August 21, 2023

Canadian Port Worker Strike Would Have Cost Manufacturers On Both Sides Of Border

Earlier this month, port workers in British Columbia who are part of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada voted nearly three-to-one to accept a labor deal with and the BC Maritime Employers Association. That overwhelming vote avoided a major strike that could have slowed the movement of goods between the United States and Canada and affected the metals and manufacturing industries on both sides of the border.

The four-year deal includes increases in wages, benefits, and training. As The Associated Press explained, the vote ends “weeks of turbulent job action that stopped billions of dollars’ worth of goods from being shipped in Canada.”

The dispute over the contract already had shut down ports on Canada’s west coast for nearly two weeks in July. That halt in activity affected railroads and created a backlog of shipments to the United States since fewer containers traveling by rail were able to be unloaded at ports during those work disruptions.

“Enabling the ports to quickly re-open, including clearing the months-long backlog created by the strike, and allowing Canada’s manufacturers to get their goods to markets is essential,” said Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters CEO Dennis Darby. “More than a month of disruption has cost manufacturers, and the Canadian economy, an estimated $500 million of trade each day, or 16 percent of the country’s total bilateral trade. CME’s survey of affected manufacturers pegged costs to individual businesses experiencing delays at an average $207,000 per day.”

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