Truckers hold showdown in the suburbs of Vancouver

A dispute between a trucking company and a union in the suburbs of Vancouver threatened to disrupt shipping in and out of the port city’s busiest marine terminal on Saturday.

As many as two-thirds of transport companies servicing the Westshore Terminals would have been out of service if there had been no settlement, union members told the Vancouver Province. Canada’s main container terminal is the second busiest in the world, handling some 99 million containers over its 105-year history.

About 6,000 trucks a year shuttle containers between terminal and warehouses in downtown Vancouver. Though several transportation companies are represented, a strike would be a blow to container shipping, which accounts for about a fifth of overall port activity. Container truckers are among the most junior employees who unload cargo to truck drivers who are then driven on to customer sites.

Unifor, the union that represents Westshore’s truckers, has said that a company “can send the wrong message if it targets a particular union” and that members will “not give up without a fight.”

Truckers said in mid-September that it had gone nearly two months without a bonus payment, and that they had been without negotiated contract talks since June. They are demanding an annual $3,000 bonus. A similar dispute broke out in August, when about 50 drivers stopped working.


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