BC Port Workers Resume Strike After Rejection of Tentative Agreement

Trade Update • July 19, 2023

CMEA regrets to advise that ILWU Canada (ILWU) has communicated that ILWU’s internal caucus leadership rejected the tentative agreement, before it was even taken to a vote of the full union membership. The ILWU have issued the required 72 hour strike notice on July 19 and a lawful strike will go into effect on Saturday 22nd at 0900am PST and will again shut down terminal operations.

On July 13, 2023, after 13 days of disruption to Canada’s West Coast ports through ILWU’s strike action, the BCMEA and ILWU reached a tentative deal.

This was accomplished through a proposed settlement provided by the senior federal mediator, pursuant to the Minister of Labour’s request under subsection 105 (2) of the Canada Labour Code. Both the BCMEA and ILWU recommended ratification of the tentative settlement to their respective memberships. The BCMEA ratified the agreement on July 13.

This fair and comprehensive package could not satisfy some of ILWU internal caucus leadership, and in rejecting this tentative agreement, ILWU Leadership is choosing to further harm Canada’s economy, international reputation and most importantly, to Canadians, their livelihoods and all those that rely on a stable supply chain.

The proposed four-year collective agreement settlement package that ILWU internal leadership rejected, included considerable hikes in wages and benefits over and above the ~10% increase received over the past three years, and generally above the established norm of recent private and public sector union settlements in British Columbia and Canada.

The tentative settlement also included specific provisions that addressed the union’s concern regarding “contracting out” work and measures to improve training, recruitment and retention of ILWU trades workers now and in the future. Specifically, the BCMEA agreed to provide benefit coverage for all casual trades workers, a tool allowance, and a commitment to increase apprentices in the industry by 15%.

Throughout the past five months, the BCMEA has continued to advance reasonable proposals and positions in good faith with the urgent objective of making progress, reaching a fair deal, and ensuring ports are open and supply chains are stable and reliable. They strongly believe the tentative four-year agreement fairly recognized the skills and efforts of B.C.’s waterfront workforce, while allowing for the safe restoration of critical cargo operations for all Canadians.

Clearly this fair and equitable package wasn’t enough for the ILWU internal leadership, and they chose to instead remain entrenched in their position with little regard to the lives and jobs they are impacting.

This is an excerpt of BCMEA’s latest update on the strike.


To assist in alleviating labour disruptions, the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) is advising marine carriers, as an interim measure to the ILWU strike, not to transmit the Conveyance Arrival Certification Message (CACM) until such time that the marine carrier is certain the vessel will be coming into port, berthing and confirmed as discharging.


GHY will continue monitoring this situation, and provide any updates on impacts. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out directly to your Account Manager.


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