As we acknowledge the efforts of the waterfront workforce over these recent challenging years, it is vitally important that our members are empowered to innovate and invest in technological advancements to protect and grow the workforce, respond to supply chain disruptions, and maintain the resiliency and competitiveness of Canada’s reputation as a global trading partner.
The current Canadian West Coast contracts with ILWU Canada and Local 514 will expire on March 31, 2023. On November 30, 2022, the BCMEA provided notice to both parties and the Minister of XXX to commence bargaining for a new collective agreement.
Engage in Good-Faith Negotiations Without Disruptions
Every day, millions of Canadians and Canadian businesses depend on the nation’s West Coast ports to move goods to and from the rest of the world. With severe supply chain pressures brought on by the pandemic and climate-related events in recent years, it is of paramount importance for the BCMEA to engage in good-faith negotiations with the ILWU as a united front to avoid further port disruptions on the Canadian West Coast.
For every full day of labour disruption, $500 million worth of cargo is not being moved to and from Canada’s West Coast ports. The threat of disruptions at the ports will have a resounding impact on the livelihoods of Canadians and Canadian business that rely on the movement of the supply chain. In an effort to protect B.C.’s waterfront jobs and the national economy, we are prepared to work with the ILWU to ensure an agreeable and equitable outcome.
Prioritize Health & Safety of the Workforce
The health and safety of our employees and the shared waterfront workforce is our top priority and an essential component to the work we do every day. This includes but is not limited to the support for innovative investments that seek to enhance safety measures and the quality of life of waterfront workers at work and at home.
Invest in Training, Up-Skilling & Development Opportunities
We are committed to providing every longshore worker the opportunity to reach their full potential through on-going training, up-skilling and development programs. These programs range from fundamental waterfront skillsets, achieving safe production, container vessel safety, to workplace harassment and violence prevention.
To date, the BCMEA and our member companies have invested $35 million to build a state-of-the-art Waterfront Training Centre where new recruits can train in a safe learning environment on full scale equipment without impacting active terminal operations and productivity. In 2022, we are investing a record $36 million into training and up-skilling to support the current and forecast labour needs.
Innovate and Invest in New Technologies
The global pandemic and recent climate-related crises in B.C. continue to drive the need for more resilient and efficient infrastructure to support safe port operations and the maintenance of Canada’s supply chain competitiveness. These challenges have accelerated the advancement of technology and innovation investments to ensure the health and safety of our workforce while also prioritizing environmental protections that would help mitigate the impact of climate change.
In 2020 alone, BCMEA member companies invested $950 million in gateway infrastructure and expansion projects to meet the increasing demand for labour and cargo. Over the last decade, there has been a 46% increase in jobs – equaling 2,200 net new jobs – on the waterfront, demonstrating that continued investment in technology not only ensures safe operations and enhanced efficiencies and productivity, but also creates new jobs.
By investing in technology and innovation on the waterfront, our membership is committed to protecting and supporting the workforce of tomorrow while keeping costs low for Canadians and owering the sector’s collective carbon footprint.
Provide Competitive Wages and Family-Supporting Jobs
Working on the waterfront requires dedication and a highly skilled workforce to ensure the safe and productive movement of goods. The BCMEA membership proudly employs over 9,400 well-paying, family-supporting jobs, with the ILWU workforce earning over $1 billion in wages and benefits, and a highly competitive average annual salary of $109,000 which represents roughly twice the average annual wage in B.C. across all industries.
Transforming the Culture on the Waterfront
We are committed to fostering positive transformational change and to improving the health, safety and respect on the waterfront. The maritime industry is known for being a rough and tumble environment – a reality that is no longer acceptable. In 2021, with assistance from the federal government and in partnership with the ILWU & Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA-BC), the BCMEA launched the most comprehensive violence and harassment prevention training program of its kind for the waterfront. To date, we’ve trained over 9,000 waterfront workers in EVA-BC’s Be More Than a Bystander Program. We have since expanded our commitment to fostering safe and inclusive spaces by becoming a Presenting Partner of the Be More Than A Bystander Program, ensuring that it continues to be available to thousands of students across B.C.
We continue to work collaboratively to make the waterfront a more equitable, diverse and welcoming place to work. We believe it is critically important to facilitate an environment that attracts underrepresented groups including women, minorities, Indigenous Peoples and those with differing abilities to the waterfront. As a founding member of the Waterfront Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council and in partnership with B.C.’s largest terminal employers and
operators, we aim to foster an inclusive and supportive work environment for the waterfront workforce and leadership across B.C. Together, we are on the journey to shift the paradigm of the waterfront culture by raising awareness about the Council’s initiatives that provide equal opportunities and remove barriers in the workplace.