BC and federal governments move to end Vancouver port strike

​By Roger Annis, March 20, 2014

The BC government has announced back to work legislation for the 400 Unifor truck driving members on strike at the Port of Vancouver since March 10.

Vancouver harbour, showing container cranes and grain export terminal
Vancouver harbour, showing container cranes and grain export terminal

The Port is simultaneously embarked on a union-busting solution to the parallel strike of 1,200-1,400 independent-operator truckers. It says it will not renew the licenses of independent operators to move in and out of the port. “I cannot imagine why we would issue future licences … to truck drivers who are not at work tomorrow,” Robin Silvester, president of the Port of Vancouver, said in a statement.

Update, March 21:
The BC Federation of Labour is calling on union members and other supporters to join a rally today at noon at Canada Place in support of the truckers’ strikes. Canada Place is the location of the offices of Port of Vancouver.

In an emergency statement issued yesterday announcing the rally, Jim Sinclair, president of the Federation of Labour, said, “It is outrageous that governments are willing to destroy the livelihoods of these drivers by banning them from working at the Port forever. Truckers are simply standing up, legally, for the right to make a decent livingThe two groups of workers transport containers. Trucks and railways handle an equal share of the port’s container traffic.

The independent operators have been out since February 26. Their dispute centers on the lengthy wait times they must endure when picking up or delivering containers and the rate of payment they receive for each load. Payment rates have been frozen since 2005.
Unifor drivers are demanding pay increases and they also want a system in place whereby shipping companies cannot use independent operators to undercut pay rates at unionized trucking firms.
There is intense pressure on the port management to end the strike that is costing tens of millions of dollars to businesses across Canada and abroad that ship products by container. Although the port is a federal agency, Ottawa is leaving the dirty work of trying to end the strike in the hands of its provincial, junior partner government.

Here are two articles reporting further on this story:

B.C. government moves to force truckers back to work at Port Metro Vancouver
By Brian Morton and Tiffany Crawford, Vancouver Sun, March 20, 2014

B.C. government to force truckers back to work in port labour dispute
By James Keller and Terri Theodore, The Canadian Press, in The Globe and Mail, March 20, 2014

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