The St. Lawrence Seaway is to resume operations at 7 am Monday morning following a tentative agreement announced Sunday, October 29 evening between the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation and the Unifor union representing 361 Canadian workers who had been on strike since October 22 – impacting on more than 100 vessels waiting at anchor in various locations to eventually deliver or load vital bulk commodities at ports in the St. Lawrence/Great Lakes system.
Details of the agreement will be made public once the agreement is ratified by both sides in the coming days. The new agreement replaced a collective agreement which expired on March 31. Observers expected the new deal to contain a compromise on the central issue of wages aligned to inflation.
“We have in hand an agreement that’s fair for workers and secures a strong and stable future for the Seaway,” said SLSMC President and CEO Terence Bowles. “We know that this strike has not been easy for anyone, and value the patience and cooperation of our marine industry binational partners; carriers, shippers, ports, local communities and all those who depend on this vital transportation corridor on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border”.
“For the first time in 55 years seaway workers took the very hard decision to go on strike. They did so to fight for a more respectful workplace and for an agreement that reflects today’s economic times,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National President. “They have shown that the best deal is reached at the bargaining table, and I congratulate the committee on their outstanding work on behalf of their members.”
The tentative agreement covers Unifor members at Locals 4211, 4212 and 4323 in Ontario and Locals 4319 and 4320 in Quebec, who work in the supervisory and engineering group and the maintenance, operations, and clerical group.
Photo Paul Beesley