SIU of Canada Statement on Remarks Made by ILWU Canada

Statement from Jim Given, President of the Seafarers’ International Union of Canada:

We wish to address recent remarks made by the President of the ILWU Canada, Rob Ashton, which were published online in which he stated the ILWU would either push the SIU of Canada from their waters or “kill” us. Although Mr. Ashton was unable to muster the strength to mention our Union by name, it was clear he was referring to the SIU of Canada, specifically our Members with Ocean BC, however, a threat to one of us is a threat to all of us, especially a threat of this nature. Mr. Ashton declared “war” on all SIU of Canada Members. We take these threats and the language used by the ILWU Canada very seriously and condemn the blatant lies and the hateful and misguided rhetoric being spread regarding our hardworking Members with Ocean BC.

We wish to advise our members in BC and all across Canada that we will do everything in our power to protect you, your livelihood and your family from this threat. Fabricating information and threatening another Union’s membership is something no good labour Union should do, and we view it as a sign of weak leadership.

Let me be clear, ILWU Canada members are not our enemy. We respect and encourage the work being done by ILWU Canada members. Throughout our history, the ILWU Canada has raided, defamed and slandered us. Claiming to be a Union that views an “injury to one as an injury to all” the ILWU Canada continues to attack the SIU of Canada and our membership based on knowingly false information. The ILWU Canada conveying a false message of Solidarity, being spread by weak leadership and facing dwindling membership in their Seafarers local is a desperate attempt.

The Seafarers’ International Union of Canada is governed by Union principles. We do not raid, slander or defame. Our mandate is to lift workers up, be they seafarers or not. Make no mistake, we did not want to issue a statement regarding these comments, however, a continued campaign by the ILWU Canada has forced our hand and we will always protect our membership from any threat.

If any SIU of Canada member is approached by any official or representative of the ILWU Canada, we advise you to immediately notify the police and contact us. The SIU of Canada is a strong and proud Union with a dedicated and diverse membership from Coast to Coast to Coast. We are proud of the dedication and hard work of our Members. Our strength is our members, and we will not hesitate to do what is necessary to make sure you go to work and return home safe, free from intimidation or threats from a misguided and desperate union leader.

In solidarity,

Jim Given


SIU of Canada


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