US dockers will refuse cargo to Canada in solidarity with striking workers in British Columbia Ship’s crew

Dockers on the US west coast will refuse to unload cargo destined for Canada to show solidarity with striking dockers in British Columbia.

The decision was announced by Willie Adams, President of ILWU International, in a statement Monday: “The ILWU will not offload any cargo to Canada in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in ILWU Canada,” the statement said.

ILWU Canada and British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) have been unable to reach agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement covering approximately 7,400 longshoremen and foremen in Canada’s west coast ports since the previous agreements expired on March 31, 2023. The BCMEA represents 49 private waterfront employers and operators in British Columbia.

The July 1 labor strike initiated by members of ILWU Canada has caused significant disruption to the movement of goods and goods through Vancouver, Canada’s busiest port, and Prince Rupert.

The BCMEA estimates that about CA$7.5 billion (US$5.7 billion) worth of cargo has already been disrupted by the strike. The association says the refusal of US west coast dockers to serve vessels diverted from Canada “will further damage the reliability and competitiveness of west coast ports along the coast.”

To settle the ongoing dispute, both sides held talks with federal mediators over the weekend. As part of the negotiation process, the BCMEA presented a revised proposal with an updated offer, which the Employers’ group said included improved benefits for casual tradespeople, an increase in apprenticeships and the provision of a tool allowance.

The situation continues to evolve as both parties try to find common ground. However, US dockers’ refusal to process wills for cargo shipments to Canada is helping to compound the impact of the ongoing labor strike.

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