Yves Morin, trucker: “It changed the dynamics”
Workers everywhere are on the front lines despite the end of countless social, cultural and economic activities. The newspapers of the National Cooperative of Independent Information publish a series of portraits of those for whom there is neither isolation at home nor telework. These everyday heroes who stand guard in our upset lives.
The e freight is a major cog in the economy and a proven way to have access to a long list of products. Yves Morin, 52, has nearly 20 years of experience as a trucker, the last three of which are with the Drummondville company Bourret International. This resident of Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel, in Mauricie, is able to note that COVID-19 has created significant changes in his work, unprecedented in his career.
Q What is your daily routine like?
A I always travel between Quebec and the United States, mainly in the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. We transport food and pharmaceutical products, equipment for papermaking, building materials, furniture, etc.
Q How has the epidemic accentuated work protocols?
A Our company disinfects trucks every day. When we are on the road, the company provides us with equipment to disinfect the interior of the trucks. We have gloves with detailed instructions on how to take them off so as not to get contaminated. There is a lot of prevention in our business. And if I’m infected, you have to go home. But we could be denied access to Canada if we have the coronavirus. You have insurance coverage if you have to stay in the United States. It is important to disinfect your hands, to be careful, because we have customers sign invoices and we also sign them. We are at risk. We don’t want to bring this home, I have young children.
Q What are the constraints that add to your work?
A Things have changed since last week. It changed the dynamics with the wind of panic at the start of the week. They closed the rest areas in Pennsylvania. The FMCSA (the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the American organization that deals with transport), got involved to settle this. They reopened the restaurants, the showers. We only had access to gasoline. They reopened 13 of the 40 rest areas, so we don’t have too many problems. When we come back to Canada, we are asked questions about whether we have a fever, cough, cold or flu symptoms. We were never asked these questions before. In addition, there are customers who refuse access to the interior of the loading docks, because I am an international trucker. But others have not changed their standards.
Q Do you consider your work more essential than ever?
A In my opinion, yes! We transport a lot of raw materials which are used to treat people. We go to the United States with a product that is used to make disinfectant wipes. Merchandise is used to make fire trucks here. You have to understand that the industry continues to roll.
Q We can see that more and more citizens are thanking truckers in public, especially on social networks. How do you react to this surge of recognition?
A It’s heart-warming. We are rather used to being told that we are public dangers. It’s true that we take up a lot of space, that we don’t drive more than 105 km / h. We understand people. Being thanked for our work helps us keep our spirits up and keep driving despite what is going on.
Q Do you have a message to send to the population?
A I ask people to stay at home so that the front line workers can keep their health to keep feeding everyone, so that nothing is lacking. We saw, at the beginning, the panic for toilet paper. The day that he will run out of food, there will be a bigger panic and we do not want to go there. You have to follow government instructions. You have to stay at home. This is the priority that everyone should have. A life is worth more than anything you want to buy.