Seaway strike averted

In this April 24, 2014, file photo, a ship navigates the St. Lawrence Seaway near Glen Walter, Ont. (Newswatch Group/File)

CORNWALL – A shutdown of the St. Lawrence Seaway on Monday has been averted.

Unifor, the union representing 460 lock workers, and the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation agreed Sunday to have an arbitrator work on their outstanding issues.

Workers had planned to walk off the job Friday afternoon but that deadline was extended until Monday at 5 p.m. as talks continued through the weekend.

“We have been meeting night and day the past week to reach a deal, and came to the conclusion that arbitration was the best way to resolve remaining issues,” said Unifor National Representative Joel Fournier.

One of the main sticking points has been the seaway’s plan to automate the locks which would potentially eliminate lock worker positions.

The union has been asking for a minimum number of employees on site in the case of emergencies.

Both sides plan to sit down with the arbitrator as soon as possible to put a contract to bed.

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