Collective Agreements

BCMEA and ILWU Longshore Foremen Local 514 Ratify 8-year Collective Agreement

“Without labour nothing prospers” – Sophocles

The British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Longshore Foremen Local 514 ratified their tentative collective agreement on February 1, 2012. The term of the collective agreement is 8 years in total and will expire on March 31, 2018. The expiration date of the Foremen’s Collective Agreement exactly matches that of the ILWU Longshore Collective Agreement that was concluded April of 2011. 

The BCMEA and ILWU Longshore Collective Agreement, representing approximately 4500 port workers, ushered in a new era of labour certainty for users and stakeholders of the Asia Pacific Gateway. The newly ratified collective agreement with the approximate 450 members of ILWU Local 514 provides stakeholders the ability to market eight years of ILWU labour stability in the Gateway to customers in North America and overseas.

The breakdown of the cumulative and average annual increases (including wages, pensions, benefits, etc) is as follows:

  • BCMEA / ILWU Canada (Longshore)–22.85% cumulative increase over the 8-year term with an average annual increase of 2.61%
  • BCMEA / ILWU Local 514(Foremen) –21.92% cumulative increase over the 8-year term with an average annual increase of 2.51%

Both sets of negotiations, longshore and foremen, began in December of 2009. The long and arduous process was an exercise in patience and endurance and the BCMEA/ILWU negotiating committees are to be congratulated on achieving these historic Collective Agreements. Additionally, the attention and frequent positive interaction with the Government of Canada in the person of Minister of Labour Lisa Raitt and her staff was invaluable throughout the bargaining process. Finally, the BCMEA applauds the unprecedented and extraordinary level of communication, throughout the bargaining process, with Gateway importers and exporters that contributed greatly to a stable customer environment and enabled the bargaining committees to reach the 8 year deals.

Stakeholders and users of the Asia Pacific Gateway handle a significant amount of the goods that Canada sells to key international markets including the emerging economies of India and China. With the US and European economies under continued stress and uncertainty, access to these markets is one of the most important ways to diversify the Canadian economy and continue our stellar record of growth in the face of global uncertainty.

A key risk to the significant economic contribution made by Gateway stakeholders is the reputational damage that is associated with a global perception of labour unreliability. Customers in key international markets for Canadian goods regularly raise the issue of labour instability as a potential reason for avoiding Canadian ports in favour of those with greater labour certainty. Global supply chains, both for import and export cargo, may now commit further cargo volume to Canada’s West Coast maritime gateway as the risk of supply chain disruption has been significantly mitigated with labour negotiations now complete until March of 2018. It is important to note that these collective agreements straddle both the US West Coast agreement between the Pacific Maritime Association and the ILWU (set to expire in 2014) and the US East Coast agreement between the United States Maritime Alliance and the International Longshoremen’s Association (set to expire in 2012).

With increased competition amongst North America’s ports, our Asia-Pacific Gateway is no longer a necessary first port of call for cargo destined beyond the coastal market. It is not just the ports that benefit – in a ‘just-in-time’ world, our growing trade relationships with Asia depend on it.These historic collective agreements with the ILWU ensure the Asia-Pacific Gateway will remain competitive, cost-effective and absolutely reliable.


Longshore Collective Agreements


Foremen Collective Agreements


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