(Resource News International) — Negotiations between the St. Lawrence
Seaway Management Corp. (SLSMC) and its 445 unionized employees
are continuing, an official with the SLSMC said Thursday.
“Both sides are continuing to negotiate in good faith and
want to bring the talks to a successful conclusion,” said Andrew
Bogora, communications officer for the SLSMC.
Bogora was unable to provide any further details, other than
to say the optimism he expressed over being able to reach an new
labor agreement remained in place.
Either the SLSMC or its 445 unionized employees, represented by the
Canadian Auto Workers (CAW), can deliver 72 hours’ notice of
a lockout or strike, respectively, as early as Friday (Oct. 10).
The workers have been without a contract since April 1.
While the discussions were scheduled for a week,
it was conceivable the negotiation process could be extended, Bogora said.
Any strike or lockout action would essentially paralyze
movement of commodities along the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Bogora said the SLSMC wants to move forward with the
installation of new technology and that it will guarantee the
jobs of all employees.
Officials with the CAW were not available for comment.
Grain and oilseed companies, including the Canadian Wheat
Board, who routinely ship commodities through the St. Lawrence
Seaway system are closely monitoring the labour negotiations.
Grain and oilseeds from Western Canada are generally railed
to port facilities at Thunder Bay, Ont. From there, crops are generally transferred from Thunder Bay terminals
to East Coast transfer elevators at the mouth of the St.
vessels can also load at Thunder Bay terminals.
The 3,700-km seaway connects the
Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. It is typically open for
traffic from late March to late December.