In a deal reached Sunday evening, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) and Canada’s largest union in the private sector Unifor have averted a strike today along the St. Lawrence Seaway, the waterway link between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, by agreeing to send the outstanding issues to binding arbitration.
This agreement also suspends the right to strike or lockout, ensuring that shippers will continue to benefit from uninterrupted navigation until March 31, 2018, according to the SLSMC.
“We have been meeting night and day the past week to reach a deal, and came to the conclusion that arbitration was the best way to resolve remaining issues,” Unifor National Representative Joel Fournier said.
Details of the issues sent to arbitration and the complete contract will be revealed with the decision of the arbitrator. Both sides expect to meet with the arbitrator as soon as possible to resolve this matter.
Unifor has 460 members along the St. Lawrence Seaway from Niagara to Montreal.
Unifor had set a strike or lockout deadline for October 31 at 12:15pm, but extended the deadline to 5pm Monday while negotiations were continuing.
Unifor announced the strike last week as a response to the SLSMC introducing hands-free mooring, thus eliminating the staff currently working on the locks.