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St. Lawrence Seaway workers on strike

St. Lawrence Seaway workers on strike

It is feared that the strike action will heavily and negatively impact Canadian grain shipments.

By Andrew Joseph,; Photo by Onfokus/E+ photo via Getty Images

Well, it worked for the west coast port workers...

On Sunday, October 22, 2023, workers at the St. Lawrence Seaway walked off the job on strike.

Affecting hundreds of workers at this one port, the strike action will delay the movement of freight shipments along the St. Lawrence River, affecting an area from Lake Erie to Montreal.

Representing the workers is Unifor. "We cannot allow workers' rights to be compromised. We remain open to discussion and hope that the employer will reconsider its position for the good of all," stated Daniel Cloutier, the Director for Unifor Québec, in a media release.

In the previous week, the union complained that they were “1,000 nautical miles” apart in their negotiations, specifically over the chief stumbling point of worker wages.

Cloutier said in another earlier statement that its workers are involved in jobs that require intense training, “a high level of understanding of the health and safety risks, and that [carries] enormous responsibility for the well-being of seafarers and their cargo. They are irreplaceable."

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) acknowledged the impasse and said in its own statement that the St. Lawrence Seaway would remain closed until the two sides reach an agreement.

SLSMC spokesperson Jean Aubry-Morin said: "Cargo movements through the Seaway are an important part of the North American economy and supply chain.

"In particular, this labour action would impact grain movements during a period when the world is in dire need of this essential commodity, even as supply has been affected by the situation in Ukraine and the greater frequency of extreme weather events being experienced around the world."

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