The St Lawrence Seaway has just reached a deal with its employees, avoiding a strike by its workers, planned to start by noon today. The Canadian Auto Workers union, CAW, represents 475 workers of the seaway, had issued a 72 hours strike notice to the Seaway authority last Friday. But the CBC is reporting that a deal has been reach, and the strike averted, about four hours before the deadline.
I was just thinking to myself, the other day, how impressive a port operation is. Montreal for instance is massive, and the countless ships that silently come and go, carry massive amounts of cargo. There was so many ships moving in the harbour, we were delayed 4 hours, waiting for a Harbour Pilot the other day.
Ports are major economic engines, and shipping allows a great deal of the countries goods to be moved around efficiently. The seaway extends the capability of ships to reach many other ports, all around the St Lawrence, and all over the Great Lakes, deep into the heart of Canada and the US.
With Canada’s conservative government desperately wishing to cozy up to the US’s policies, I suspected they would have once again legislate the workers back to work, should they have gone on strike. I realize everyone should have the right to work, but taking away collective bargaining rights is just wrong. I suspect this government’s stance was a contributory factor to a limited extent.
Obviously the Union was using the threat of strike as a bargaining tool, as the sides were evidently not too far apart. Probably why the government was oddly quiet. Strange also, the seaway was considerably busy, considering the strike notice.
The CAW is 200,000 members strong, but the maritime component(s), including the Seaway’s workers, represents less then 1% of the membership. Here’s a little more info on the negotiations.