Three strike votes were held for three different groups of workers at the Montreal Port in 2017. However, in February two of them, Montreal Gateway Terminals (MGT) and Termont, settled with CUPE unions.

“For Termont and MGT, this marked a first collective agreement that covers labour management. The major issues during negotiations involved salary catch-up and the organization of work schedules. We wanted competitive salaries that were similar to those of other workers at the Port. We managed to get this done, and we have a five‑year labour contract,” explained Jean-Pierre Proulx, a CUPE union representative.

Viterra: a bad employer

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Viterra where 51 workers have been locked out since January 30. Viterra, an international grain transport company, has a history of lockouts all over the country.

“We hope that the settlements reached with MGT and Termont will have some effect on Viterra, as the issues are similar. Some fifty men and women are out on the sidewalk at a time when a settlement is at hand,” added Jean-Pierre Proulx.

With close to 116,000 members in Quebec, CUPE represents the Syndicat des débardeurs du Port de Montréal and longshoremen at the ports in Quebec City, Trois-Rivières, Sorel, Matane, along with longshoremen at Arrimage du Saint-Laurent (Baie-Comeau), for a total of 1242 members.