Canada’s St Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) and Unifor have ratified a new three-year collective labour agreement that will keep the main transportation artery connecting the ports of Montreal and Toronto and cargo handling facilities on the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean open.
Map from Britannica
The 360 members of the trade union Unifor had staged a week-long strike after contract talks with SLSMC collapsed in October. The action closed the river and prevented approximately 150 ships from navigating the waterway, immediately impacting the region’s economy. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce estimated that about Can$34M in economic activity was disrupted every day as a result of the strike.
The agreement reached covers several issues, including engineering and maintenance work and also encompasses other worker groups in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec provinces.
“The collective agreement reflects the important contributions Seaway employees make every day to keeping this critical transportation corridor moving and delivering for local, regional and binational economies,” explained Terence Bowles, president and CEO of SLSMC. “In particular we thank employees for their hard work and cooperation in recent days to support the safe and efficient reopening of the Seaway to shipping traffic.”
In 2022, 36.3Mt of cargo was shipped and 4,000 vessels transited the St Lawrence Seaway, down 4.9% and up 2.3%, respectively, on the previous year.