Game on. The 1,125 longshoremen of the Port of Montreal voted again to strike on Tuesday, this time 99.4% voted for.
MONTREAL, QUEBEC – Port of Montreal dockworkers voted to strike on Tuesday, with 99.4 per cent voting in favour of a strike mandate, again.
The 1,125 workers are heavy machinery operators, signalers, ship’s handlers, electricians and mechanics. They are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, affiliated with the FTQ.
They had already voted 99.5 per cent for the strike, more than a year ago, in December 2018. But since then, they have still not been able to hold a single walkout.
The Canada Industrial Relations Board is in charge of determining the essential services that need to be maintained during the strike. The board began hearings last year on Feb. 4 and witnesses have been called by the Association of Maritime Employers.
At the federal level, essential services are defined as the activities necessary “to prevent imminent and serious risks to the health and safety of the public.”
On the first day of hearings, the Association of Maritime Employers had requested that, should they strike, all the activities of the dockworkers be maintained.
The union had argued that this request was exaggerated since there were other means of transport than ships and other ports than that of Montreal.
After 23 days of hearings, last July, the Maritime Employers Association asked for the recusal of a member of the Canada Industrial Relations Board, alleging union bias. After hearing the parties, the quasi-judicial tribunal under federal jurisdiction dismissed the request for recusal.
Then the Maritime Employers Association challenged their decision before the Federal Court of Appeal in Ottawa. Last week, the Federal Court of Appeal also dismissed the panel’s challenge to determine essential services.
Council hearings ended in October. The decision on the essential services to be maintained during the strike is still pending.
Tuesday’s vote was the union’s third for a strike, which has yet to be realized.
Employers fear the economic repercussions of such a strike, given the strategic importance of the Port of Montreal, through which tons of goods of all kinds pass.
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