Photo Credit: The Canadian Press | Darryl Dick

Port Strike Day Seven: Workers Call Out “Dirty Tricks Campaign”

“They’re trying to wait for the government to do their dirty work because they don’t want to treat us with respect," says workers union.

Longshore workers stay on the picket line while employer walks out of negotiations

It’s been a week since Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) workers on the West Coast went on strike, and they seem no closer to getting back on the job.

The union’s representatives have accused the BC Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) of prioritizing a “dirty tricks campaign” over negotiating an end to the strike.

During a solidarity rally, Rob Ashton, president of the Longshore Union, said the Employers Association had walked away from the table three times.

“They don’t want to negotiate with us. They don’t want to do the right thing for the workers,” he said.

“They’re trying to wait for the government to do their dirty work because they don’t want to treat us with respect.”

When he said, “do their dirty work,” he’s implying BCMEA wants the federal government to recall Parliament to introduce back-to-work legislation. 

Meanwhile, he also accused them of releasing misinformation and details exaggerating the incomes of dock workers.

About 7,400 International Longshore and Warehouse Union members have been off the job since Canada Day, about 220 on Van Isle.

In Nanaimo and Port Alberni, dockers have stayed out on the picket line. Cargo from pulp and paper manufacturer Paper Excellence has been left to sit in a warehouse.

Zoran Knezevic, president and CEO of the Port Alberni Port Authority, told CHEK News he hopes for a swift resolution so the Ports can resume normal operations.

“People producing lumber also aquaculture, frozen fish that will be affected through Port of Vancouver. Some of the product that is trucked from here to the lower mainland probably will be affected by not being able to export it out,” said Knezevic.

Federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan has urged the two sides to use available mediators and resume negotiations.

O’Regan met with his BC counterpart, Labour Minister Harry Bains, on Wednesday to discuss solutions.

According to the BCMEA, the strike has potentially disrupted $ 3.7 billion of cargo.

“Automotive parts, refrigerated food, fertilizer, critical minerals and goods are not reaching Canadians or our trading partners abroad,” said the association.

Beyond this, the longer workers go without pay – the more local families will face an impact.