Port of Quebec workers fight for livable schedules

By David Johnson
January 30, 2023
Port of Quebec workers fight for livable schedules
Stuart Edwards

QUEBEC CITY — Eighty-one longshoremen, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2614 at the Port of Quebec here, have been on the picket line since bosses locked them out Sept. 15.

While visiting the picket line Dec. 30, workers had a lot to say about the key issues in their fight, especially quality-of-life issues. The bosses are demanding workers be scheduled for 12-hour shifts, claiming this is the only answer to their chronic shortage of workers.

“There are groups of workers who aren’t entitled to any leave,” Sylvain Michaud, vice president of the longshoremen’s local, said. “They can request it but there is no guarantee.” To find out if he is working the next day, a longshoreman must call his employer at the end of the day. “It means that we can learn at 4 p.m. that we work at midnight,” said Yvon Lavoie.

Currently, the company offers better conditions to subcontracted longshoremen than to regular employees, Michaud said. This is another way the bosses seek to undermine the union.