MONTREAL, QUEBEC (WWTI) — Seaway workers in Canada are prepared to strike.

St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation employees represented by the Canadian union Unifor are set to strike at midnight on Saturday, October 21, 2023, according to a press release from the union. Unifor represents 361 Canadian Seaway employees.

The union was required to issue a 72-hour strike warning to the Seaway, which was issued on October 18.

This strike would “effectively shut down transit through the Seaway,” according to Unifor.

Negotiations will continue through October 19 in an attempt to reach a deal, or workers will set up picket lines at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, October 22, 2023.  

Unifor members at Locals 4211, 4212 and 4323 in Ontario and Locals 4319 and 4320 in Quebec have all delivered strike mandates. Members

These workers voted 99% in favor of a strike amid ongoing contract and salary negotiations. Collective agreements between Seaway unionized employees and the Corporation expired on March 31, 2023. Negotiations between Unifor, the union that represents these employees, and the Seaway began in June 2023, with additional dates from September 25 through September 29, according to a press release.

Unifor National Representative John Hockey said that these salary negotiations have not met the needs and expectations of Seaway employees.

“I think you have to look at what’s going on. Not just in Canada, but in North America. Workers have had enough,” Hockey stated. “They want their share of the pie. We’re tired of being left behind and inflation is outrageous.”

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation also issued a press release regarding the planned strike. Officials said that if workers proceed, the St. Lawrence Seaway will be closed to traffic.

The strike will impact cargo movements through the international waterway, such as products like grain, the Seaway said.

“As a result of UNIFOR’s strike notification, SLSMC has started implementing its detailed plans for an orderly and safe shutdown of the system within the 72-hour notice period,” the Seaway said in the press release.

Read the full notice from the Seaway below: