through opacity testing. But the new Port Metro Vancouver policy bans trucks over ten years old without any exceptions based on mileage, engine age, or emissions compliance. Unifor alleges that many truck drivers with older but well-maintained vehicles will suffer needlessly.

Other jurisdictions have offered compensation and incentives for drivers. The Port of Seattle offers to match truck purchase price up to $27,000 USD.

"The Port's ad hoc policy is out of step with the industry in this jurisdiction and others. It's all stick, no carrot," said McGarrigle. "Truck drivers are going to be out thousands and thousands of dollars and there's no clear benefit to air quality."

The Port is also being accused of selective application of the new regulations—it's own on-dock vehicles are exempt from the truck age limitation.

"The first sign that rules are unfair is when you exempt yourself from them," added McGarrigle.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.