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St. Lawrence Seaway faces possible strike

Traffic on the St. Lawrence Seaway, which includes the Welland Canal, could halt on Friday afternoon, if a union follows through on a threat to strike.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., which operates the waterway, said it was served with a 72-hour notice to strike by UNIFOR, which represents the Seaway’s 460 unionized employees.

The union plans to begin its walkout at 12:15 p.m. Friday, Seaway officials said. “Should the unionized workers proceed with strike action, as scheduled, the St. Lawrence Seaway will be closed to all traffic.”

Published reports in Canada say the dispute centers on employee staffing levels, as the Seaway implements a modernization program that includes hands-free mooring and remote lock operation.

Seaway officials said its bargaining with the union would continue, with the assistance of a federally appointed mediator, in hopes of reaching a settlement. The Seaway includes the Welland Canal, which links Lake Erie with Lake Ontario, and extends to Montreal through the Saint Lawrence River.