Skip to content
Home » The BCMEA proposes new solution to resolve stalemate on key maintenance issue

The BCMEA proposes new solution to resolve stalemate on key maintenance issue

The BCMEA proposes new solution to resolve stalemate on key maintenance issue

The BCMEA and ILWU Canada met today, supported by federal mediators.

In a sincere effort to break the log jam and get Canada’s West Coast ports operational, the BCMEA tabled a revised proposal to resolve skilled trades shortages and address ILWU Canada’s demand to expand their jurisdiction over regular maintenance work on terminals.

This revised proposal included additional language that opened the door for ILWU Canada to perform new work outside of the union’s jurisdiction.

The BCMEA has committed to:
• increase benefits for casual trade persons;
• increase industry apprenticeships by a minimum of 15%; and
• create a tool allowance benefit for industry trades workers.

The proposal also includes convening a joint Maintenance Review sub-committee chaired by an independent arbitrator, agreed to by both Parties, to make recommendations to:
• improve training, recruitment and retention of ILWU Canada trades workers;
• create binding industry guidance which defines which tasks, jobs and duties are defined as Regular Maintenance Work; and
• if the Chair concludes that the work in question is not Regular Maintenance Work, they may include non-binding recommendations to help Parties consider whether members of ILWU Canada bargaining unit could perform some or all of the maintenance work in question.

Furthermore, if member employers assigned ILWU Canada regular maintenance work outside of the bargaining unit following this process, the Union will be made whole for any missed work opportunities.

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. 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.

Regrettably, ILWU Canada has rejected these ideas to date and instead, continue to propose to aggressively expand their jurisdiction.

The most recent proposal shows the BCMEA’s commitment to reach an agreement. We believe a deal can be reached if ILWU Canada wants one. We know that the best deals are made at the table, and this is exactly what we are proposing the Parties do.

The mediators have called the meetings to a close today, and we await further direction from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

Last updated: July 8, 2023, 6:20 pm PT