Marine Atlantic workers file for conciliation after employer stalls bargaining

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Nine Unifor members from the Marine Atlantic bargaining committee

SYDNEY, N.S.—Unifor has filed for conciliation on behalf of Marine Atlantic workers represented by Locals 4285 and 4286 after the employer has demonstrated an unwillingness to bargain by delaying meaningful negotiations.

“There is absolutely no acceptable reason for an employer to drag their feet and delay meaningful bargaining efforts, particularly as the cost of living has increased so drastically in that time,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne. “Marine Atlantic needs to come to the conciliation ready to get serious and ready to get a deal that respects its workers and our members.”

Collective agreements with Marine Atlantic Inc., the federal Crown Corporation responsible for operating the ferry service between Nova Scotia and the Island of Newfoundland, expired on December 31, 2022. 

The previous negotiations with Marine Atlantic suffered such drastic company delays that by the time an agreement was ratified, it was already past its expiry. The union filed notice to bargain immediately after that round concluded.

“I don’t see how it’s possible for a Crown Corporation to neglect its workforce for so long,” said Atlantic Regional Director Jennifer Murray. “It is insulting that Marine Atlantic workers who waited 3 years for their last contract, should have to wait so long once again to negotiate wage increases. Conciliation is clearly necessary to drag this employer into some accountability.”

Unifor represents 631 members in Local 4285 who work as storekeepers, cooks, bosuns, quartermasters, deckhands, bridgewatch, carpenters, liferaft maintainers, certified and uncertified engine room assistants, and stewards.

Local 4286 has 100 members who work as senior chief stewards, pursers, chief stewards, and senior chief cooks.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

Media Contact

Shelley Amyotte

National Communications Representative - Atlantic Region