Tentative agreement reached by parties in the St. Lawrence Seaway strike. Eastern Canadian farmers can now breathe easier.
By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com; Image via the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.
A tentative deal was agreed upon on Sunday, October 29, 2023, halting the strike action by 350 workers at the St. Lawrence Seaway.
The workers had been on strike since October 22, 2023, as workers in the Unifor union were seeking a wage increase from the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. and wanted it to address a toxic workplace.
Workers from St. Catherines, Ontario, to Montreal, Québec, were being affected, as were multiple economic sectors: grain and other agricultural products, iron, steel, mining products, cement, and construction materials, as well as oil and petroleum.
On Thursday, October 26, 2023, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Québec Premier François Legault issued a joint statement calling for a strike resolution.
“The labour disruption that has closed the St. Lawrence Seaway is risking significant harm to our economies. Nearly $17 billion in goods were transported through this vital trade corridor last year alone,” read the statement.
Dock workers will need to work quickly to remove the current bottleneck in the waterway for ships.
With workers back on the job as of 7 AM on October 30, 2023, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. said it would begin its recovery program immediately to ensure ships are passed in and out of port “aggressively” beginning the 30th.
Despite the strike’s resolution, the one-week delay in moving such ag commodities as grain could negatively impact Canada’s standing as a reliable global trade partner—thanks to this second such port strike over the past six months.