The union representing Port of Montreal longshore workers threatened an indefinite strike on Monday in a move that could severely disrupt operations at Canada’s second-largest port.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) said the strike will begin Monday morning in the event it does not reach an agreement with port employers.
The Montreal Port Authority warned that the strike will lead to a suspension of berthage and goods-handing services normally handled by longshore workers. Liquid bulk and grain terminal operations wouldn’t be impacted.
“A prolonged stoppage in port operations has major repercussions for Canadian businesses that depend on international trade and, ultimately, for the supply of goods and services to the public,” the port authority said in a statement.
Longshore workers have already held three limited strikes since July. CUPE and the Maritime Employers Association have been locked in contract talks since 2018. Longshore workers are seeking higher pay and changes in hours and working conditions.
Corey Darbyson, director of Transport Dsqaure, a Montreal-based intermodal trucking company that services the port, said he was optimistic that the union and port employers will reach an agreement for a new contract.
“Hopefully they can get to the table and bang this out,” Darbyson told FreightWaves. “They should work together and come to an agreement so we can continue to move essential goods.”