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Vancouver Port Strike Yields Hourly Trucker Pay

August 23, 1999

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A month-long strike at the port of Vancouver, British Columbia, has resulted in a deal that calls for truckers to be paid an hourly wage instead of a flat rate for each container handled.

About 88% of picketing Vancouver truckers approved the agreement, according to published reports. Effective Oct. 1, they'll get $46 per hour instead of the flat rate of up to $160 per round trip they currently receive. Congestion around the port keeps drivers from completing more than a few trips each day. The hourly pay will increase to $48 per hour by next June and $50 in March 2001.
About 20 of the 50 trucking companies operating at the Vancouver port have agreed to the deal, according to the Teamsters - but those 20 companies include the biggest firms and represent about 85% of the truckers.
When truckers stopped serving the port July 22, they brought much of the container movement to a halt. Estimates put the industry cost at around $53 million.
Truckers in the Seattle and Tacoma, WA, ports have been watching the Vancouver action closely. Last week, 150 to 200 independent contractor truckers at the Port of Seattle started picketing and handing out informational leaflets about their quest for union representation and an hourly wage. So far, the impact on the port has apparently been minimal.
About half of the 1,000 owner-operators at the Port of Seattle have reportedly signed cards for Teamsters representation. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney has pledged the support of his union.

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