St. Lawrence Seaway strike averted

A tentative deal has been reached between the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. and employees, averting a strike on one of North America's major shipping routes.
A ship carries a cargo of windmill parts through the St. Lawrence Seaway earlier this year. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

A tentative deal has been reached between the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. and employees, averting a strike on one of North America's major shipping routes.

The unionized 475 employees who work for the corporation were set to walk off the job Monday at noon.

The Canadian Auto Workers union served a 72-hour strike notice on Friday, after it had been trying to negotiate three separate collective agreements with management since May. The last round of talks started on Sept. 19.

A strike would have halted all traffic along the seaway, which is the key route for freight ships between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes.

"The corporation had started an orderly shutdown operation where vessels had been stopped," said Jacques Meloche, head of operations at the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.

Meloche said 40 million tonnes of mechandise move through the seaway locally every year, and a strike would have had a significant impact.

Union members will now have to vote on the tentative agreement.