(506) 857-2125

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau:

We are writing on behalf of the millions of workers we represent to state our strong opposition to any attempt by the federal government to introduce back-to-work legislation against International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) workers involved in job action against the BC Maritime Employers Association (BCME).

Back-to-work legislation would be a serious misstep and would be met with strong resistance from the entire labour movement. Canada’s unions are committed to being partners to industry to help Canada build a strong, skilled workforce ready to power Canada’s economy but if the right to strike is weakened by the government legislating the ILWU members back to work, it will have a significant impact on every Canadian who expects to have their rights protected by their government.

Legislating workers back to work tramples on every Canadian’s Charter right to freedom of association and the right to bargain the terms and conditions of employment. It also makes a mockery of Canada’s commitments to fundamental labour freedoms guaranteed by the International Labour Organization (ILO), including the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention (ILO Convention No. 98), which Canada ratified just six years ago.

The over 7000 ILWU members involved in job action right now were on the front lines during the pandemic, risking their own health to work on the docks, unloading and moving goods that Canadians and Canadian businesses required. Now is the time that we should have their backs. Canadians support workers’ demands for a fair deal – including fair wages and safe working conditions. Afterall, good union jobs have paved a path to the middle class for many Canadians and is how we can build thriving communities.

The union is still at the table and remains committed to the federal mediation process, ready to get a deal done. We urge your government to allow the parties to finish bargaining the outstanding issues in good faith. As Presidents of the provincial, territorial, and national labour bodies, we firmly oppose any attempt by the government to legislate ILWU members back to work.

Yours sincerely,
Bea Bruske
President / Présidente
Canadian Labour Congress / Congrès du travail du Canada

Sussanne Skidmore
President / Présidente
British Columbia Federation of Labour / Fédération du travail de la Colombie-Britannique

Gil McGowan
President / Président
Alberta Federation of Labour / Fédération du travail de l’Alberta

Lori Johb
President / Présidente
Saskatchewan Federation of Labour / Fédération du travail de la Saskatchewan

Kevin Rebeck
President / Président
Manitoba Federation of Labour / Fédération du travail du Manitoba

Patty Coates
President / Présidente
Ontario Federation of Labour / Fédération du travail de l’Ontario

Magali Picard
President / Présidente
Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec

Daniel Légère
President / Président
New Brunswick Federation of Labour / Fédération des travailleuses et travailleurs du Nouveau-Brunswick

Danny Cavanagh
President / Président
Nova Scotia Federation of Labour / Fédération du travail de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Carl Pursey
President / Président
Prince Edward Island Federation of Labour / Fédération du travail de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard

Jessica McCormick
President / Présidente
Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour / Fédération du travail de Terre-Neuve et du Labrador

Sara-Jayne Dempster
President / Présidente
Northern Territories Federation of Labour / Fédération du travail des Territoires du Nord

Teresa Acheson
President / Présidente
Yukon Federation of Labour / Fédération du travail du Yukon