According to multiple media outlets, Unifor, a Canadian union that represents approximately 460 workers along the St. Lawrence Seaway, has extended its strike deadline until Monday, November 3 at 5PM. Negotiations between the union and management, which began on October 28, are expected to continue through the weekend.
According to Unifor members, the key issue at stake is staffing levels at the Seaway’s locks as automatic/hands-free mooring are introduced, eliminating the need for onsite workers. The union is pushing to retain at least minimum staffing levels on the locks to deal with emergencies.
The St. Lawrence Seaway, which extends from Montreal to Lake Erie, includes 13 Canadian locks and two U.S. locks. In early 2014, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation announced the hands-free moorings as part of a $487 modernization program. Currently, an automatic mooring system is in place for one of the Beauharnois locks, with three more under construction.
As reported by the Seaway’s management, from March 22, 2013 through January 16, 204, some 37 million tons of cargo moved through the waterway. Roughly 227,000 jobs and $34 billion in economic activity are reportedly supported by the movement of goods within the Great Lakes/Seaway.
SPARX logistics will continue to monitor this story and keep our customer apprised of the latest developments. If you have questions related to specific shipments, please feel free to contact your SPARX representative.