Statement from ILWU Canada Bargaining Committee

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canada issued the following statement regarding the conditions that led their members to withdraw their labour in an effort to reach a suitable contract agreement:

Rob Ashton, President -- ILWU Canada

Free Collective Bargaining between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada (ILWU) and the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) has been ongoing since February of this year in an attempt to renew the industry wide collective agreement which expired March 31, 2023.

The Union is seeking a fair deal that respects Longshore workers, one that protects our jobs and our jurisdiction. We are seeking recognition for the hard work and sacrifices that Longshore Workers made during the pandemic and the extraordinary work that Longshore Locals did in getting workers out to the terminals during the lockdowns.

Our Main Objectives are:

- To stop the erosion of our work through Contracting Out

- To protect current and future generations from the devastating impacts of Port Automation

- To protect longshore workers from record High Inflation and sky rocketing Cost of Living

But the Employers and their bargaining agent, the BCMEA have repaid our hard work and dedication with demands for major concessions. Their only objective is to take away rights and conditions from longshore workers after having gorged themselves on record profits during the pandemic.

Longshore workers kept this Province and the Country running during the Pandemic and when Canadians were told to shelter in place, our people went to work! We worked in difficult and hazardous conditions to ensure that the communities where we live, and all Canadians had the necessary supplies and personal protective equipment to defend against the Covid-19 virus. This was an unprecedented time in the history of the world and longshore workers stepped up and proved that we are here to support the people of Canada. It is unfortunate that our employers hold us in such contempt.

Unfortunately, the ILWU Canada Bargaining Committee has run out of options at the bargaining table because the BCMEA and their member employers have refused to negotiate on the main issues, and we feel we are left with no choice but to take the next step (strike) in the process.

We remain committed to negotiate an end to this dispute that respects Longshore Workers and we call on the BCMEA to drop all concessions and get serious about negotiating with the Union in good faith.

Rob Ashton, President ILWU Canada

Port Moody, July 1, 2023

(Photos: ILWU Canada)

This article was published in
Number 35 - July 5, 2023

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