Teamsters Local 213 truckers and independent owner-operators stage protest convoy from Abbotsford to Surrey in a campaign to stop trucking companies from whipsawing drivers to push wage rates down. March 20, 1973. Sean Griffin photo, Image MSC160-1435_17, courtesy Pacific Tribune Photo Collection, Simon Fraser University Library.

Sewak Singh Dhaliwal was born in Canada. His father Giani Harnam Singh was one of the first 100 South Asians to immigrate to BC in 1906. Dhaliwal was the first South Asian member of the Teamsters Union in BC when he joined in 1960. He estimates the sector is now 90% South Asian.

Local 213 of the Teamsters Union was innovative in dealing with the growing numbers of owner-operators in the trucking industry who did not fit into the traditional definition of “employees” to enjoy the benefits of collective bargaining as union members.

A longtime advocate for road safety and owner of a large aggregate hauling company, Dhaliwal helped the Teamsters Union in BC establish a rate scale for union owner/operators.

The pay scale agreement between construction companies, brokers, truckers was the first of its kind in the aggregate hauling industry. It is still being used today.

Despite the challenge of being independent contractors, truckers in BC took collective action and improve their working conditions. One example was a 1973 campaign which included a convoy of trucks from Abbotsford to Surrey to protest trucking companies practices of “whipsawing” to drive freight prices down.


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Union Zindabad! Copyright © 2022 by BC Labour Heritage Centre is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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