MONTREAL – The Port of Montreal longshoremen view the lockout declared the morning of July 19 by the Maritime Employers Association as incomprehensible and pointless. When the news reached them by surprise Sunday night, they were in the midst of a general meeting to cancel the planned application of pressure tactics. The union and the employer had met all afternoon on Sunday and planned to continue ongoing negotiations during the week.
“The best way to disrupt the functioning of the port is to lock up and send the workers packing. The solution is for the employer to let the work continue, in the port and at the negotiating table, and in the next few weeks, we’ll have an agreement,” said union representative Michel Murray.
On June 27, the employer targeted the 169 longshoremen with the least seniority, changing their working conditions and depriving dozens of young families of income and stability. The longshoremen responded by refusing to work overtime as of July 9. “We wanted to demonstrate that our 169 colleagues are essential. The employer had to reinstate them to cover the overtime,” said Murray.
The approximately 900 Port of Montreal longshoremen, members of CUPE Local 375, have been without a contract since December 31, 2008. Their representatives will present further comments at the press conference scheduled for Monday morning at 11 a.m. at the Maison des Débardeurs, 7020, Notre-Dame Street East, Montreal.
CUPE is the largest longshoremen’s union in Quebec. The longshoremen at the ports of Montreal, Quebec City, Matane, Contrecoeur, Sorel-Tracy, Trois-Rivières and Bécancour are affiliated with CUPE. With nearly 105,000 members, CUPE is the largest affiliate of the FTQ.
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