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Home » At $7.5 billion of disrupted cargo, the BCMEA continues to work towards a deal as soon as possible

At $7.5 billion of disrupted cargo, the BCMEA continues to work towards a deal as soon as possible

At $7.5 billion of disrupted cargo, the BCMEA continues to work towards a deal as soon as possible

Twenty-eight consecutive work shifts lost and ten days of ILWU Canada’s strike action has potentially disrupted $7.5 billion of cargo – automotive parts, refrigerated food, fertilizer, critical minerals, commodities and goods that are not reaching Canadians, or our trading partners abroad.

The economic repercussions of this labour action have only been escalating. Every day, $800 million in critical cargo, comprising 25% of Canada’s total traded goods have been compromised by ILWU Canada’s strike action. Cargo is already being diverted, with eeSea data showing two confirmed omissions of Canadian ports by vessels that will only call at the US West Coast. With approximately $19 billion of containerized cargo moving through Ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert every month, as cited by VesselsValue, the potential impact of ongoing strike action on transpacific cargo flows is immense. ILWU Canada leadership have even banded together with U.S. West Coast port workers who say they will refuse to work containerships that were rerouted from Port of Vancouver to Port of Seattle – further damaging the reliability and competitiveness of West Coast ports up and down the coast.

To add to this, B.C. is entering a key season for agri-food exports. Not only have the imports of materials for expansion, repairs, upgrades and alternative fertilizers for greenhouse growers been impacted – possibly compromising crop quality – but harvest season for major fruit exports has just begun for global markets. For example, up to 10 million pounds of blueberry exports are at risk, with Japan and South Korea as primary export destinations.

With regards to ILWU Canada’s key demand to expand their jurisdiction over maintenance work, a revised BCMEA proposal was presented Saturday which included additional solutions that opened the door for ILWU Canada to perform new work outside of the union’s traditional jurisdiction. It also included a provision to make the union whole for any missed work opportunities if member employers assigned ILWU Canada regular maintenance work to non-ILWU Canada workers.

The BCMEA Bargaining Committee also proposed solutions such as a “contracting in” committee, and a joint compliance committee that ensures all Parties are following the terms of the agreement.

To read more about the BCMEA’s latest proposal on regular maintenance, please see our statement from Saturday.

All of these ideas aim to address ILWU Canada’s apparent concern with contracting the jobs they are unable to fill, yet they have not been amenable to any of them.

The most recent proposal continues to show the BCMEA’s ongoing commitment to reaching an agreement. We believe a deal can be reached if ILWU Canada wants one.

Last updated: July 10, 2023, 3:28 pm PT