Langley, British Columbia—The Western Canadian Shippers’ Coalition (WCSC) and the BC Trucking Association (BCTA), which respectively represent producers using containers to export commodities through the Port of Vancouver and 1,200 trucking companies operating in British Columbia, report that the drivers of a number of trucks dispatched yesterday on the first day of a peaceful “education” campaign by the United Truckers Association (UTA) were met with threats and harassment when they arrived at various container terminals throughout Metro Vancouver. This intimidation was in direct contradiction to a commitment made by the UTA to allow those who wanted to work to continue to do so. In fact, brake lines on two trucks have been cut in the past two days.
On Monday, February 24, a group of industry representatives met with the UTA in an effort to forestall the work stoppage, but it’s unclear whether the results of these discussions were shared with the UTA membership prior to the walk-out. Despite wide reporting that the UTA represents 1400 owner-operators, Port Metro Vancouver reports only 807 permits have been issued to owner-operators. And, some portion of these 807 permits would be represented by Unifor rather than UTA.
“Exporters have made an effort to understand and communicate with the UTA. In fact, significant progress was made regarding UTA’s main issues – payment for waiting time and expanded terminal hours. However, when UTA demanded $100/hour compensation, we were flabbergasted,” said WCSC Chairman Ian May. “Not only is that completely unrealistic, the UTA couldn’t offer any support for the figure and it would make the Vancouver container export business uncompetitive.”
“Some owner-operators have justifiable concerns and want to raise awareness. That’s their right. But many other owner-operators and trucking companies simply want to service their customers. They should be allowed to do that without fear of reprisal,” says Louise Yako, BCTA President & CEO. “It would appear the UTA is more interested in disruption than remedies. We believe there are immediate collaborative solutions to many of the complaints, but without responsible representation from the owner/operators they are unlikely to be implemented.”
The BC Trucking Association, a member-based, non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization, is the recognised voice of the provincial motor carrier industry, representing over 1,200 truck and motor coach fleets and over 225 suppliers to the industry. BCTA members operate over 13,000 vehicles, employ 26,000 people, and generate over $2 billion in revenue annually in the province.
The Western Canadian Shippers’ Coalition (WCSC) represents companies and associations involved in the transportation of Canadian natural resource-based products including: barley, cement, chemicals, coal, lumber, metals, newsprint, oilseed products, pulp & paper, sulphur, wheat, and wood pellets. WCSC members provide over 380,000 direct and indirect jobs for Canadians in communities across the west and ship in excess of $35.5 billion worth of product annually.
Western Canadian Shippers’ Coalition
President & CEO
BC Trucking Association