Tuesday, October 29, 2019

CN workers eyeing potential strike for Mid-November

The engine of the Northwest economy may slow to a crawl in November, should the engines of CN Rail slow down owing a percolating labour dispute at the National railway which exclusively severs the Port of Prince Rupert and transits through many of the communities of Northern British Columbia.

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference released the details of a recent strike vote which was held, with 99.2% of members who voted showing their support of strike action if necessary, with the prospect of any labour action still a bit off in the distance in November with the earliest the workers could hit the picket line on Tuesday, November 19th.

In a statement issued yesterday, Lyndon Isakk, the President of The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference noted with the legally mandated conciliation period having come to an end on Friday, October 25th, negotiations will continue.

“We will continue to negotiate in good faith with Canadian National in hopes of reaching a negotiated settlement. To that end, we will not be bargaining in the press or discussing the sticking points publicly at this time,”

Talks between the Teamsters and CN Rail have been ongoing for six months with federal mediators taking part over the last four months.  The next round of talks with the Federal mediators is set for November 12th.

The previous collective agreement came to an end on July 23rd of this year.

The Fairview Container Pot and other terminals around the North Coast
would bear the brunt of any labour disruption at CN Rail next month

CN Rail has not had much to say about the state of negotiations or the prospect of any labour disruption at this point.

For those looking for some encouraging signs on labour issues at the railway, CN did sign a new agreement with the Teamsters earlier this year covering 180 rail controllers in Canada.

The current negotiations involve a much larger component with over 3,000 members with trades such as conductors, train workers and yard workers all awaiting the next step towards the November deadline

More notes on CN Rail operations can be found from our archive page here.

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