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Strike Mandate at Port of Montreal Not Unexpected: What Does it Mean?Strike Mandate at Port of Montreal Not Unexpected: What Does it Mean?

As announced in the national press on January 2, 2019, longshoremen at the Port of Montreal have voted overwhelmingly in favour of giving union leadership a strike mandate. This should not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the situation – and it does not mean that there will be a strike – or at least not in the immediate future. The negotiation process between the Maritime Employers’ Association (MEA) and the Longshoremen’s Union, CUPE Local 375 started on September 18, 2018. The MEA and Longshoremen’s Union are presently in mediation and dates have been scheduled in January.

On November 5, 2018, CIFFA wrote to the President, Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) in support of the MEA’s request to have Port of Montreal operations declared an ‘essential service.’ CIFFA has learned from the MEA that hearing dates have been scheduled in February 2019. Until the decision of the CIRB, which will be after the hearings are completed, the parties do not have the right to strike or lock out. So – take a breath.

Also, in the eBulletin of December 6, 2018, under the title “Port of Montreal, Ports Modernization and the Canada Marine Act,” we talked about ongoing congestion, severe challenges with service and wait times and the not-so-secret possibility of a strike at the port. 2017 was a banner year at the Port of Montreal and the first three quarters of 2018 continued in that upward trajectory, with total TEUs at the port up to 1,395,165 versus 1,276,695 in the same period in 2017. Business is way up, terminals are hiring like crazy and the current labour contract, negotiated in 2013, expired in December.

In that article, we talked about the labour issues the port has experienced for the past several months during the negotiations between the MEA and the longshoremen’s union. We wrote at that time, “With regard to fears around a possible strike, the Port of Montreal said it remains hopeful that a negotiated labour settlement is achievable and that the parties continue to talk, with a government conciliator assisting in the discussions.”

It remains the case that the Port of Montreal and the MEA are optimistic for a negotiated settlement: “A spokesman for the employers association said negotiations are going well and its members are surprised by the union’s statements,” while it also remains the case that the union is using everything in its arsenal, including the strike mandate, to fight for the best deal for its members. The mandate to strike was expected, and is usually a normal course of action in the event that negotiations reach the point of impasse. Negotiations are continuing, and there is no reason to suggest that the right to strike will be exercised at this time.

The recent vote and the strike mandate are real and everyone must take these developments into consideration as they plan routings and make carrier selections. Members should explore all options available and plan prudently, watching the situation carefully over the next few weeks.

However, we must remember that a vote authorizing a strike mandate is not a strike. It is one tool in the union’s negotiating toolbox

September 24, 2018.

CIFFA is pleased to announce that its scholarship adjudication committee has selected this year’s winner of the CIFFA Scholarship Program: Mansi Sheth, daughter of Kuehne + Nagel employee, Dipti Sheth. Mansi is currently enrolled in her 3rd year of a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological and Chemical Sciences. Mansi plans to enroll in the Master’s Degree Program in Biotechnology or Bioinformatics at the University of Toronto, and will upgrade her degree by pursuing Humber College’s Supply Chain Management graduate certificate.

In an essay she submitted with her application, Mansi shared her passion for medical logistics: “I became interested in pursuing an innovative career revolving around the intersection of business and science when I obtained a summer internship at Kuehne + Nagel Limited for two high school summers. My first position was as a Pharmaceutical Quality Summer Student and the following summer, I gained experience working as an IT and Logistics Summer Student.”

This year’s applications came from all regions and were particularly strong. “I wish we could have awarded multiple scholarships,” remarked Executive Director Ruth Snowden. “Every single applicant was worthy of winning and I’m sure all will be successful in their studies and their careers, which, we hope will involve global logistics.”

The program offers children of CIFFA freight forwarding member firm employees a chance to win a $3000.00 scholarship. Since 2010, CIFFA has awarded over $30,000.00 in scholarship grants to ambitious students studying at a Canadian university or college, who is enrolled in an international trade, logistics or business course leading to a diploma or degree, and in any year of study. The Scholarship Program is a benefit of CIFFA membership and member companies are encouraged to participate by communicating the opportunity with all their employees.


The Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) is celebrating 70 years of leadership in 2018 and today represents some 260 regular member firms from the largest of multi-national global logistics provider firms to small and medium sized Canadian companies. CIFFA member companies employ tens of thousands of highly skilled international trade and transportation specialists. As a vital component of Canada’s global supply chain, CIFFA member companies facilitate the movement of goods around the world. International freight forwarders are the foremost experts in cargo transportation solutions and essential partners in advancing the Canadian economy and the economic prosperity of Canadians.

Western Region FCA Gala Dinner, September 26, 2014

Last chance to register for the Western Region FCA is today. Register now.

Cocktails: 5:00PM
Dinner and Awards: 7:00PM

Entertainment: tenBC

River Rock Casino
8811 River Rd., Richmond, B.C. V6X 3P8
V6X 3P8. Canada
(Map and Directions)

Price/person: $90.00*
Price/Table of 10: $825.00*
(* plus applicable taxes)