ATU Canada Stands in Solidarity with Port of Montreal Dockworkers and Condemns Government Back to Work Legislation

ATU Canada extends its solidarity and support with the over 1,100 dockworkers at the Port of Montreal who are scheduled to go on strike this morning.

Their local union, CUPE Local 375, gave their 72-hour strike notice to their employer, the Maritime Employers Association (MEA) last week after the employer opted to lengthen their work shifts by almost two hours from five hours and twenty minutes to seven hours without negotiation or notice. In addition to this, dockworkers have been without an employment contract since 2018.

On Sunday morning, the Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi announced that the federal government would attempt to force dockworkers back to work through federal legislation saying that all options had been exhausted.

It is unconscionable and irresponsible to push this sort of job insecurity on to workers during a global pandemic. Dockworkers at the Port of Montreal are putting their lives on the line every day to keep our local and global economies running and in return, they receive an attack on their collective bargaining rights.

As transit workers who fight for better working conditions for our members every day, we are not strangers to back-to-work legislation. It has been used multiple times on us by governments all across the country in the past to break strikes meant to better the lives of workers. As the Supreme Court ruled in 2015, the collective right to strike is a Charter Right and legislation forcing workers back to work is unconstitutional.

If the Liberal government were serious about workers’ rights, they would force the employers to meet the very reasonable demands of dockworkers instead of forcing them to work in unsafe and unreasonable working conditions.

In solidarity,

John Di Nino, President

ATU Canada