On June 5, Canada’s International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) posted a notice that its negotiating committee authorized the ILWU Longshore Locals to conduct a strike vote among its members on June 9 and 10. The threatened strike would occur at Vancouver and Prince Rupert ports.
The B.C. Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) and ILWU Canada have been negotiating a new contract since February. The parties are now in a 21-day cooling-off period ending June 21, 2023. During the cooling-off period, the parties have the right to strikes or lockout, but they cannot exercise that right until the following has occurred:
- 21 days have passed since the end of the conciliation process;
- a strike or lockout vote has been taken; and
- a 72-hour strike notice has been given.
According to BCMEA, an agreement has been made that no 72-hour strike or lockout notice will be filed before June 21. The earliest possible strike date would be June 24.
The timing of a possible strike at B.C. ports coincides with West Coast port disruptions in the United States that caused labor shutdowns, shift closures, and terminals completely shutting down. A combination of port disruptions at B.C. and the U.S. ports would cause serious damage to global shipping on the West Coast.
Both parties will continue to meet with the assistance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS).