Unifor calls on Container Truckers Commissioner to step down

VANCOUVER, Feb. 20, 2015 /CNW/ - Persistent concerns about a conflict of interest have prompted Unifor to call on the newly appointed Commissioner, Andy Smith, to resign. The union says that Smith's position as the President and CEO of a Port Metro Vancouver stakeholder organization creates the perception of bias.

"You can't be a referee and play for one of the teams," said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor's BC Area Director. "The Port needs a commissioner who is independent and impartial. Andy Smith has competing obligations and cannot properly fulfil his role as commissioner."

Truckers ended a month-long shut down in March 2014 after a Joint Action Plan was signed with the truckers, the Port, the BC government and the federal government. The Plan included the appointment of an independent commissioner to oversee the implementation of the Container Trucking Act, including broad powers to set terms and conditions governing licenses, rates and fuel surcharges for businesses in the Port.

Smith was appointed Commissioner in January 2015, but has also continued to serve as the President and CEO of the BC Maritime Employers' Association (BCMEA). The BCMEA is closely tied to operations of the Port.

The BC government has dismissed concerns about Smith's conflict of interest, insisting that it is not responsible for the commissioner's impartiality.

"Port Metro Vancouver must operate with integrity. If truckers can't be guaranteed fairness, it threatens the operation of the Port," said Joie Warnock, Unifor's Western Director.

Read the letter from Unifor National President Jerry Dias to BC Transportation Minister Todd Stone.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.


For further information: For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at 778-903-6549 (cell) or Ian.Boyko@Unifor.org

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