Now three strikes and counting

After any labour dispute, there are always the winners and the losers. There is no way everyone wins.

I firmly believe the ones who end up holding the shortest end of the short stick are the ones we never see on the picket line — namely, the spouses and the kids. Innocent victims, all.

The Vancouver Container Truck strike, be it legal or otherwise, went from the last couple of days of February until the March 25.
During this time, the principles, most of whom have never driven a big rig, elbowed each other out of the way just to get their mug on the evening news.

This brought about another obvious shortfall.

There were no hard facts, just a bunch of lip wagging. The public never was told what the real issue was. We were just told how hard done by the drivers were.

I was a broadcast journalist before getting my Class 1 licence. In my day, the reporter was not just a pretty face. He or she had to dig, dig, dig to get the real story behind the sketchy facts that were presented for the 20-second sound bite.

During this labour dispute, the reporting was embarrassing. It very simply was not there.

I finally found out some of the facts about my current industry’s woes by going to the local East Indian TV station and listening to the English-speaking subjects who were interviewed. The station provided great coverage. Sad situation, but I was finally able to inform some of my fellow drivers what we were facing and what some of the issues were.

Where I am employed, we are still represented by a union that didn’t show up at the various docks or even address us drivers as to who, what, when, where or why. They also did not sign on the dotted line with the B.C. Government representatives, in the-made-for-suppertime contract settlement agreement.

We were just one of a several sets of union-represented company drivers who were virtually hung out to dry. We weren’t surprised.
None of the pretty-face reporters ever reported on that fact. They were too busy trying to get more Twitter followers than to bother with the real facts: The story behind the story.

I will admit some side stories were briefly mentioned, but the coverage, in my opinion, was not there from Day One.

Why was there not full and detailed coverage on the violence inflicted on drivers who were already being paid by the hour?

Many drivers were told to drive or find another job.

One driver had a rock the size of a briefcase dropped onto his truck from the Steveston Overpass on Highway 99. He did not see it coming and it shattered his windshield and took out his exterior sun visor. He is an old-timer, like me, and did not lose control of his rig and managed to get it to the side of the highway without hitting any innocent drivers in cars and pickups, who were all around him.

The rock-throwing cowards were long gone, and never found.

On 57th and Knight Street, other drivers, also old-timers like me, had stones thrown at their trucks as they drove up and down that very busy roadway.

Blown out windshields, side windows, plus the sides of many trucks were dented by the multiple rocks thrown on many, many occasions. Again, the cowards hid after their actions — actions which could have resulted in many deaths and injuries.

What was the purpose of this attempted murder? I don’t remember any stories on those many, many incidents.

The South Perimeter Road was another favourite shooting gallery for the cowards. Several trucks were hit with paint balls as they drove by at the posted speed. Others, who threw rocks at the commercial rig drivers as they drove along another busy road, were chased down by protesters in vehicles.

Another driver’s truck was shot at, and hit not once, but by five bullets. Once into the sleeper, three through the driver’s door and one in the front fender near the front tire.

Any one of the bullets could have been fatal. Again, the driver did not lose control, but what if he had?

I have been through three of these trucking shutdown situations. Speaking from experience, the public should start getting ready today, because there will be another strike in 2020, if not before.
It’s a six-year cycle.

Thankfully, I’ll be retired by then.

I could fill a newspaper with stories about life on the road, but why not share yours with readers? Send them to Driving editor Andrew McCredie at [email protected]

Columnist John G. Stirling takes the press to task after truckers at Vancouver’s container terminals reached an agreement to end their strike. There was not full and detailed coverage about the violence inflicted upon hourly paid drivers, he said.    — THE CANADIAN PRESS files

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