ILWU Canada Triggers Federal Intervention in Contract Talks with Employers
The conciliation period between ILWU Canada and maritime employers will last 60 days unless mutually extended by both sides.
Just over two weeks into formal negotiations, the longshore union manning the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert has asked the Canadian federal government for help in reaching a new contract with maritime employers, citing a lack of “meaningful progress.”
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canada filed a “notice of dispute” with the Minister of Labor in Ottawa, triggering a process during which a federal conciliation officer appointed within 15 days “will assist and support the parties to achieve a renewed collective agreement,” the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) said in a statement Tuesday.
It’s the same process the parties have used in prior rounds of collective bargaining negotiations, BCMEA noted. ILWU Canada’s existing contract expires at the end of March.
Talks began March 6
ILWU Canada and its 12 locals in Western Canada, and BCMEA, which represents container lines and terminal operators, began formal negotiations on March 6 for a new contract to replace the existing five-year agreement. The two sides have had five face-to-face bargaining sessions since then.
“ILWU Canada is taking this action because there has been no meaningful progress with the BCMEA in discussions to renew the … collective agreement,” the union said in a statement about its filing to the federal government.
ILWU Canada is seeking significant wage increases, while automation of cargo-handling equipment, a source of tension in past contract negotiations, will likely once again be a prominent issue.
“BCMEA looks forward to meetings being scheduled in the near future with ILWU Canada and [the federal conciliation officer] in order to achieve a renewed agreement without further disruption to Canada’s supply chain,” the employers association said.
The conciliation period will last 60 days unless mutually extended by both sides.
Source: Source: Journal of Commerce