The union representing Longshoremen at the Port of Montreal, Syndicat des débardeurs local 375, has issued a formal strike notice that will take effect Monday, April 26th. Readers should note that significant disruptions of both import and export cargoes through the Port of Montreal will face significant barriers, and alternative routings are recommended until the situation is resolved.
The strike notice is only the most recent escalation in a situation that has been deteriorating for some time. The workers have been without a collective agreement since 2018, and were most recently out on strike in August 2020. That dispute saw a temporary resolution – a truce, rather than a new agreement – which expired in March 2021.
Just one week ago the union announced a suspension of training, overtime, and other non-core functions. This slowdown will now become an almost-complete stoppage, raising concerns among business groups already hard-hit by the economic contraction caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the union, the Maritime Employers Association (MEA) has been using unfair pressure tactics, including unilateral shift changes and the cancellation of an income guarantee for workers. The MEA states that the union has failed to come to the negotiating table and has not responded to the MEA’s 15 April counter-offers.
The Port of Montreal is Canada’s second largest, after Vancouver, processing nearly 2 million TEUs annually from Atlantic trade lanes.