Since 2018, members of CUPE Local 375, representing 1,100 longshore workers at the Port of Montreal, have been without a contract. Continued bad faith bargaining on the part of the employer, the Maritime Employers Association (MEA), culminated in them announcing schedule changes that would see members working more per shift without any additional pay, and saw threats to job security provisions.
In response, Local 375 members voted 99 per cent in favour of strike action two weeks ago and walked off on Monday, April 26.
Today, on behalf of the 280,000 members of CUPE Ontario, we send a strong message of solidarity that wholeheartedly supports these workers and this important action.
Further, we unreservedly oppose the Federal government’s announcement that they would introduce back-to-work legislation to end the strike action.
Free and fair collective bargaining is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for a reason. It’s a fundamental right which should not be superseded anytime an employer fails to get its way.
The simple fact is that these workers are engaged in a legal strike; and they have offered to withdraw their strike notice if the MEA stopped threating job security and changing their shifts. Their employer has refused to do so.
These CUPE members have shown incredible patience, going without a contract since 2018. Such stubborn negotiating practices by their employer – and now a Federal government intent on siding with that employer by legislating these workers back to work is unacceptable.
From Ontario, we are echoing the demands of CUPE Local 375 and we are calling on the Federal Liberals to back away from the utterly undemocratic measure of back-to-work legislation.
Fred Hahn, President
Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer