Home Workplace News Marine Atlantic workers file for conciliation, Unifor says employer is stalling bargaining

Marine Atlantic workers file for conciliation, Unifor says employer is stalling bargaining

by HR Law Canada

Unifor has taken formal steps to initiate a conciliation process on behalf of workers at Marine Atlantic, citing the employer’s reluctance to engage in meaningful negotiations.

Representing employees through Locals 4285 and 4286, the union has expressed frustration over what it perceives as deliberate delays by the federal Crown Corporation, which operates the critical ferry service connecting Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

With collective agreements that expired on Dec. 31, 2022, and a history of protracted negotiations, Unifor’s leadership is pushing for a more expedient and respectful bargaining process.

“There is no justification for Marine Atlantic’s stalling tactics, especially against the backdrop of rising living costs,” stated Lana Payne, Unifor National President. Payne emphasized the importance of the upcoming conciliation, urging Marine Atlantic to negotiate in earnest for a fair deal that acknowledges the contributions and needs of its workforce.

The call for conciliation comes after a previous bargaining cycle saw negotiations extend well beyond the expiry of the workers’ contract. Jennifer Murray, Unifor’s Atlantic Regional Director, criticized the corporation for its apparent disregard for its employees, particularly given the three-year wait for a contract in the last negotiation cycle. “The need for conciliation is apparent if it means compelling Marine Atlantic to finally address its workers’ demands for fair wages,” Murray said.

The union represents a diverse group of 631 members in Local 4285, including storekeepers, cooks, bosuns, and engine room assistants, among others. An additional 100 members in Local 4286 hold positions ranging from senior chief stewards to senior chief cooks.

Unifor, as Canada’s largest private sector union, advocates for the rights of over 315,000 workers across various sectors of the economy. The union’s efforts to commence the conciliation process for Marine Atlantic workers underline its broader mission to champion workers’ rights, equality, and social justice both within Canada and internationally.

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