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UPDATE 7/20/23 10:00 AM
It was the best of strikes and the worst of strikes but now the Canadian ILWU is back on the job. Coming back to the negotiating table after the Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) threatened that the Canadian Parliament is willing to reconvene solely to force a return to work if they can’t reach a negotiated agreement while keeping the ports open. Your Zarach news team will watch closely to report back with updates as the parties deliberate and advise. Keep your browser pointed here for the latest in this battle of wills.

Remember last week when everything was pretty okay? Last night the Canadian ILWU yelled, “PSYCH!” and snatched the football away from the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA), rejecting the agreement after management refused to budge on the contract’s four-year term. Hopefully, their agreement – made on Friday, July 14 – means that they’re still very close to a resolution. Parties are working with a federal mediator to compromise. 


Going into peak season, the extent of this disruption will play a large part in the coming agreements. Both sides have a valid point, with management wanting a long-term agreement and unions clearly remembering how the industry can go topsy-turvy. That the market is leveling out should make it easier, but uncertainty will always make negotiations more difficult. 


Once upon a time, in a faraway logistics market, there was a cycle of cargo that rose sharply at a certain point of the year, colloquially called “peak season.” While that might seem like the opening to a fairy tale, it was the true nature of logistics before the pandemic drove the industry off a cliff, and we had three years straight of peak after peak. 


More than just the standard disruption we navigated, other issues were uncovered in that thirty-six-month stress test. Labor negotiations and strife have hit the industry hard, with the ILWU on the US West Coast going down to the wire before an agreement was made, railroad unions and management ready to walk earlier in the year, and finally, murmurs of strife between UPS and the Teamsters have people worried about another logjam of cargo if the current contract expires on July 31, 2023, and the Teamsters strike.  


With cargo in the news constantly, there’s no better time to plan for your contingencies. As we’ve seen this week, things can rapidly change, settle, and then change back with little warning. This is when you need a skilled, experienced logistics partner working in your corner. Deciding how to push back against disruption, advocate for client interests, and plan for unforeseeable issues is what Edward J. Zarach & Associates does best.