Independent truckers in Baltimore went back to work at the ports Wednesday after voting to affiliate with the International Longshoremen's Assn.
But their counterparts in the Southeast are exploring the prospect of organizing. And the Vancouver port is rolling out a new system to speed up truck movement after its independent truckers stayed off the job for a month this summer.
Members of the United Container and Rail Haulers Assn. in Baltimore voted unanimously be become part of the ILA after a week-long strike. However, since the drivers are independent owner-operators and therefore can't legally be represented by a union, what that will do for the truckers isn't clear.
The ports of Vancouver, BC, in Canada and the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, WA, have seen similar job actions in recent months. The Vancouver truckers won an hourly wage agreement rather than the per-container pay that is standard. The Washington drivers put their strike on hold for a month to give the ports time to try to address the problems.
The Vancouver Port Authority is rolling out a new container terminal scheduling system. The truck reservation system, which begins Sept. 27, is designed to provide specific time slots for VPA-licensed carriers so they can be handled more efficiently.
Encouraged by these actions, container haulers in the Southeast are exploring the prospect of unionizing or even starting their own drayage company. The actions are being coordinated by the United Container Movers Assn. in Savannah, GA, Charleston, SC, Jacksonville, FL, and Norfolk, VA. Like the Baltimore truckers, the Southeast haulers are seeking an ILA affiliation to help them address problems such as long wait times and unroadworthy container chassis.