Union says dont fence me out

first_imgSurely it’s not easy to stand outside your place of work, holding a picket sign and walking back and forth as someone else does your job on the other side of the fence.But members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union are doing just that, pacing beyond the gate of the massive United Grain Corp. grain export terminal at the Port of Vancouver. They’ve been there since Feb. 27, the day that they were locked out based on the company’s allegation that a union member had vandalized United Grain property, a charge the union denies and that the Vancouver Police Department is investigating.The men stand vigil 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They spend five-hour stints holding signs and pacing in front of the terminal gate, waving to sympathetic truckers who toot air horns as they pass.The stare-down won’t continue forever. Before the lockout, union members worked for about two months under a contract that they’d voted overwhelmingly to reject, and stories of work slowdowns — denied by the union — were common. It’s unlikely that either side wants to return to such a volatile workplace.Exporters and other waterfront employers using longshore workers want more flexibility in staffing, work hours and working conditions. And they want to be able to adopt new technologies that can eliminate jobs. Unions, naturally, want to protect jobs.last_img

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