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Tribunal Rejects Montreal Port Employers’ Bid to Rule Dockworkers as Essential

Tribunal Rejects Montreal Port Employers’ Bid to Rule Dockworkers as Essential - Universal Logistics Trade Alerts - March 18, 2024

Toronto, March 18, 2024

On Thursday, March 14, 2024, a federal tribunal reiterated its stance that Montreal port employers cannot require employees to work during a strike, paving the way for negotiations to resume ahead of potential job action. In a summary decision, the Canada Industrial Relations Board rejected a request by the Maritime Employers Association to deem port work an essential service in a bid to prevent a strike on the waterfront.

The employers and the union, representing 2,100 port workers, failed to secure a new collective agreement before it expired on December 31st, but the case was before the tribunal at that time, postponing possible labour action. Explaining its ruling, the board cited a 2020 decision that the Maritime Employers Association failed to demonstrate “imminent and serious risks to the health and safety of the public” – the criteria for essential activity, in the event of a work stoppage.

The Maritime Employers Association said its “priority remains the conclusion of a negotiated collective agreement, supported by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

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

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