Last night,October 29th, the negotiators reached a tentative agreement on a new labor contract between the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) and its unionized workers who had gone on strike a week earlier. In total, Canadian portions of the Seaway were closed for eight days, blocking international commerce to and from all Great Lakes ports.
During the coming week, UNIFOR members will vote to ratify the contract. Details of the agreement are unlikely to be made public until union members have voted.
The Seaway reopened to commerce today at 7:00 AM EST. More than 100 ships are waiting to pass through the system - some heading west (unbound) and some heading east (down bound). Seaway traffic managers are now working closely with vessel operators and pilot organizations to choreograph a smooth reopening. They estimate that it will take 3-4 days for ship traffic flows to return to normal.
It is estimated that the 8-day strike cost between $50-$80/day in lost economic activity.
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