Vancouver, British Columbia — Dockworkers in Vancouver are back on the picket line following the rejection of a four-year wage proposal set forth by the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association on Tuesday.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), which represents the workers at Canada’s largest port, voted down the terms set by the BCMEA.
The union issued a statement critical of the BCMEA’s proposal on Tuesday, alleging that the terms don’t represent a fair deal for workers despite their employers being in the midst of some high times, financially speaking.
“With the record profits that the BCMEA’s member companies have earned over the last few years the employers have not addressed the cost of living issues that our workers have faced over the last couple of years as all workers have,” the ILWU wrote in its statement.
“The term of the collective agreement that was given with today’s uncertain times, is far too long. We must be able to readdress the uncertainty in the world’s financial markets for our members.”
Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan and Minister of Transportation Omar Alghabra released a joint statement Wednesday morning, offering some clarity on the details of the negotiations.
“Today, we received formal notice from the BCMEA that their membership had accepted this deal in full. However, we were also informed that, despite initially agreeing to recommend the Terms of Settlement, the ILWU Canada’s leadership had decided not to recommend ratification of the terms to their members,” read part of the statement.
The pair stated further that they are exploring all options to settle this strike, which has been ongoing since July 1, and will provide an update to the situation as soon as possible.
The ILWU represents about 7,500 dockworkers, many of whom work at the Port of Vancouver—North America’s third largest port by cargo tonnage.
At this point it is unclear what effect this stoppage of work at a major port will have on auto parts supply in Canada, however, it is likely that parts shipments will be delayed for much of the west coast, if they are not already.