Local 514 Bargaining Update and CIRB Decision

08 Jul Local 514 Bargaining Update and CIRB Decision

Background

On July 8, 2024, the ILWU Local 514 union announced a strike action against DP World (Canada) Inc., scheduled to commence at 4:30 PM. This announcement prompted the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) to seek urgent intervention from the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB). The BCMEA argued that the union’s proposals and strike actions were contrary to the Canada Labour Code. In response, the CIRB scheduled a case management conference on July 7, 2024, to address the issue.

CIRB’s Initial Response

The CIRB’s urgent application stemmed from a complaint filed by the BCMEA on May 10, 2024. The complaint highlighted ongoing disputes that ILWU Local 514 escalated by serving a strike notice against DP World (Canada) Inc. The BCMEA expressed concerns that a strike at one terminal could have widespread repercussions across the Waterfront, leading to significant disruptions in the supply chain.

BCMEA’s Position

The BCMEA emphasized its commitment to negotiating industry-wide issues, a long-standing practice in their bargaining process. They believed that targeting a single terminal operator, DP World (Canada) Inc., was unfair and counterproductive. The BCMEA had previously offered a 19.2% wage increase, which would have raised the median foreperson compensation from $246,323 to $293,617 annually, along with other benefits. Despite the uncertainty caused by the strike notice, the BCMEA remained committed to achieving a fair settlement for the 730 hardworking forepersons and their families.

CIRB’s Decision

On July 7, 2024, the CIRB held a case management conference to hear complaints between the BCMEA and ILWU Local 514. At 1:19 PM, the CIRB determined that ILWU Local 514’s strike action was in contravention of the Canada Labour Code. The CIRB found that the union failed to bargain in good faith by conducting a strike vote among employees of only one member employer of the BCMEA and issuing a strike notice based on that vote. Consequently, the CIRB directed the union to rescind the strike notice of July 5, 2024, and inform its members of the decision.

Furthermore, the CIRB found ILWU Local 514’s Nanaimo dispatch proposal to be illegal, as it represented a receding horizon in bargaining and amounted to a failure to bargain in good faith. The CIRB ordered the union to withdraw this proposal.

Impact and Next Steps

As a result of the CIRB’s decision, the BCMEA rescinded its industry-wide lockout notice. Although the BCMEA expressed disappointment that these steps were necessary, they were pleased with the CIRB’s decision, which helped ensure the stability of Canada’s West Coast ports.

The CIRB will continue to address outstanding issues, including the union’s manning proposal for DP World (Canada) Inc., in a hearing scheduled for August 6, 7, 8, and 9, 2024. The BCMEA has alleged that this proposal is also illegal.

Conclusion

The BCMEA remains committed to reaching a fair settlement that benefits all parties involved while ensuring that West Coast ports remain reliable, competitive, and affordable for all Canadians. They call on ILWU Local 514 to continue engaging in good faith negotiations to avoid further disruptions and achieve a mutually beneficial resolution.

We will continue to provide updates as appropriate.