Business leaders urge Minister of Labour to facilitate a dialogue between the Maritime Employers Association and the longshoremen’s union

On August 19, in response to the ongoing strike at the Port of Montreal, the leaders of 17 businesses and business associations wrote to the Honourable Filomena Tassi, federal Minister of Labour, urging the federal government to use all tools at its disposal to facilitate a dialogue between the Maritime Employers Association and the longshoremen’s union in order to arrive at terms of a negotiated agreement.


August 19, 2020

The Honourable Filomena Tassi
Minister of Labour
140 Promenade du Portage
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0J9

Dear Minister:

We are writing to you on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of businesses whose supply chains directly or indirectly rely on operations at the Port of Montreal regarding the strike mandate that has been executed by CUPE Local 375. As you know, the indefinite strike by members of the union has paralyzed any economic activity coming through the port since August 10, 2020.

As the largest port in Eastern Canada and the only container port on the St. Lawrence River, the Port of Montreal is integral to the success of all sectors of the economy. It is a key link in supply routes to Eastern Canada and Ontario. The Port generates approximately $2.6 billion in economic activity and sees about $100 billion worth of goods pass through its docks every year. From food to manufacturing to automotive parts to retail, all economic sectors are reeling from the effects of this strike.

Because of the labour action, many operations have had to shift to other Canadian ports as well as some in the United States, which hampers the Port of Montreal’s competitiveness and economic viability. The Port is central to Canada’s economic ecosystem to not only move goods and services outside the country, but also import them from international partners.

Canada is already in the middle of a devastating economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Labour action makes a bad problem worse, not only for businesses but also for the tens of thousands of workers whose livelihoods are at risk because of the strike.

Every day the strike goes on is another day without any economic activity, which only impedes COVID-19 recovery efforts. We are calling on the federal government to use all tools at its disposal to facilitate a dialogue between the Maritime Employers Association and the longshoremen’s union in order to arrive at terms of a negotiated agreement. We would be happy to support any efforts by the federal government and invite you and your officials to attend a virtual roundtable with affected businesses and associations from across the country at your convenience.

Sincerely,

Hon. Perrin Beatty, P.C., O.C.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Luke Chapman
Interim President
Beer Canada

Corinne Pohlmann
Senior Vice-President, National Affairs and Partnerships
Canadian Federation of Independent Business

Ralph Suppa
President and General Manager
Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating

Bruce Rodgers
Executive Director
Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association

Dennis Darby
President and Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters

Ron Lemaire
President
Canadian Produce Marketing Association

Brian Kingston
President and Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association

Carol McGlogan
President and Chief Executive Officer
Electro-Federation Canada

Derek Nighbor
President and Chief Executive Officer
Forest Producers Association of Canada

Bob Ballantyne
President
Freight Management Association of Canada

David Wojcik
President and Chief Executive Officer
Mississauga Board of Trade

Diane J. Brisebois
President and Chief Executive Officer
Retail Council of Canada

Pierre Gratton
President and Chief Executive Officer
Mining Association of Canada

Lisa Kowalchuk
Executive Director
Medicine Hat Chamber of Commerce

Michael Graydon
Chief Executive Officer
Food and Consumer Products Canada

Sandy MacLeod
President and Chief Executive Officer
Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada