Sunday, January 13, 2008

Local port workers have until December to submit security clearance forms

Friday's Daily News provided a few more details on what local long shore workers have been told regarding the controversial security clearance issue, which recently was ruled over in court.

With the courts ruling in favour of a Industrial Labour Board ruling that the refusal to fill out the forms was to be considered an illegal strike, the ILWU which represents the workers lifted its recommendation not to fill out the forms.

For Rupert workers the process isn't quite as urgent as workers down south, the Rupert workers have until December 15th to submit their completed forms, while workers on the Vancouver waterfront must have the process complete by the February 20, refusal to submit the clearance forms would be grounds to refuse members work on the docks.

The Friday paper had more information on that as well as an update on the ongoing labour negotiations currently underway between the ILWU and the BC Maritime Employers Association.

Union tells members to get security clearance
The Daily News
Friday, January 11, 2008

Page one

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union of Canada is now telling its members to fill out their Marine Transportation Security Clearance applications.

The decision comes after the ILWU lost an appeal in federal court earlier this week in a bid to to stay the Marine Transportation Security Clearance Program until the union's concerns over it constitutional validity could be heard.

The union had been opposing the new security clearance program on the grounds that it violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The biggest concern stemmed from the right of the Canadian government to pass on private information about port workers to foreign governments.

However, on Monday, the federal court refused to stay the program until the concerns were heard.

In dismissing the applications for interim stays, the court held that the ILWU failed to establish that they would suffer "irreparable harm" by applying for transportation security clearances.
According to the B.C. Maritime Employers Association, the court also held that the balance of convenience did not tip in favour of ILWU. The court noted that the "the public interest purpose underlying the regulations is undeniable" and that harm to the Canadian economy and port business were significant.

Without any further options, the union had to tell its membership to fill out the forms or the Canadian Industrial Relations Board would consider that the ILWU was taking illegal strike action.

Lower Mainland longshoremen working at container ports and cruise ship facilities now have until Jan. 20 to apply for the clearance, which must be in place by Feb. 20 or they could be refused work.

Prince Rupert ILWU members have until Dec. 15 to be cleared for the program.
Meanwhile, the ILWU and the B.C. Maritime Employers Association, which includes Maher Terminals, will continue conciliation talks in regards to a new contract until Jan. 18.

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