Longshore workers demand negotiations after special law forces them back to work

Tied up in knots since a special law forced them back to work a year ago, workers at the Port of Montreal have had enough, and want full engagement from their employer during negotiations for their next collective agreement.

The longshore worker’s union held a press conference Sunday to denounce what it calls “bad faith” at the bargaining table on the part of the Maritime Employers Association.

According to the union, the employer is trying to drag out the process. They say there’s been no pressure to quickly reach an agreement since the federal government passed a special law on April 30, 2021, which forced the resumption of activities at the Port of Montreal.

The port’s 1,125 longshore workers walked off the job once in the summer of 2020 and again in April 2021.

The federal labour minister at the time, Filomena Tassi, passed special legislation forcing the workers back to work. The special law resulted in the appointment of a mediator-arbitrator to resolve issues in the dispute.

A year later, the union feels that the employer has an unbalanced advantage because of this law.

The union also said the Maritime Employers Association does not make itself sufficiently available for bargaining sessions.  

This report was first published in French by The Canadian Press on May 1, 2022. 


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