About 6,500 longshore workers were locked out of ports across British Columbia this morning. Overnight negotiations with a federal mediator between the union and employer representatives continued into the morning.
The lockout, effective at 8:00 a.m. local time on May 30, effectively halts most operations at Vancouver, Canada’s largest port, and smaller facilities in the province including Prince Rupert. Vancouver alone handles about C$200 billion (the Canadian dollar equals US$0.74) in trade annually or more than C$500 million per day.
Ships had already begun diverting from Vancouver this week.
The British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA) initiated the lockout following slowdowns by International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU)-Canada at two of Vancouver’s terminals, Deltaport and Vanterm.
The last contract between the ILWU longshore workers and the BCMEA expired in 2018. The ILWU is demanding that concerns about the effects of automation at the ports be addressed in the forthcoming contract.
Both sides are currently in a media blackout amid the current round of talks.