ILWU Longshore Division Takes a Stand Against RBT2

 In News

ILWU Canada Longshore Division has been in talks over the years regarding the impact that automation will cause. Directly impacting good paying jobs and surrounding communities.

Starting back in 2019 the ILWU Canada Longshore Division commissioned a study on the economic impact of digitization and automation of marine port terminals in British Columbia.  Below are the links to the report and most recent letters when ILWU Canada Longshore Division took a stand not to support the Roberts Bank Terminal Two project. (read below for more details)


27 August 2019

 NEW REPORT: Automation will kill thousands of jobs at BC marine terminals

(Vancouver) Automation will kill thousands of good jobs at marine terminal operations in British Columbia, draining hundreds of millions of dollars from the provincial economy annually, according to a new economic forecast released this morning.

“Like many other sectors, automation is sweeping the marine industry world-wide with steep declines in employment of up to 90%. It’s only a matter of time before such automation happens here too,” said Rob Ashton, President of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union – Canada, which commissioned the study.

The study found that automation is likely to eliminate more than 9200 marine terminal jobs across BC taking into account new employment automation may create.  The provincial economy stands to take a material hit from income lost in excess of $600 million annually, with tax revenues declining more than $100 million a year.

“Disruption on this scale will be felt by the provincial economy and will have an acute effect in some local communities, particularly those that rely on this industry for good jobs and the economic benefits they bring locally,’ said John O’Grady, founding partner of PRISM Economics and Analysis which conducted the forecast.

The study forecasts that 11% of middle-income employment ($70,000+ per year) and 23% of high-income employment ($100,000+ per year) in the community of Delta alone risk being eliminated due to future automation in the marine terminal industry.

In Prince Rupert, one quarter of middle-income and fully two-thirds of high-income employment is at risk of elimination due to future automation.

“The companies that automate these jobs out of existence stand to benefit.  It is equally clear that workers, communities and governments would be left to pick up the pieces after the damage is done,” said Rob Ashton.

To address job loss from automation in the marine terminal and other sectors of the economy, the ILWU Canada is calling on all federal party leaders to commit to modernize Canada’s approach to labour market adjustment.

“In spite of widespread disruption to many industries in our country, there has not been a single major change in workforce adjustment programs in Canada for 30 years, apart from actual cuts to the Employment Insurance program to further disqualify workers,” Ashton said. 

“The next federal government needs to quickly establish retraining, job search and other programs to mitigate the economic harm that is done to workers and communities hit by employment loss of this scale,” Ashton said.

The union is also calling on all governments to stop rewarding companies with tax breaks and subsidies when they automate good middle-class jobs out of existence to their exclusive benefit.

“That is literally killing good, middle-class jobs with tax payer dollars,” Ashton said. 

Click here for a copy of the News Release ilwu-newsrelease-aug-27-2019-final

Click here for a copy of the Speaking Notes ilwu-speaking-notes-aug-27-2019

Click here for a Summary of Prism Report ilwu-report-20190923.finalsummary

Click here to read the Prism Report prism-ilwu_report-a3-aug14

Letter to Honourable Steven Guilbeault honstevenguilbeault-rbt2-18mar2022

Open letter to government regarding Roberts Bank Terminal 2   ilwu-ltr-to-gov-rbt2-09feb2023

Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Response March 5, 2023 r-silvester-t2-05mar2023-response

ILWU Canada Longshore Divisions Response March March 7, 2023 r-silvester-t2-07mar2023

Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Response March 8, 2023 r-silvester-t2-08mar2023-response



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