ILWU Canada has left no further avenues to reach a deal; Course change required
The BC Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) is committed to reaching a fair and balanced deal with ILWU Canada – one that recognizes the expertise of B.C.’s waterfront workforce and which can get goods flowing as soon as possible for the benefit of Canada’s economy and Canadian families.
The BCMEA has continued to advance reasonable proposals and positions in good faith with the urgent objective of making progress, reaching a fair deal, and ensuring ports are open and supply chains are stable and reliable. Rather than work towards an equitable deal, ILWU Canada seems to have entrenched their positions. The BCMEA has gone as far as possible on core issues.
ILWU Canada is attempting to aggressively expand their scope and re-define Regular Maintenance Work far beyond what is set out in the industry-wide agreement, which has been legally well established for decades. Changing this definition would result in immediate and significant impacts to terminal operations. Under the current collective agreement, the ILWU exclusively supplies the labour force, however, it has been consistently unable to fulfill the trades work they have jurisdiction over.
Further, ILWU Canada’s proposals for compensation are unreasonable, and well outside the established norm of union settlements in Canada.
BCMEA employer members are proud to provide well-paying family-supporting jobs for B.C. longshore workers. For context, in 2022, the median salary of an ILWU Union longshore worker in B.C. was $136,000 per year, plus benefits and pension. Over the course of the past 13 years, longshore wages have risen by 40%, ahead of inflation at 30%. ILWU Canada member wages have increased by approximately 10% in the past three years since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
ILWU Canada went on strike over demands that were and continue to be outside any reasonable framework for settlement. Given the foregoing mentioned, the BCMEA is of the view that a continuation of bargaining at this time is not going to produce a collective agreement.
ILWU Canada needs to decide if they are going to continue this strike with no hope of settlement, or significantly modify their position so a fair and balanced deal can be reached.
Last updated: July 3, 2023