B.C. introduces back-to-work legislation in port truckers strike

VICTORIA — Unionized truckers on strike at Vancouver’s normally busy shipping container terminals could face fines of up to $400 a day if they don’t return to their jobs once back-to-work legislation passes through the British Columbia legislature later this week.

VICTORIA — Unionized truckers on strike at Vancouver’s normally busy shipping container terminals could face fines of up to $400 a day if they don’t return to their jobs once back-to-work legislation passes through the British Columbia legislature later this week.

The Liberal government followed through with its promise to table back-to-work legislation for unionized truckers, introducing a bill Monday that also includes potential fines of up to $2,500 a day for union officers and $10,000 a day for the union itself, as well as their employers.

The legislation, which calls for a 90-day cooling off period, only applies to the 250 unionized truckers at Port Metro Vancouver, Canada’s largest port. More than 1,000 non-unionized truckers have also walked off the job.

“We need to see some movement here,” said B.C.’s labour minister, Shirley Bond.

“We introduced legislation today, reluctantly. Today is about the economy — not just in B.C., but about Canada. I’m starting to receive letters from producers, shippers, importers, exporters. They want their goods moving and so do we.”

The strike has affected the port’s four container terminals in the Vancouver area.

At its peak, the port said the strike was affecting $885 million worth of goods per week, though the situation has improved in the past week as truck traffic increased.

The non-union truckers walked off the job late last month, and several hundred Unifor members joined them on March 10. They’re demanding shorter wait times at the port and standardized rates of pay across the sector to prevent allegations of undercutting.

Bond said the back-to-work legislation applies only to the union truckers.

“This is the least interventionist we can be,” she said.

“It really says, ‘You need to go back to work.”’

Union spokesman Gavin McGarrigle said his members are losing money under their current agreements and they feel they have little to lose if they stay on strike.

“Our members are telling us if they go to work, they lose money,” said McGarrigle, who was at the legislature when the back-to-work law was tabled.

“They’ve got to put fuel in their trucks and they are telling us they just don’t have anywhere to go anymore so they are telling us, at this stage, it’s going to be business as usual and they’ll continue to protest,” he said.

Last week, the government put forwarded a 14-point plan in an attempt to address the trucker’s concerns. The proposal included a 10 per cent rate increase within 30 days and compensation for wait times, but the truckers said it wasn’t enough.

McGarrigle said it’s possible tweaks to the plan in favour of the union and giving mediator Vince Ready the ability to make binding recommendations could spark a settlement without the need for legislation.

Opposition New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix said his party would likely oppose the legislation.

Dix said the government is bullying truckers, who he described as small business people, by allowing the port to threaten to take away licence privileges.

Last week, the port announced truckers whose licences are set to expire in March and April won’t have them renewed if they haven’t returned to work.

About half of the port’s shipping container traffic moves in and out of the port by rail, while the other half moves by truck.

Of the truck cargo, the port has said traffic is at about 40 per cent of normal levels. Earlier in the dispute, it was as low as 10 per cent.

The truckers don’t work for the port itself, but instead are typically either independent contracts, sub-contractors or direct employees of shipping companies.

Just Posted

Gabe Cuthand, Brandon McDonald, Dean Johnson and Dakota Dion drumming during a past Indigenous Peoples Day celebration at City Hall Park in Red Deer (Advocate file photo).
Indigenous People’s Day will be celebrated online on Monday in Red Deer

National Indigenous Peoples Day will be celebrated in Red Deer on Monday… Continue reading

(Black Press file photo).
A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Friday, June 18, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4:00 a.m.… Continue reading

(Black Press file photo).
AstraZeneca second dose ‘good choice’ despite federal guidance: B.C.’s top doctor

THE CANADIAN PRESS VICTORIA — British Columbia’s top doctor says there is… Continue reading

A person walks past a colourful wall while wearing a protective mask in the warm weather during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
A look at COVID-19 reopening plans across the country

As COVID-19 vaccination rates increase and case numbers drop across the country,… Continue reading

Ubuntu – Mobilizing Central Alberta co-founder Dieulita Datus (front left) received a Multiculturalism, Indigenous and Inclusion Grant for the organization from the Government of Alberta. (Photo by Advocate staff)
Central Alberta organization promoting diversity, inclusion receives $6,000 grant from Alberta gov’t

Ubuntu was given the funds to further its work into equality and equity for all

A supporter of presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi holds a sign during a rally in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Iran's clerical vetting committee has allowed just seven candidates for the Friday, June 18, ballot, nixing prominent reformists and key allies of President Hassan Rouhani. The presumed front-runner has become Ebrahim Raisi, the country's hard-line judiciary chief who is closely aligned with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Iran votes in presidential poll tipped in hard-liner’s favor

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iranians voted Friday in a presidential… Continue reading

Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto, left, and President Seiko Hashimoto attend the news conference after receiving a report from a group of infectious disease experts on Friday, June 18, 2021, in Tokyo. The experts including Shigeru Omi, head of a government coronavirus advisory panel, issued a report listing the risks of allowing the spectators and the measurements to prevent the event from triggering a coronavirus spread. (Yuichi Yamazaki/Pool Photo via AP)
Top medical adviser says ‘no fans’ safest for Tokyo Olympics

TOKYO (AP) — The safest way to hold the Tokyo Olympics is… Continue reading

FILE - In this June 12, 2021, file photo, Rajkumar Haryani, 38, who painted his body to create awareness about vaccination against the coronavirus poses for photographs after getting a dose of Covishield vaccine in Ahmedabad, India. Starting June 21, 2021, every Indian adult can get a COVID-19 vaccine dose for free that was purchased by the federal government. The policy reversal announced last week ends a complex system of buying vaccines that worsened inequities in accessing vaccines. India is a key global supplier of vaccines and its missteps have left millions of people waiting unprotected. The policy change is likely to address inequality but questions remain and shortages will continue. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki, File)
How India is changing vaccine plan amid shortages

NEW DELHI (AP) — Starting Monday, every adult in India will be… Continue reading

Chief of Defence staff General Jonathan Vance speaks during a news conference to , in Ottawa Tuesday August 30, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces says it is making progress in the fight against sexual misconduct in the ranks, but much more work needs to be done. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Freeze promotions until military commanders are screened for misconduct: Committee

OTTAWA — A parliamentary committee has called for a freeze on all… Continue reading

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Hussen says he is looking to municipalities to reshape local rules to more quickly build units through the government's national housing strategy. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Cities should redo planning, permitting to align with housing strategy, minister says

OTTAWA — The federal minister in charge of affordable housing says he… Continue reading

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. On June 1, NACI had said AstraZeneca recipients "could" get Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna for their second shot if they wanted, but Thursday went further to say an mRNA vaccine was the "preferred" choice. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

When Gwenny Farrell booked her second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine… Continue reading

Brooklyn Nets' James Harden, right, is guarded by Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, center, during the first half of Game 6 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Bucks bounce back to defeat Nets 104-89 and force Game 7

MILWAUKEE — Khris Middleton scored 38 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo added 30 and… Continue reading

Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) brings the puck up the ice against the New York Islanders during the third period of Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinals, Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Uniondale, N.Y. Tampa Bay won 2-1.(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Point scores again, Lightning beat Islanders 2-1 in Game 3

Lightning 2 Islanders 1 (Tampa Bay leads series 2-1) UNIONDALE, N.Y. —… Continue reading

Most Read