ILWU 400 Set To Enter Mediation-Arbitration With Seaspan

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Union for tugboat crews at Seaspan negotiates agreement to enter mediation-arbitration process after summer along with Canadian Merchant Service Guild union; Seaspan agrees to return two contracted-out tugboats to fleet, restore two call-out tugboats 

Union thanks federal Labour Minister, CLC, BC Federation of Labour 

Cargo Ship

VANCOUVER – The union for tugboat crew members at Seaspan has negotiated an agreement to enter a mediation-arbitration process to resolve their dispute with the employer, ending a possible strike on the waterfront and eliminating the possibility of Seaspan imposing a contract on the union.

Terry Engler, President of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 400 at Seaspan’s tug boat operations, says the union also successfully negotiated with Seaspan the return of two contracted-out tugboats – the Protector and the Pacific Force – to the company’s fleet and the return of two call-out boats to regular work at least temporarily as part of the agreement.

“Our union wanted to reach a negotiated contract with Seaspan in coordination with the Canadian Merchant Service Guild and we are deeply disappointed that Seaspan was unwilling to enter into collective bargaining after taking a highly confrontational approach with both unions,” Engler said.  “However, given that Seaspan was attempting to impose its own unilateral contract that would have stripped our members’ of terms and conditions freely negotiated decades ago, this is the best outcome in a tough situation.”

ILWU Local 400 will submit names of possible mediator-arbitrators to Labour Minister Kellie Leitch, who helped facilitate the agreement late Friday, and who will choose a mediator-arbitrator if the two sides cannot agree on one.  The process will start after the summer ends.

Engler thanked Leitch for her involvement in finding a resolution, as well as Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff, BC Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair and ILWU-Canada President Mark Gordienko.

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