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CUPE: Liberals Must Respect Free and Fair Bargaining at Port of Montreal

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OTTAWA, Ontario — Canada’s largest union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), is slamming the federal government’s decision to introduce back-to-work legislation to end labour action at the Port of Montreal by CUPE Local 375.

Members of Local 375, which represents 1,100 longshoremen at the port, voted 99 per cent in favour of strike action two weeks ago, after their employer, the Maritime Employers Association (MEA), announced that job security provisions in their collective agreement would no longer be honoured. More recently, the MEA imposed scheduling changes including an additional 100 minutes per shift. The union offered to withdraw their strike notice if the MEA agreed to end their pressure tactics – but the MEA refused.

On Sunday night, Labour Minister Filomena Tassi announced the government would introduce back-to-work legislation to end Local 375’s strike action before it had even fully begun.

“Once again the Trudeau Liberals are acting like Conservatives, siding with bosses against workers by meddling in the bargaining process,” said CUPE National President Mark Hancock. “There can never be free, fair collective bargaining in Canada under the threat of back-to-work legislation.”

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CUPE is demanding the Liberals withhold their back-to-work legislation, which would infringe upon workers’ rights to free and fair bargaining. These types of bills have been repeatedly found to be unconstitutional by the courts.

“Employers have no incentive to bargain in good faith when they know the government will come to their rescue,” said CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury. “This is disgraceful conduct from a government that pretends to be a friend to working people.”

Members of CUPE Local 375 have been without a contract since 2018.

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Hugh Pouliot
Media relations, CUPE

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