More than 7,400 port workers across British Columbia, Canada have walked off the job again after rejecting the labor deal brokered by a federal mediator, shutting down the nation’s western ports for the second time since July 1.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Canada’s members began the industrial action on July 1, bringing port operations across Western Canada to a standstill. On July 13, the B.C. Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) and ILWU Canada announced a tentative agreement had been reached, ending the 13-day strike.
Industry groups estimated the industrial action, which halted container flows at 30 ports in British Columbia – including Vancouver and Prince Rupert – and rail operations between British Columbia and the U.S., had cost billions of dollars in trade disruptions and led to temporary layoffs at manufacturing facilities in Prince George and Saskatchewan.
However, success was declared too soon. On July 18, the ILWU Longshore Caucus rejected the terms of the settlement, saying the terms did not meet any of the workers’ core demands, including addressing the cost-of-living issues that have impacted the workforce over the last couple of years or protecting port workers’ jobs from automation. In a brief statement, the union said, “Our position since Day 1 has been to protect our jurisdiction and this position has not changed.”
OCEANAIR will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available.