21-Day Cooling Off Period starts for West Coast dockworker negotiations

coracle News

The earliest that West Coast dockworkers could strike or be locked out is June 24. The federal government’s conciliation process with the BC Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union Canada (ILWU) is complete, and no deal has been reached yet. As of May 31, both sides enter a 21-day cooling off period, which ends on June 21, when both sides acquire the right to strike or lockout. Both parties agreed that no 72-hour strike or lockout notice will be filed before June 21, making June 24 the earliest date for a strike or lockout to begin.

The current five-year contract between the BCMEA and ILWU expired on March 31. After meeting five times in March, ILWU filed a “notice of dispute” and asked for the federal government to assist with negotiations.

ILWU Canada and its 12 locals in Western Canada represent 7,400 unionized dockworkers and foremen employed at Canada’s West Coast ports, while the BCMEA represents container lines and terminal operators.

In the past, any disruptions caused by a labour dispute in B.C. have caused major bottlenecks with negative impacts on the economy.

1. BCMEA and ILWU Negotiations Update, Chamber of Shipping, May 31, 2023. Accessed June 1, 2023.
2. West Coast dockworker negotiations enter cooling-off period as pressure to ink new deal ratchets up, Business in Vancouver, June 1, 2023. Accessed June 1, 2023.