MONTREAL -- A massive majority of unionized Port of Montreal longshoremen voted to reject a final offer on a collective agreement on Sunday.

The vote came after months of negotiations between members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, affiliated with the FTQ, and the Maritime Employers Association. Of the 1,125 union members who voted, 1,023, participated in the vote, 97.7 per cent of whom voted against the proposal. 

The employers' proposal was presented to the union on March 12.

“Our members also symbolically voted to ask the employer to return to the bargaining table. This evening, we will call the mediators. Our goal is to return to the table to negotiate an agreement in principle with management,” said union advisor Michel Murray at a press conference.

The rejection follows a seven month truce between the two parties. The longshoremen had walked out on the job for 10 days in August and, until Sunday, both parties had pledged not to address the media while negotiations were ongoing.

With the truce over, both parties regained their right to lockout or strike.

The MEA had previously tried to prevent a strike by turning to the Canada Industrial Relations Board, but the tribunal rejected their call for all stevedoring activities to be recognized as essential services.  

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 21, 2021