Negotiations are continuing to renew the collective agreement of Port of Montreal longshore workers, which expired on December 31, 2023. 

The Maritime Employers’ Association (MEA) submitted a settlement offer it described as “the furthest it could go for the time being” last April 17. The union deemed the offer unacceptable since most of what it contained represented significant steps backward for the longshore workers. Members were called out to a special meeting on Sunday, April 21, 2024, and voted on the employer’s offer via secret ballot on April 21 and 22, 2024.  

In total, 89.16% of the members (1078 out of 1206) exercised their voting rights, with 99.54% rejecting the employer’s offer.  

“There’s clearly a willingness on the part of the MEA and the maritime companies with representatives on its board of directors to provoke the union and its members. Based on all the legal recourse against the union, the numerous challenges of Canada Labour Relations Board (CLRB) decisions and the redirection of ships to other ports, the MEA’s board is clearly not willing, again this year, to have the parties reach a negotiated settlement,” explained Martin Lapierre, president of the union representing the longshore workers (CUPE 375). 

The new president of the MEA, his nice speeches notwithstanding, has not changed his association’s long-standing stock-in-trade. The MEA is pretty much dead set on attempting to dominate, muzzle and especially foster hate for longshore workers and their representatives. It is worth pointing out that the employer’s president has been absent from the bargaining table. Moreover, the new president of the Montreal Port Authority (MPA), whom we were counting on to some extent to create an atmosphere more conducive to healthy labour relations, is complicit with the MEA. The MPA has also challenged a recent CLRB decision on essential services,” said CUPE union representative Michel Murray. 

Mediators have convened both parties to resume negotiations to take place on the afternoon of Monday, April 22 and on Tuesday April 23. The union has provided mediators with19 dates it would be available from now to the end of May, which the employer has refused to confirm. The union has reiterated its willingness to have the parties reach a negotiated settlement.  

CUPE 375 represents more than 1200 members working at the Port of Montreal.