Ongoing Truck Driver Strike Impacting $126 Million in Daily Cargo at Port Metro Vancouver

Toy Industry Urges for a Swift Resolution to the Labor Dispute

March 25, 2014 | Nearly 1,500 unionized and non-unionized container truck drivers protesting low wages and long wait times at Port Metro Vancouver have been on strike for more than three weeks, impacting $126 million worth of goods that pass through Canada’s busiest port each day.

The drivers, whose current contract expired in June 2012, are demanding shorter wait times at the port and standardized rates of pay across the sector to prevent undercutting. A 14-point action plan for reform, facilitated by the federal and provincial governments and presented nearly two weeks ago, was rejected by the drivers, who say they are seeking a negotiated agreement.

Back-to-work legislation introduced yesterday by the provincial government would require more than 200 unionized truck drivers to end the strike, while about 1,200 non-unionized drivers whose licenses and permits are set to expire will risk not having them renewed by port managers if they don’t return to work. 

“Members of the toy industry urge all parties involved to quickly resolve this ongoing labor dispute so that Port Metro Vancouver can resume its normal operations,” said Carter Keithley, President and CEO of the U.S.-based Toy Industry Association. “With a year-round flow of products – and especially as we head into the very busy spring/summer outdoor toy season – our industry relies upon the full operation of all North American ports to support the global supply chain.”

As previously reported, a U.S. West Coast port strike could occur early this summer if upcoming contract negotiations deteriorate between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). TIA has encouraged toy companies to conduct a thorough review of supply chains and begin preparations to divert their cargo if necessary through alternate ports in Mexico, Prince Rupert, B.C. (Canada) or the U.S. East/Gulf Coast ports.