Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Picket lines to come down as CN Rail/Teamsters Rail Conference reach tentative agreement

CN Rail will return to its regular schedule along the Northern mailand
tomorrow morning, as CN and the Teamsters Rail Conference reach a 
tentative deal in their negotiations
(Photo from CN Archive)

After a seven day disruption of rail service across Canada, the picket lines will be coming down and the trains will be rolling again across the CN Rail system.

The news of a tentative deal in the dispute was announced this morning, as both sides noted that Rail operations would resume across Canada at 6 AM Wednesday morning.

In a statement, the Teamsters Rail Conference noted that the deal still has to be ratified by its membership which will take place by electronic voting, with members to hear the details of the agreement from union officials in meetings to be held across Canada.

The details of the successful negotiations will not be revealed to the public until after the railroad workers have had a chance to review the document first.

The end of the strike came as calls were mounting for the Federal government to put in place back to work legislation to force the workers back to the rails, something which the  Teamsters Rail Conference made note of and offered their thanks to the Prime Minister to allow for the collective bargaining process to work.

"Previous governments routinely violated workers' right to strike when it came to the rail industry. This government remained calm and focused on helping the parties reach an agreement and it worked" -- Francois Laporte, President Teamsters Canada

CN officials have also made note of the successful end of negotiations and the schedule ahead for the resumption of rail service, noting that there will be no job action during the ratification process which is expected to take up to eight weeks towards completion.

CN President and CEO JJ Ruest also thanks customers and praised the work of those who kept operations moving at a reduced capacity during the dispute.

“We want to thank our customers for their patience and support and assure them that CN is preparing to resume full rail operations as soon as possible. I would also like to personally thank our employees who kept the railroad moving safely at a reduced capacity. CN and its people are committed to moving the North American economy by providing freight service that enables economic growth.”

The return to full rail service from coast to coast comes after warnings had been heard from industry that any lengthy shutdown of rail operations could have a damaging impact on the economy, with the last few days having delivered word of a number of layoffs in mining and other industrial sectors as a result of the strike.

Most relieved of all to hear of the tentative deal will be the nations farmers who have crops to get to market, they have already seen a number of challenges this year and the stop to rail service was serving to make for even more frustration for that hard pressed sector of the economy.

The resumption of rail will mean that operations at the various terminals for the Port of Prince Rupert will soon be returning to their regular volumes of transit, as goods are shipped to global markets from the North Coast gateway.

For more notes on CN Rail see our archive page here.

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