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Associations, Labour

Workaround deal addresses dump truck impasse

Don Wall
Workaround deal addresses dump truck impasse
FILE PHOTO — Members of the Ontario Dump Truck Association withdrew their services March 21 as a strategy to obtain better rates and improved working conditions. Pictured: ODTA members gathered at the Khalsa Darbar temple on Dixie Road in Mississauga.

A work stoppage by members of the Ontario Dump Truck Association (ODTA) appears to be over two months after it started.

The leadership of the ODTA has declined comment on what appears to be a workaround agreement, but business partners in the construction sector who hire the truckers say a new purchase order solution seems to have met some of the demands of both sides.

Fifteen hundred members of the association withdrew their services March 21 in hopes of obtaining better rates and working conditions. The ODTA produced an eight-page document asking for a 20- to 35-per-cent increase in fees six years after the last one and a series of guarantees relating to safety, work breaks, compensation for work cancellation and other issues.

Dump trucks typically remove excavated materials from construction sites. Members of such organizations as the Associated Earth Movers of Ontario (AEMO), Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction Association (OSWCA) and the Ontario Road Builders’ Association (ORBA) were among the business partners of the truckers, contracting for their services through brokers.

OSWCA executive director Patrick McManus said the dump trucks issue “seems to have been resolved, at least for the time being.

“There was not a uniform settlement, but it seems the involved parties were able to reach some form of agreement through a purchase order that met the needs of both sides in the dispute.”

The key sticking point in reaching an agreement, according to the AEMO, OSWCA and others, is that because of the loose organizational structure of the ODTA, the association was not in a position to sign a collective agreement recognized and enforceable by the Ontario Labour Relations Board – an assertion rejected by Bob Punia, ODTA adviser.

David Rumble, an executive with the AEMO, explained the only way to break the contractual impasse was for the truckers and brokers to provide a simplified purchase order to the company that employs them.

“The purchase order identifies a rate, PPE requirements and a confirmed break,” said Rumble. 

He stated the AEMO’s position on the collective agreement issue has not changed but that there was a solution facilitated, further meetings planned and attempts to “keep the dialogue positive.”

The new rates have not been disclosed.

ORBA declined comment.

Punia said earlier that typical fees prior to the settlement ranged from $65 to $90 per hour, not nearly enough for the businesses to be profitable with diesel fuel costs spiking in the past year and other costs also rising.

 

Follow the author on Twitter @DonWall_DCN.

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