April 29, 2019 – Since the present Collective Agreements with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) covering the West Coast of Canada expired in March 2018, The British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) and the ILWU Local 514 have been in bargaining with the goal of a renewal agreement.
As key issues have remained unresolved, the Minister of Labour appointed Ms. Kathy M. Peters as Conciliation Officer back in February. A 60-day conciliation period was agreed upon, and already expired on April 13th. The parties are now in a 21-day cooling off period that expires on May 4, thereby enabling either party to strike or lock out at 12:01 am on May 5, provided a strike lockout vote was taken and 72 hours’ written notice was given. Meeting dates with ILWU Canada are scheduled from April 29 to May 2; during this period, it continues to be business as usual in all waterfront operations, BCMEA said. The association said it remains “cautiously optimistic” that the parties will achieve renewal agreements with the assistance of The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) Conciliator in the days ahead. On April 22, CIFFA has written to the Hon. Patricia Hajdu, Canada’s Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, to express concern on behalf of member firms about the status of negotiations between the BC Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), which represents longshore workers at B.C. ports, including the Ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert. The letter notes that, should a work stoppage happen at the Port of Vancouver, it would have far-reaching negative consequences for the Canadian economy and for the workers in many Canadian industries. We will continue to keep our customer’s informed.