At a general meeting on September 23, members of the Port of Montreal longshoremen’s union (Syndicat des débardeurs du port de Montréal) voted 94 per cent in favour, contingent upon several adjustments, to the agreement in principle renewing their collective agreement until December 31, 2012.
This comes two weeks after the agreement was concluded with the Maritime Employers Association and two months after the lifting of the lockout that paralyzed the port for five days this summer.
The negotiated salary clauses provide for increases ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 per cent between 2009 and 2012. To help the employers cut costs, the union agreed to a new program of voluntary early retirement. Adjustments also were provided to control the costs of the wage security program, which compensates constant availability and irregular hours.
“This summer, we said that a deal was reached. We are pleased that we kept our word. I congratulate the longshoremen for their commitment and discipline throughout the process. They stayed the course and proved that the gap between the parties was not insurmountable. Now we can focus on smooth and stable operations at the Port of Montreal for the coming years,” said Daniel Tremblay, president of the Syndicat des débardeurs du port de Montréal (CUPE 375).
Without a contract since December 31, 2008, the 900 longshoremen at the port of Montreal were locked out by the Maritime Employers Association from July 19 to 24. At a meeting on July 23, approximately 700 of them voted unanimously in favour of the return to work protocol and on the night of September 9, the union reached an agreement in principle with the employer.
CUPE is the largest longshoremen’s union in Quebec. The longshoremen at the ports of Montreal, Quebec City, Matane, Contrecoeur, Sorel-Tracy, Bécancour and Trois-Rivières are all CUPE affiliates. With a total of nearly 105,000 members, CUPE is the largest affiliate of the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ).