Striking Port Truckers Temporarily Back On The Job
September 01, 1999
Independent truckers at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, WA, have decided to call a 30-day halt to their walkout.
About 200 owner-operators, who had refused to haul containers at the ports for the last two weeks, say they have achieved a partial victory. They're giving shipping lines, terminal operators and trucking companies 30 days to develop a program of increased wages and shorter wait times.
Independent drivers will resume service, but they will also seek union recognition and will call upon the two ports to convene a meeting of trucking companies and drivers to establish 'fair pay' for all drivers.
At the end of September, the truckers will meet and decide whether to resume the strike.
Tom Tierney of the Port of Seattle told the Journal of Commerce that the owner-operators and the Teamsters local "have articulated some very important issues that require long-term solutions."
As the affected parties work on a solutions, a major emphasis for the ports will be to work with shipping lines, terminal operators and truckers to streamline the harbor infrastructure and reduce congestion at marine terminals.
Independent truckers had been on strike since Aug. 17 in Seattle and since Aug. 18 in Tacoma. They say trucking companies treat them as employees but don't offer them benefits like health insurance and paid vacation. Drivers are paid a flat rate for each container they haul, meaning any loading or unloading delays cost the drivers money.
The Northwest strikes started after container truckers in Vancouver, British Columbia, had been on strike for several weeks. Their Canadian counterparts recently returned to work after they won an agreement for an hourly wage instead of per-container pay.