In early 2019, FMA was informed by the Maritime Employers Association (MEA) that their agreement with the Longshoremen’s Union, CUPE Local 375, at the Port of Montreal, had expired at the end of 2018 and, while negotiations had commenced long before the expiration date, no agreement had been reached. In early 2019, MEA and the union were in mediation talks.

Also in early 2019, MEA formally requested that the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) declare that the longshore workers to be an “essential service” under the Canada Labour Code which would prohibit strikes or lockouts. While the CIRB was investigating and adjudicating on this request, no strike or lock-out was permitted.

The CIRB issued its decision on June 8, 2020 and MEA reports that the CIRB did not declare the longshore workers to be an “essential service” under the Labour Code. MEA has reported that negotiations are recommencing in an attempt to reach a settlement.

FMA will be maintaining contact with MEA on the progress of the negotiations. Before any work stoppage it is likely that, if negotiations fail, mediation will follow. Also, there is the formal requirement in the law for the 72 hour advance notice of a strike or lockout.