Job action could cause significant delays for cross-border truck drivers, businesses
‘There’s just going to be a lot of explaining on our end on why we are so late,’ says one company
Truck drivers and businesses are concerned about the impacts a potential job action by border officers will have on delivery times and goods Friday.
Jason Windsor, Vice President of Sales at BSD Linehaul Inc. told CBC News that he is anxious about how a work-to-rule strike will affect his company and its employees.
"I'm really nervous about the potential of this dragging on for weeks or months and not having a resolution," Windsor said.
Beginning Friday, approximately 8,500 border officers are set to take part in a work-to-rule strike.
The official notice was released on Wednesday afternoon, when union leaders representing the border officers sent out a statement that said employees would take job action as of Friday at 6 a.m., if negotiations that day were not successful.
A job action, according to Windsor, will delay truck driver pick-up and delivery times and will impact the company's e-logs. He is also concerned that monetary penalties may be laid against the company if special materials for construction sites are not delivered on time.
Windsor said BSD Linehaul notified its customers on Thursday to inform them of potential delays and remind them to be prepared if shipments do not meet the delivery deadlines previously agreed upon.
"I just hope that federally they get this done and we don't get into a position where we have long line-ups at the border," Windsor said.
'Punch in the gut'
The unions are fighting for salary parity with other law enforcement workers in Canada, better protections against harassment and discrimination and a remote work policy for non-uniformed members.
If the job action goes ahead, it may have a negative impact on tourism and businesses as well.
Rakesh Naidu, president and CEO of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the free-flow of goods and services will be impacted by a job action.
"Even though the border may not be fully closed, it will lead to delays and the delays will cost us," Naidu said.
He added that the delays may create an "adverse situation" for businesses and manufacturing.
"The worst can be that the plants may have to close down because they may not have products, component supplies that they need in time," Naidu said.
He pointed out that delays may dissuade fully vaccinated Americans planning to enter Canada, which will hurt local businesses as well.
"Communities have suffered, businesses on both sides have suffered. We just can't take one more blow and this does feel like another punch in the gut," Naidu said.
The chamber, according to Naidu, is appealing to both sides in the labour dispute to come to a quick agreement.
With files from Dale Molnar