Toronto, June 29, 2023
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canada served a 72-hour strike notice to the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) at 8:00 am PT on June 28th. The notice enables legal strike action to commence effective 8:00 am on Saturday, July 1st.
The ILWU, in a separate statement on Wednesday, said that its bargaining committee “has run out options at the bargaining table because the BCMEA and their member employers have refused to negotiate on the main issues.” Those issues, the union said, include protection for its members against job losses caused by contracting-out and port automation, and against “record-high inflation and skyrocketing cost of living.” The employer association said that it has since put forward “multiple proposals and positions in good faith, with the objective of making progress and achieving a fair deal at the table.”
The ILWU and BCMEA have been in talks with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) since March 28th, when the union filed a notice of dispute, the BCMEA said. Federal Labour Minister, Seamus O’Regan, and Transport Minister, Omar Alghabra, said in a separate statement on Wednesday that the FMCS will “keep supporting negotiations until an agreement is reached.” The ministers, in their statement, did not mention back-to-work legislation as an option to prevent a strike, saying instead that they “support the collective bargaining process because the best deals are made at the bargaining table.” The House of Commons adjourned for the summer on Wednesday last week, so instituting back-to-work legislation would not be a simple task at this point. The parties are scheduled to continue bargaining with the assistance of the FMCS on Thursday.
There are no operational impacts at the Port of Vancouver at this time, however, we are monitoring this situation closely and will update as soon as new information is received.
For more information, please call David Lychek, Director – Ocean & Air Services at (905) 882-4880, ext. 1207.