Monday, January 12, 2009

Lines Diverting Vancouver Ships as Union Talks Go On

(Journal of Commerce Online – Courtney Tower)

Diversion of container ships from Canada’s west coast Port of Vancouver have become “significant” as marathon collective bargaining continues between waterfront employers and union foremen.

Another in a series of day-long bargaining sessions between the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association and International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 514 ended Friday with “some issues resolved – it was a positive thing, a cause for some optimism,” BCMEA Vice President Greg Vurdela said in an interview.

Talks are scheduled to resume January 15 under federal mediation.While the bargaining has continued at a leisurely pace, with five and six days between meetings, the threat of a strike or lockout being called on three days’ notice has spurred nervous shipping lines to divert their vessels from Vancouver to regional rivals such as Tacoma and Seattle, Washington. Read more here.