Port Metro companies hammer out a deal with truck-driving Unifor

Plus, a bump for train travel tourism in B.C. and Revelstoke gets its Cold Rush back

A hard bargain
After several days of around-the-clock bargaining, yesterday Unifor signed collective agreements with six Port Metro companies, including Aheer, Forward, Prudential and Sunlover. But today striking drivers for Port Transport and Harbour Link continue to picket because those two companies declined to sign.

“These collective agreements are a major step forward for the sectors drivers,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor’s BC Area Director in a release. “Unifor drivers have a major advantage with fair rates and working conditions with this deal.”  The deal specifies that outstanding retro pay will be sent within 30 days, rates for CN and CP moves will be improved and fixes “off dock” will be paid. Companies also agreed to job security protections, better dispatching language, and benefit plan contributions.

Harbour Link has been one of the main companies refusing to pay the retroactive wages required under the Container Trucking Act. Unifor, Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers, has filed a complaint with the Office of the Container Truck Commissioner seeking both wages and penalties. McGarrigle added that with these six deals in hand, Port Transport and Harbour Link are vulnerable to a loss of business. “It is in their interest to get a deal as soon as possible.”

All aboard
Starting early next year, a Seattle-based small ships cruise company will bring tourists through B.C. via rail. The company, Un-Cruise Adventures, is offering two Rocky Mountaineer extension itineraries combinable with their Alaska or Columbia & Snake River cruises. Because the boutique yacht group is dedicated to an “unrushed and uncrowded” atmosphere, Captain Dan Blanchard, the CEO, believes train travel is the right approach for their land adventures. In B.C., guests will view Howe Sound, the Pemberton Valley and the Canadian Rockies with overnight stays in Whistler, Quesnel, Kamloops and Vancouver and guided tours of the North Shore and a gondola ride to Grouse Mountain.

Peak adventure
It’s been three years, but the Red Bull Cold Rush is back: returning to Revelstoke February 2-5. The event calls on the world’s premier freeskiers to battle it out for a chunk of the $36,000 prize purse awarded in a peer-judged format to the most versatile, well-rounded athletes. Instead of carefully groomed runs, elaborate scaffolding and cooling systems, this big mountain spectacle relies on Mother Nature. Last year, she didn’t deliver the snow, and the event had to be cancelled. But this year, hopes are high with the resort’s pre-opening mountain snowfall topping 300 centimetres.