Inside Logistics

Injunction raises Burlington Canal Lift Bridge

Picketing cost port users $1 million, says Hamilton Port Authority

June 23, 2011
by MM&D staff

After three days of picketing, an injunction filed by the Attorney General of Canada is prohibiting U.S. Steel workers from impeding traffic at the Burlington Canal Lift Bridge or delaying vessels from entering or leaving Hamilton Harbour. The Hamilton Port Authority (HPA) said the permanent injunction, granted June 10, was submitted on behalf of Public Works Government Services Canada. In granting the injunction, Justice J. A. Ramsay said it was unfair of the union to impose its dispute with U.S. Steel on other parties.

“We’re obviously delighted that the injunction went through and port traffic can continue uninhibited,” said Ian Hamilton, vice-president, Hamilton Port Authority. “We need to ensure that bridge can open and close to allow for vessel traffic to continue.”

Having the bridge closed by picketing had cost port users about $1 million, he said.

Members of United Steelworkers Local 1005 had been picketing on the bridge in order to prevent it from being lifted. That stopped ships carrying materials from U.S. Steel leaving Hamilton Harbour, which the workers said were then heading to the company’s American plants.

Union leader Jake Lombardo said the pickets had only targeted a U.S. Steel ship carrying coke heading south of the border, and that all other traffic was allowed through. The union has been in a dispute with U.S. Steel over the future of pension plans, and the workers have been locked out of the plant since November.