On the Picket Line

Petrochemical workers strike in Quebec over wages, pensions

By Amélie Lanteigne
and Philippe Tessier
September 23, 2019

MONTREAL — About 30 petrochemical workers employed by Royal Vopak Co. have been on strike since July 2 here and in Quebec City. They are members of Unifor Local 175C. Unifor is the biggest private-sector union in Canada. 

The workers are fighting for better wages, pensions, overtime and back pay. They had voted 100% in favor of the strike after two years of negotiations. 

The strikers have received support from seven other Unifor locals and are reaching out to other locals and unions.

Vopak is a Dutch company with terminals in 25 countries.  Workers in Quebec move petroleum products, chemicals and vegetable oils. Many are from Morocco, Gabon, Haiti, Lebanon and other countries.

Dangers on the job include chemical fumes, burns, long-term chronic diseases and injuries related to outside physical work all year long, according to workers on the picket line.