Union workers on the St. Lawrence Seaway, the waterway link between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, announced a strike for this Friday afternoon, October 31, in response to the seaway introducing hands-free mooring, eliminating the staff currently working on the locks, Reuters reports.
Five Unifor locals, representatives of Canada’s largest private sector union, served this Tuesday 72 hours’ strike notice along the waterway, stating staffing levels as one of the key issues in contract talks as the seaway switches to hands-free mooring.
Unifor asks for minimum staffing levels along the waterway which would respond in emergency situations, saying that ”having no personnel at the dock, leaves the ships vulnerable to a mechanical failure and the real possibility of an environmental disaster.”
The five union branches have about 460 members along the waterway which spreads from mid-Lake Erie to Montreal, and has 13 Canadian and two U.S. locks.
World Maritime News; Image: Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System