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UPDATE: Truck access back to normal at CP intermodal facility in Pitt Meadows as labour dispute ends

Trucks were detoured along Airport Way and Ford Road during the dispute
Vancouver Intermodal Facility in Pitt Meadows. (The News files)

A labour dispute affecting traffic in Pitt Meadows has come to an end.

Canadian Pacific and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, the union representing representing 125,000 Canadians, 16,000 of whom work in the rail industry, agreed to final and binding arbitration that ended the work stoppage of employees, including those at the Vancouver Intermodal Facility on Kennedy Road.

The work stoppage affected 3,000 locomotive engineers, conductors, and train and yard workers across the country.

Workers returned to their jobs at noon on Tuesday, March 22.

“The decision to agree to final and binding arbitration is not taken lightly,” said Dave Fulton, TCRC spokesperson at the bargaining table, in an online statement.

“While arbitration is not the preferred method, we were able to negotiate terms and conditions that were in the best interest of our members,” he said, adding that wages and pensions remain stumbling blocks.

CP thanked the Canadian Federal Conciliation and Mediation Services for its work during the negotiations, and pledged to work “diligently” with customers to restore normal service to their networks as quickly as possible.

The City of Pitt Meadows had suspended truck access to the intermodal facility on Kennedy Road during the ongoing labour dispute.

CP employees began picketing across the country on Sunday, March 20. At issue for the workers were wages, pensions, and working conditions, “that call into question the railway’s capacity to recruit and retain workforce members,” according to the union.

The city put out a message warning truckers and residents that due to the dispute truck access to the intermodal facility, located on Kennedy Road, just south of Lougheed Highway, would be suspended at 7 a.m. on Monday, March 21.

Trucks were detoured along Airport Way and Ford Road.

“This detour is in place to ensure that truck congestion does not back up onto the Lougheed Highway,” read the notice.

However, some residents had shown concern.

“So instead of trucks blocking a highway, they are now going down the farm roads where corners are tight and sight lines are blocked by tree’s [sic] and overgrown ditches??” replied Joe Keno online. “Not to mention businesses down Ford Road, and local residents. Last time this happen(e)d you couldn’t even get out of your driveway. Wake up City of Pitt Meadows.”

READ MORE: Canadian Pacific Railway issues 72-hour lockout notice on Teamsters Canada

Kailea Skye reached out to City of Pitt Meadows Mayor Bill Dingwall to tell him that detouring trucks in this way is not a better alternative.

Anthony Goncalves mentioned he would like to see someone at Lougheed Highway and Harris Road making sure truckers are not turning south along Harris.

“So were going to have a line of trucks sitting on kennedy [sic] for a while? If access to lougheed [sic] is interrupted from Kennedy by truck traffic for an extended time, is it possible to get some flaggers to ensure residential traffic can get through,” asked Dave Pitt.

RELATED: CP Rail reaches deal with union to end strike in 2018

The city allowed local traffic southbound from the Lougheed Highway and Kennedy Road, but advised residents to expect additional truck traffic on Airport Way.

The union representing CP employees had claimed the company issued a lockout, a work stoppage initiated by company management during a labour dispute, Saturday night.

However, CP claimed that it was the union, that “withdrew its services and issued a news release misrepresenting the status of the talks”, while the company was still involved in the ongoing negotiations being facilitated by federal mediators.

Both blamed each other for any possible supply chain disruptions across the country.

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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