drivers and owner-operators went back to work Sept. 16 after deeming
their united efforts to address working conditions at Canadian National
Railway's shipping container depot in Brampton, Ontario, a success.
to the Toronto Star, a logjam of more than 3,000 shipping
containers is clearing out now that the two-week-long trucker strike
truckers, angry about long, unpaid wait times at the terminal, had
refused to pick up or drop freight for 16 days.
action was spearheaded by a fledgling organization called the Container
Carrier Owner Operator Association of Ontario. Howard James, founder
and CEO of the CCOOAO, and its president, Nasir Yusef, are both
working owner-operators. An estimated 300 drivers and owner-operators
participated in the strike.
the end of the first week, press reports estimated $300 million
worth of imported goods piling up at the CN's Brampton, Ontario,
depot. News reports quoted George Kuhn, executive director of the
Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA), as
saying, "How many people depend on Christmas season to make
a profit? This is a big thing."
Sept. 15, CN, freight carriers, CIFFA and representatives from steamship
lines met with the CCOOAO officials. By the next day, all sides
came to an agreement. Armed with a written agreement from CN dealing
with working conditions plus a written agreement from 19 carriers
dealing with pay, James and Yusef called the truckers back to work
the following day.
truckers, who get paid by the number of shipments, say significant
headway was made on 14 points. Topping the list was an increase
in pay ($30 an hour after the first hour) and a new system allowing
truckers to make appointments for pickups, cutting five or six hour
waits to less than an hour.
CCOOAO felt they had exhausted all avenues. After endless effort
to find a solution, the inevitable happened, a walkout," says
Truckers' Voice consultant/lobbyist Peter Turner, who became part
of the effort in the second week. "After the first week of
the shutdown, there was no movement from any of the parties."
says the CCOOAO, in its first year, has grown to more than 275 members,
consisting of many different ethnic backgrounds.
says this was the first time in Canadian history that drivers and
owner-operators took a stand with no property damage, no personal
was no rolling blockade," he said, "just lots of waving
and smiles. The truckers’ issues were realistic, and their solutions
made good business sense for all parties."
Sandi Soendker, managing editor
Soendker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.