UPDATE: Second Tentative Agreement Possible for ILWU

Posted on Jul 25

By: Glenn Shearron, Trade Compliance Specialist, TradeInsights, ECoP

According to JOC, the Canada ILWU is expected to vote this week on another tentative contract after approval from the union caucus. A ‘stop work’ meeting was to have occurred today according to Rob Ashton, ILWU Canada’s president, so that leadership could recommend the terms of the settlement to the membership.

The British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) was also optimistic that members would approve the deal. “We are hopeful that the voting membership, like the ILWU caucus leadership and bargaining committee, will support the fair and equitable deal as recommended by the senior federal mediator,” the employers group said in a statement late Friday.

The BCMEA did ratify the initial tentative agreement on July 13, but that agreement was rejected by the ILWU Canada caucus. This resulted in a brief strike last week that was ended when the Industrial Relations Board in Canada ruled, on July 19, that the strike was illegal. The union held that they had done nothing wrong and expected that the strike would again be issued. This position was reversed by the end of the day on Wednesday as well. The ILWU indicated there would be no additional comments made.

According to the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association, which represents the port ownership, the initial deal would have provided a compounded 19.2% wage increase over a four-year period, resulting in an average ILWU income increase from $136,0000 to $162,000, not including benefits and pensions. “The proposed wage increase is well above the industry average…” the BCMEA said.

The terms of the new tentative deal have not been released yet.

It is certain that the supply chain will be hugely affected if a second strike occurs. It was projected that it will take three to five days of recovery for every one day the strike lasts, according to the Railway Association of Canada. According to statistics from the port authorities, container volumes are down almost 14% in May at the port of Vancouver, and 27% in Prince Rupert.

We will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates as necessary.

Please contact your V. Alexander account team, or you may contact our Trade Compliance team at tradeinsights@valexander.com with any questions.