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Canadian Dockworkers Back to Work After Second Strike

The tentative deal reached last week between West Coast Canadian dockworkers and their employer is off the table for the moment, according to CNBC.

What’s going on: On Wednesday, the Canadian Industrial Relations Board called off a day-old strike by International Longshore & Warehouse Union West Coast Canada members.

  • The workers had “walked off the job Tuesday afternoon when a key union caucus voted down a tentative deal agreed to by the union and port owners last week.”
  • The CIRB—which Wednesday afternoon declared the strike “illegal” because the ILWU did not provide the requisite 72-hour strike notice—ruled that a full strike could not recommence for another three days.
  • Though workers have returned to their jobs and the union has until Saturday to determine further action, continued disruption seems imminent as labor talks continue.

The first strike: Earlier this month dock employees stopped work for nearly two weeks over disagreement about wages.

  • The deal brokered last week included pay and benefits increases “over and above the approximate 10% increase received over the past three years.”

Why it’s important: Canadian port closures harm manufacturers and consumers in the U.S.

  • “Weekly rail trade data from the Association of American Railroads on the second full week of the first strike showed a decline of 36.2%. The first week of the strike, there was a decline of 46.2% in U.S.-bound trade year-over-year.”
  • The Vancouver and Prince Rupert ports are particularly crucial for U.S. supply chains, with about 15% of American trade coming into Vancouver.

The impact: U.S. ports on both coasts are still seeing the effects of the first strike—especially as they gear up for August, peak shipping season for the upcoming holidays.

  • “A combination of vessel cancelations due to global trade weakness and ocean carriers omitting the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert because of the labor strife, has contributed to a space crunch at U.S. West Coast and East Coast ports not seen since Covid.”

The NAM’s take: “Continued disruption and uncertainty at Canada’s West Coast ports will have direct and downstream impacts for many manufacturers in America,” said NAM Policy Director Ben Siegrist. “The NAM is closely monitoring the situation in connection with our industry allies in country.”

Has your company been affected by West Coast port disruptions? To share your impact stories and statements or for additional information, please contact Ben Siegrist at [email protected].​​​​​​

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