Approximately 140 owner-operator container truck drivers are threatening a strike as early as May 4 at Port Metro Vancouver, as contract negotiations with two trucking companies have broken off, the Canadian Auto Workers union said today.
A strike removing that many trucks could cause a major slowdown at Port Metro Vancouver, the first serious labor issue since a crippling six-week walkout in mid-2005 by independent operators. That breakdown led to licensing of trucking companies under terms setting out pay and benefits requirements for truck drivers, and banding of independent operators into the CAW and other unions.
The 140 owner-operators at Port-Team Transport and Pacific Truckings, two companies owned and operated by veteran trucking company operator Bob Simpson, voted Sunday to “strike if necessary,” said Stu Shields, CAW national representative, in Vancouver.
CAW Local 2006 has been negotiating since last October for new collective agreements, most of which expired last December.
Shields said they had reached “four ratified collective agreements with four of the largest companies hauling” at the locations of Port Metro Vancouver, but that the same terms were not acceptable to Simpson’s two companies.
The only issue in dispute is a trip rate dealing with the short distance movement of empty containers, on which other companies had settled, the CAW said. Simpson could not be reached immediately for comment.
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