639 members offering a one-month reprieve for negotiations with Port of Vancouver and federal government
A Canada Day vote by members of the United Truckers Association (UTA) over the long weekend produced an emphatic 639-0 result in support of a shutdown at the Port of Vancouver.
The UTA said on Tuesday that faced with crippling costs associated with the incoming Rolling Truck Age Program (RTAP) and an ongoing unwillingness for good faith discussions by the Port’s leadership, it is now preparing to commence labour disruption that “will create shockwaves across Canada’s already fragile supply chain.”
Set to launch in September, the RTAP will put extreme financial burden on container truckers amidst the highest rates of inflation and unaffordability in a generation. The Port’s decision flies in the face of current rules and regulations across British Columbia, where the other 98% of commercially-licensed trucks face no equivalent measures, the UTA said.
Members, however, have pledged to keep the month of July open for potential negotiations before taking action, according to UTA spokesperson Gagan Singh.
“While the overwhelming will of our members is now evident, we continue to hold out hope to achieve meaningful exchange and resolution together with the Port of Vancouver and the Government of Canada,” said Singh. “The UTA will only move forward with our shutdown in August should the current plan proceed without mitigation.”
Over the coming weeks, the UTA will publicly outline the contradictions and politics behind the Port of Vancouver’s alleged efforts to tackle carbon emissions. Accompanying this information will be the organization’s continued efforts towards outreach to avoid the first labour-related action at the Port of Vancouver since 2014.
The UTA said it is extending an olive branch for open, honest and pragmatic mediation with Port of Vancouver officials and the federal government in spite of five months of silence by Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra.
“Even though the Minister stepped in to initiate more fulsome stakeholder input in February, his silence since that announcement has resulted in the Port reintroducing the RTAP without any substantial changes,” said Singh. “For our country’s economic recovery from COVID-19 to continue without additional disruption to the supply chain, the Minister is going to have to offer a different approach in the coming weeks.”
The UTA said it intends to announce revealing information about the Port of Vancouver and details around the organization’s pending labour action as August approaches.