ILWU Canada votes down tentative agreement, leaving Canadian supply chain and livelihoods hanging in the balance
The BCMEA is disappointed to learn tonight that the ILWU Canada voting membership have rejected the four-year tentative agreement that was proposed by the senior federal mediator and recommended for ratification by the ILWU Bargaining Committee and their Longshore Caucus.
The proposed four-year agreement was a good deal that recognized the skills and efforts of B.C.’s waterfront workforce while providing certainty and stability for the future of Canada’s West Coast ports.
ILWU Canada’s inability to ratify a fair and balanced recommended tentative agreement has left Canadians, businesses and the entire supply chain in a perilous state that has cost billions and will further hurt affordability and increase costs for Canadians.
The four-year package rejected by the ILWU provided a generous compounded wage increase of 19.2%. This would have potentially increased the median union longshore compensation from $136,000 to $162,000 annually, not including benefits and pension. Over the course of the past 13 years, longshore wages have risen by 40%, ahead of inflation at 30%.
The proposed deal also provided a signing bonus of $1.48 per hour worked to be paid to each employee (equivalent to approximately $3,000 per full-time worker), and an 18.5% increase to a Modernization and Mechanization retirement lump sum payment. This would increase their retirement payout in 2026 to $96,250 for eligible retiring employees, over and above employees’ pension entitlements.
The Parties worked diligently at the bargaining table to come to the terms in the deal that address the union’s demands regarding maintenance work. The deal also included measures to improve training, recruitment and retention of ILWU trades workers now and in the future. Specifically, the BCMEA agreed to provide benefit coverage for all casual trades workers, a new tool allowance, and a commitment to increase apprentices by a minimum of 15%.
Stability and certainty must be restored to Canada’s largest gateway:
It has been 31 days since ILWU Canada communicated their first intention to strike. The disconnect within ILWU Canada and their erratic actions of the past month have impacted Canadians for too long. Of note, while the ILWU have not communicated their next steps, they retain the ability to provide 72-hour strike notice. Regrettably, ILWU’s rejection once again leaves businesses, Canadians and all those who depend on a stable, well-functioning supply chain hanging in the balance.
Canada’s international reputation as a stable trading partner has been jeopardized and it can no longer tolerate further ambiguity and instability to the nation’s supply chain network.
The BCMEA awaits further direction from the Federal Government on the next steps.
Last updated: July 28, 2023, 10:23 pm PT