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Container truck drivers vote to strike at two Vancouver port trucking firms

Vancouver-Container truck drivers at two large Metro Vancouver port trucking companies voted overwhelmingly to strike if necessary to achieve a fair agreement, says Unifor, Canada’s largest union. A strike could affect almost 200 truckers servicing the Port of Vancouver and threaten overall port stability at a time when supply chain pressures are enormous.

Hundreds of truckers employed by Prudential Transportation and Aheer Transportation gathered in Surrey on November 21 and voted overwhelmingly to strike if their employers refused the industry pattern agreement. Unifor members ratified the pattern agreement with over 100 truckers at Harbour Link Transportation in August 2021. Key achievements include health, dental, and insurance benefits for all drivers along with increased payments for waiting time.

“Unifor truckers in this sector are fighting for the simple right to have health and dental benefits. Basic respect for your workers and their family’s health and safety is not an unreasonable request,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Two bad apples who don’t want to provide basic benefits during a pandemic are threatening stability for the whole port.”

“Prudential and Aheer’s largest competitor at Harbour Link can afford to treat Unifor members fairly and all of these drivers play a critical role in the supply chain of the lower mainland,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “It would be a shame if two greedy employers caused further disruptions to supply chain stability for the small extra costs required to meet the pattern agreement.”

Aheer Transportation has one of the worst labour relations records at the port, twice garnering tens of thousands of dollars in fines from the Trucking Commissioner in June 2018 and September 2017 along with many labour board and arbitration rulings.

“Aheer Transportation has not learned its lesson about collaborating with their hard-working employees to improve working conditions and fairness,” added Mr. McGarrigle.

New annual records were set in 2020 for grain, potash, and container trade at the Port of Vancouver and it expects further growth in this sector. Recent supply chain issues have only made the pressures felt by drivers even more acute. (Photo VFPA)