Breaking news: Port of Montreal union will move critical goods

The union representing longshore workers at the Port of Montreal agreed on Thursday to move some containers holding goods needed in the fight against COVID-19.

“The Maritime Employers Association and the longshoremen’s union have agreed to move containers that contain controlled substances and COVID-19-related merchandise and to unload a ship containing sugar,” the MEA announced early Thursday afternoon.

The MEA announcement did not say when the containers will be moved.

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 375 has been on strike since Aug. 10. It is the union’s fourth walkout since the beginning of July. Although the three previous strikes had end dates, this one does not. 

MEA President and CEO Martin Tessier said during a press conference Wednesday that 477 containers, some holding perishable goods, had been sitting at the Port of Montreal since the strike began. He made a plea to CUPE “to move some very important goods that are critical for the pandemic, for the economy and for the public in general.”

An MEA spokesperson said the two sides returned to the negotiating table early Thursday morning.

“Containers of refrigerated products are still subject to discussions and a mutual decision will be made shortly,” the MEA said. 

Mélanie Nadeau, director of communications for the Montreal Port Authority, did not have a breakdown on how many of the 477 containers on the dock held perishable products. 

“That said, they are mostly temperature-controlled containers,” Nadeau said. “There are also containers with equipment related to the fight against COVID-19 as well as containers of regulated materials.”

American Shipper has reached out to CUPE for comment.

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