As of Saturday, October 21, 2023, midnight, UNIFOR employees who work for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation are prepared to strike, which would effectively halt transit through the Seaway. More than 35 million metric tons of grain and other cargoes travel along the route every year during the Seaway’s season, which starts in late March and lasts until the start of winter.
Workers will begin forming picket lines at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, October 21, 2023 if no agreement is reached by the end of today’s negotiations, which will last through October 19.
315,000 workers in all significant sectors of the economy are represented by UNIFOR, which is Canada’s largest private sector union. The union fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, promotes the rights of all working people, and works to bring about progressive change for a better future.
Observers are cautioning that if the strike continues and the seaway closes, the 2023 shipping season will be over and some vessels may become trapped.
Since the previous contract expired on March 31, the 315 unionized workers, who are UNIFOR members working in Canada, have been operating without a contract.
As of this posting, (October 24, 2023) last-ditch negotiations to reach a deal fell through and the massive inland waterway was forced to close. The Seaway workers, who are represented by Unifor, walked off the job early on Sunday morning.