Statement by Bea Bruske on the Port of Vancouver Strike

July 6, 2023

Bruske: The most durable deal is the one negotiated at the bargaining table

OTTAWA – Canada’s unions stand in solidarity with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and urge the BC Maritime Employers Association (BCME) to return to the table and bargain outstanding issues in good faith. 

The fact is the best labour agreements are always the ones negotiated in good faith at the bargaining table. 

With the parties making good progress before negotiations broke down, the best way forward is for the union and employers to get back to talking and get this deal done. The sticking point remains the issue of contracting out maintenance work. The fact is this union, ILWU, represents skilled trades employees who can cost-effectively provide this maintenance work. 

Certainly no one, including the employers, the BCME, wants to see the erosion of fair wages and safe working conditions for these workers. We all should champion good jobs, with fair pay and benefits. Good union jobs have paved a path to the middle class for millions of workers and it is how we lift everyone up and build thriving communities. 

Canada’s unions are committed to being partners to industry and governments in helping Canada build a strong, skilled workforce ready to power Canada’s economy.   

The union is still at the table and remains committed to the federal mediation process, ready to get a deal done. It is critical now for the BCME to join them and finish bargaining the outstanding issues in good faith. 

Back-to-work legislation goes against collective bargaining rights and is counter-productive to long-term peace and stability in an industry. We urge the government to reject those in corporate Canada pushing for the erosion of workers’ rights. Canada’s unions join Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan in urging the parties to get a deal done at the bargaining table. 

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