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ILWU Canada Confirms Strike Vote Mandate as U.S. West Coast Ports face disruption over ongoing labour negotiations

Toronto, June 13, 2023

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada (ILWU Canada) has confirmed a mandate in favour of strike action if needed.  The timeline for possible strike or lockout action has not changed; the parties cannot acquire the legal right to strike or lockout before June 21.  Further, the B.C. Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) and the ILWU Canada have mutually agreed that no 72-hour strike or lockout notice will be filed before June 21.  The earliest either party could exercise the right to strike or lockout is 12:01 am (P.T.) on June 24.  The parties are continuing to meet with the assistance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.  It is estimated that Canadian West Coast ports handle almost $225 billion worth of cargo a year, with most items transported inland by rail, including many consumer products, from apparel to electronics and home goods, so any service disruption will have significant ramifications.

In terms of the U.S., disruptions at West Coast ports, particularly the major California hubs at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, and ongoing labour negotiations have raised concerns about supply chain woes hitting the U.S. economy during the peak shipping season.  Premeditated and disruptive service actions are slowing operations at several major West Coast ports during ongoing contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).  The ILWU’s collective bargaining agreement expired last July and the current round of negotiations – which began on May 10, 2022 – is yet to yield an agreement.  The ILWU represents over 22,000 longshore workers at 29 West Coast ports, all of whom would be covered by the collective bargaining agreement that’s currently being negotiated.

For more information, please call David Lychek, Director – Ocean & Air Services at (905) 882-4880, ext. 1207.

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