The spokespersons of the Teamsters Union will be available for interviews before and after the presentation of the brief. Contact Stéphane Lacroix at 514 609‑5101. The brief can be viewed here.
Laval, February 27, 2017 — The Teamsters Union is demanding that we stop squeezing our truck drivers like lemons. This is the main conclusion of the brief they will be presenting this evening at the SAAQ consultation on road safety.
Teamsters are inviting the government to focus its attention on all the issues undermining the industry, starting with the consequences of the deregulation implemented by the federal government in the 1980s.
Deregulation led to the proliferation of fly-by-night transport companies. These companies have dragged down the working conditions and profit margins in the industry by offering, for example, ridiculously low delivery prices and promising very short delivery deadlines.
This means that truckers have to rush, and sometimes even take risks, to meet the requirements of the industry. Their jobs may even be on the line if they miss too many delivery deadlines because the penalties imposed by the shippers on transport companies can be very heavy.
In addition, road work and traffic jams are the day-to-day bane of this business, adding to the stress of delivering the merchandise on time.
The unavoidable road work and inescapable traffic jams force truckers to work long hours, to neglect their circadian rhythms (and, hence, their rest and their sleep) and to cut into their leisure time. These pressures have an impact on the mental and physical health of truck drivers, and, consequently, on our road safety statistics.
In short, workers are stressed out and less rested and, therefore, more likely to be involved in an accident.
Accountability of shippers
Shippers and transport company accountability is the cornerstone of the Teamsters’ recommendations.
“Everything is interconnected in the trucking industry: the conditions offered by the companies, their work schedules, truckers’ health, and shippers’ requirements,” explains Jean Chartrand, President of Teamsters Local Union 106. “The SAAQ consultations are useful, but we can’t just look at the safety issues; we also have to consider the big picture.”
Also, it’s important to note that in an industry that is attracting fewer and fewer young workers, the high number of retirements expected in the coming years, coupled with the arrival of new, less experienced workers, will also likely have an impact on road safety statistics.
The electronic logbooks that will be implemented this year cannot assess human fatigue.
To illustrate, let’s take Claude, a trucker scheduled to make deliveries overnight on Monday night into Tuesday morning. Because he is proactive and responsible, Claude sleeps all day Monday to be awake and alert come Monday evening. If, by misfortune, Claude is reassigned to work on Tuesday morning, he won’t be able to sleep much on Monday night after sleeping all day Monday. So Claude will be tired on Tuesday morning but he won’t dare refuse the work because, like you and me, he has to pay his bills.
In addition, if Claude has a very tight, or even unreasonable, deadline for making his deliveries, he may take risks that could have dire consequences for him and others on the road. Conclusion: logbooks cannot counter lack of sleep and the tight delivery schedules imposed by transport companies.
If the SAAQ and the government could only retain one thing from the Teamsters’ brief, it should be that truck drivers must be their main concern. We must make sure that drivers have predictable schedules and that they can get enough rest to optimize their chances of improving Quebec’s road safety records.
Brief presented by the Teamsters at the SAAQ consultation on road safety
When: February 27 at 4:45 p.m.
Where: Hôtel Omni – 1050, Sherbrooke street West
Why: Brief presented by the Teamsters at the SAAQ consultation on road safety
Who: Stéphane Lacroix and Marcel Massé of the Teamsters Union
Teamsters Canada represents 125,000 members in Canada in all industries. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America. Teamsters Canda represents the interests of 4,000 workers in the road transportation industry in Quebec.
Stéphane Lacroix, Directeur of Public Relations