Cornwall, Ontario – Although the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) and UNIFOR engaged in negotiations starting on October 17th, they were unable to reach an agreement before the UNIFOR strike deadline set for 00:01 on October 22nd. UNIFOR has minimally moved from their initial and consistent position on their wage demands, and as a result, UNIFOR locals 4211, 4319, 4212, 4323 and 4320 are now on strike. The Seaway will remain shut down until an agreement can be reached.
The parties are at an impasse as UNIFOR continues to insist on wage increases inspired by automotive-type negotiations, while the SLSMC works to find a fair and competitive labour agreement that balances wage demands and market realities. As a result, the system will remain shut down until an agreement can be reached, whether it be temporary or tentative, as we work diligently to minimize disruption for all stakeholders.
“The stakes are high, and we are fully dedicated to finding a resolution that serves the interests of the Corporation and its employees. We remain committed to continuing discussions and reaching a fair labour agreement,” stated Terence Bowles, SLSMC President and CEO. “In these economically and geopolitically critical times, it is important that the Seaway remains a reliable transportation route for the efficient movement of essential cargoes between North America and the remainder of the world.”
The SLSMC is awaiting a response to its Canada Industrial Relations Board application, seeking a ruling under the Canada Labour Code for the Union to provide employees during a strike to ensure vessels engaged in the movement of grain continue transiting the system.
An orderly shutdown of the system took place during the 72-hour notice period allowing for vessels to safely clear the Seaway system, and the Corporation remains in regular contact with the marine industry. Currently, there are no vessels waiting to exit the system, but there are over 100 vessels outside the system, which are impacted by the situation.
For more information concerning the Seaway, please visit www.greatlakes-seaway.com.