Friday, February 3, 2012

Canadian Maritime Employers, Union Reach Accord

International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 514, which had been working without a contract since March 2010, has reached an agreement on an eight-year deal with the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association.

Although the newly-agreed contract is for eight years, it’s retroactive to the end of the previous deal, according to the BCMEA representative Greg Vurdela, and expires on March 31, 2018, the same date as the BCMEA’s contract with Local 500, which represents longshore workers and marine surveyors.

The contract, which was tentatively agreed to by both parties in mid-January, was ratified at the end of month. It was partially brokered by the Canadian Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, which provides dispute prevention and resolution assistance to unions and employers.

Canada’s Labor Minister, Lisa Raitt, said in a Jan. 31 statement that the contract would ensure long-term stability at British Columbia’s seaports.

“We are committed to sustaining and strengthening Canada’s global reputation as a dependable and efficient shipping gateway that businesses can depend on,” she said. “And with this agreement our trading partners can be assured that Canada is open to business and can be relied upon to meet the import and export demands of the 21st century.”

The BCMEA is comprised of about 60 members companies that conduct business on Canada’s West Coast, while Local 514 represents about 500 ship and dock foremen at all ports in British Columbia.